Tenaya Lake, viewed here from Olmsted Point, is completely ice free even though just four short months ago many people were happily skating on its frozen surface. (Photo: Kirkner)
Tioga Road reopened on Monday, heralding in a summer that many on the Eastside have been longing for on the heels of a rough, dry winter.
Tioga Road (or Pass) serves as a corridor between the east and west sides of the Sierra Nevada. Its opening unlocks a fresh stream of business for local Eastern Sierra operators, plus gives local Eastsiders easier access to the west.
The Pass, also known as Hwy 120, officially closed for the winter on Jan. 17, making it the latest closure date on the books. With the short time that elapsed between that closure and Monday’s opening, this season also marked one of the shortest windows of time the pass has been closed, according to Kari Cobb, Yosemite Public Affairs Officer.
Many factors go into the determination of when the pass can open, according to the National Park Service website.
“Once plowing of the Tioga Road is completed, additional work must be completed before the road can safely be opened,” the site said. This work includes checking and clearing the 26 potential avalanche zones, clearing trees that have fallen across the road, dealing with rock slides, road repairs and late season snow storms.
This year’s snowpack was approximately 50% of normal.