Snow 14 Feb 2018

We have had three minor snow storms in the past three days. However they have produced so little snow that there is currently no change to the trail conditions from the 9 Feb update. In fact the highest elevations have been largely above the cloud, so there has been more melting than accumulation. For example today I was easily able to ascend and descend San Jacinto Peak without using microspikes. Nevertheless, those unfamiliar with snow/ice travel may continue to find spikes useful in places (as discussed in the 9 Feb update). Further precipitation is forecast for 18-19 Feb, and overnight temperatures are forecast to be well below freezing at higher elevations in the mountains for at least the next 10 days.

In the early hours of Monday 12 Feb there was light snow at higher elevations with the snowline at 6400′. That morning I visited Tahquitz Peak (8836′, 2700m) where there was only about 0.5″ (1.2cm) of fresh snow. By the time I was descending in mid-morning, most was already melting below 7700′.

Trail from Tahquitz Peak to Chinquapin Flat on morning of 12 Feb 2018

Overnight on 12/13 February, there was much more widespread snow, with a dusting down as low as Garner Valley (4100′, 1250m). However, snow volume was very light and uniform, with only 0.6″ in Idyllwild (5550′, 1700m), and about the same at higher elevations.

Finally, most of today, Wednesday 14 Feb, was cloudy. I hiked to San Jacinto Peak from Humber Park in the early morning, and passed through extremely light snowfall both on the ascent and descent. The snowfall only settled to less than 0.5″ between about 7800′-9300′ elevation (2400-2800m). The top of the cloud was at about 10,200′, and the Peak was clear. The air temperature at the Peak was 22° F (-6° C), but with a steady wind the windchill temperature was 6° F (-14° C).

View across to Wellman’s Cienega (9300′) in very light snow on 14 Feb 2018
San Jacinto Peak above the cloud at 0900 on morning of 14 Feb 2018

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