The Sherwins on an avalanche course – March 16, 2014
Howdy skiers and snowboarders. We are just past St. Patty’s Day, and as an Irish citizen myself (Howie O’Schwartz is the name), I thought I would share some of me lucky charms with you so that we can still salvage the backcountry season here in the Eastern Sierra. If you haven’t already read my earlier State of the Backcountry report you should check that out too. At this point we 3 days from spring and the winter was one of the driest on record. Latest reports show we made it to 50% of average for forecasted runoff in the snowiest drainages. That was almost entirely due to the storm that ended March 2nd. Since then we have seen a major thaw, a minor squall, and some blustery winds. All of this spells the end of powder skiing until the next storm, which models suggest could be as soon as March 25th. This storm is looking weaker by the day though so don’t get hopes up too high. April may have a pattern change but at this point even a major precipitation event will only stick snow to the higher elevations, above 9000′ or so at the lowest. We’ll certainly take it if we get it.
The Ritter Range traditionally has the deepest snowpack in the range. Check out this trip report with video for one we recently did out there, for a good idea of conditions in that part of the range.