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Sierras in May
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By zarn
Mar 29, 2012
What are the conditions like in Sierras in May?
Do you need a permit?
Is anybody interested in doing some alpine climbing in the beginning of May? I will be in San Diego in April and can take a trip up. Let me know because I can pack my winter gear.

email me zrarnold@hotmail.com

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Mar 29, 2012
The temps and weather can be very nice in May, but there will still be snow cover at the higher elevations (even in a low snow year like this one).

You must have a permit for any overnight stay in the Sierra that is Forest Service or National Park Service land. They are available at the various Forest Service ranger stations/visitor centers. Same thing for lands within the National Park Service jurisdiction.

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By Stephan Doyle
Mar 29, 2012
Permits within USFS are easy to obtain. As long as your starting trailhead is within USFS boundaries, you may cross over into national parks without issue.

Conditions likely won't warrant true winter gear - May days will be gorgeous, and nights will not get too cold (generally).

I'll be free-ish late May and might be up for some peaks. Do you have anything in mind? If you're unfamiliar with the area, R. J. Secor's "The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails" is the best volume to start with.

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By SirTobyThe3rd
Mar 29, 2012
Hello
Hey. I would be interested in doing some apline climbs in early May. Which ones are on our radar. Email me if you want.

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By zarn
Mar 30, 2012
Thanks for the help. I don't have anything specific in mind. I am just starting to look them up now. Something fun that I can cover a lot of ground on. I have never been to the Sierra's I just want to get out there and climb. Any suggestions?

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Mar 30, 2012
A couple of fairly long, but relatively easy climbs are the West Ridge of Mt. Conness and the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. Fivefun. Each is doable in a day from the car.

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By zarn
Mar 30, 2012
Cool. I was looking at both of those actually. Any idea on the average temps in May? Will I need to bring any ice gear? I would like to avoid it because it's so much weight to fly over.

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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 3, 2012
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.
You won't need any ice gear during that time.

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 5, 2012
West Overhang
Secor is better for peak bagging and obscure stuff. For technical alpine rock routes, Peter Croft's book captures most of the best routes. It's a low snow year, but a general rule is that there's more snow as you head north.

If for some reason you need an axe or crampons (e.g. for the glacier below Temple Crag or the N Buttress of Goode, which are both notoriously icy) you can rent them at Wilson's Eastside Sports in Bishop.

Note that the permit system changed this year to an online service for advanced reservations. More info here.

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 5, 2012
West Overhang
Forgot to add: I gave a slideshow with the first half being an overview of High Sierra climbing. It's posted online here.

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By eric berghorn
From Calistoga,CA
Apr 5, 2012
Personal Photo
The O.P. stated he wanted to climb in early May. The earliest opening of Tioga Road in 24 years was 4/29/88 when the snowpack was 31% of normal. Last years opening was 6/18/11 with the snowpack 178% (above normal.) With weather patterns indicating a potenial rainy April there is a chance snowpack levels this year could reach 100% which could keep the road closed until the last week of May at the earliest.

That stated I think your plans to approach or climb North Ridge/West Face Mt. Conness may be overly optimistic without skis and a 10+ mile skin approach followed by scrambling endless snow covered talus. . . Not to take away from your plan. . . Just Sayin to add some levity. Most people climb these routes much later in the year.

nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tio...

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Apr 5, 2012
West Overhang
eric berghorn wrote:
....Just Sayin to add some levity. Most people climb these routes much later in the year. nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tio...


Good point. Plenty of great climbing to be had outside of Tuolumne though so no reason to be discouraged.

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By bergbryce
From Tracy, CA
Apr 5, 2012
I skied powder on June 9th at about 8,000' last year so there really is no telling what you'll get. It's a low snow year for sure, but storms are still pushing through and it's easy to go from summer-like back to winter within 24 hours in the spring in the Sierra Nevada.

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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Apr 9, 2012
The route in it's entirety.
Hopefully it doesn't snow for the rest of spring, and I can drive up and over Tioga pass on May 7th. Save me 3+hr of driving and a half tank of fuel. That said, I'm still bringing my skis!

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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Apr 9, 2012
The route in it's entirety.
found this other link within Eric's post: Olmstead Point Plowing Video

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By -robin-
Apr 10, 2012
walkoff from tenya peak, sunset
Sierras in the spring, there are two storms coming back-to-back, one to three feet of snow expected.. Goodbye early pass opening..

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By S Denny
From Aspen, CO
Apr 10, 2012
-robin- wrote:
Sierras in the spring, there are two storms coming back-to-back, one to three feet of snow expected.. Goodbye early pass opening..


haha, of course!

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By Ben.
From New Haven, CT
Apr 11, 2012
The Palisades can be a lot of fun depending on what you want to do. I was there in June last year and got snowed on a bit but generally had really nice weather. Of course, Sierra weather can shit on you whenever it feels like so it's good to be prepared. Temple Crag has some great options for climbing, and there are also several fourteeners that are accessible from the Big Pine Creek Trail. The area gets a bit overrun in the summer, but in May it should still be pretty mellow. I actually sometimes prefer climbing in the Sierra's in the spring rather than the summer because the temps are still nice and you can approach on snow rather than scree. It makes things a bit easier in my opinion. I think I'm gonna be up there again in a few weeks, so I can let you know how it looks.

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