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  1. Default Yosemite in mid-May and snow chains

    I know this is very often discussed on these forums but in my searching Iíve not been able to find a precise answer to the following question.

    Iím hiring a Lotus Elise from Vegas for 5 days starting the 14th of May this year. I want to drive to Yosemite and take Tioga Pass but it will probably be closed at this time (only 6 times in since 1980 has the road been open prior to the 14th of May). My question is; If I get lucky and Tioga Pass is open a couple of days prior to May 14th, will I still need snow chains to make it across from Lee Vinning?

    If it is closed and I detoured north from Lee Vinning to Sonora Pass and took an eastern entry into Yosemite, would I need snow chains for that route?

    thanks for your help and for this great forum!

    Tl;dr do you need snow chains for Tioga Pass around 15 May if its open? Do you need snow chains for the valley of Yosemite around 15 May?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Chains on an Elise?!?!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Isn't that a sacrilege? Seriously, if you are anywhere near needing chains, you are going to have very severe difficulties handling a car with only 5 inches of ground clearance. This easily falls in the 'not recommended' category. You 'should' be able to get to Yosemite by going around the Sierra Nevada to the south through Bakersfield, but trying to push a car like the Elise over snow bound mountain roads is just not a good idea.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Not only sacrilege, but either impossible or downright dangerous. In any case, if there is a good chance I’ll need them for either of my proposed routes (from LV across Death Valley, Lee Vinning than either across Tioga Pass or Sonora Pass to Yosemite) than my dream of doing this road trip is up in smoke I’m afraid.

    Basically the whole thing hinges on whether or not I’ll need the chains to get from Lee Vinning to Yosemite. If they’re required, than the whole thing is off.

    I was hoping global warming would take care of all this…
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-13-2009 at 02:41 PM. Reason: navigation

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Good luck.

    Hi,

    Basically the whole thing hinges on whether or not I’ll need the chains to get from Lee Vinning to Yosemite. If they’re required, than the whole thing is off.
    Is it possible to delay the trip if need be ?

    If not then you can still go across DV and head around the southern end of the Sierra's and enter the valley from the South. It will still be spectacular,especially with the waterfalls at full flow.

    I honestly think the odds are stacked against you but wish you all the luck.

    Keep an eye on the Yosemite or Caltrans website regarding current road conditions. You can see in this thread the previous opening and closing dates and you can even have a vote, with your head or your heart ;-)

  5. Default

    We did the the Tioga pass from Lee Vining on May 15th last spring. It was the first day the road was open and we did not encounter any snow on the road at all. I think if there is any deep snow on the road it will not open. The park service does not want to be in the rescue business, of course that is just my experience, and opinion.

    We came out of Vegas, crossed Death valley, and followed 395 to Lee Vining. If you do that trip there is a great bakery in Bishop, though I don't remember the name (I do remember the Shepherd's bread, and the pastries). {That would be the Schatz Bakery -- right on US-395 in downtown Bishop (763 N Main Street) -- the other must-stop is Mahogany Meats... Most amazing variety of jerky ever!)

    Good luck,

    JTB
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-13-2009 at 02:47 PM.

  6. Default

    Thanks again for your input mates.

    It was open May 15 last year you say? Well thats encouraging. Does anyone know if there are any such things as long-range forecasts of snow fall or temperatures that would assist me in estimating how likely it is for Tioga Pas(or even Sonora Pass) to be open May 14th-ish?

    Just to double check, if all else fails, going across the 58, up the 99 than into the park on the 41 is very likely to be open in mid May yes?



    Thanks alot for your help anyway chaps.

    CB

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Extremely Unlikely!

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadbyrnes View Post
    It was open May 15 last year you say? Well thats encouraging. Does anyone know if there are any such things as long-range forecasts of snow fall or temperatures that would assist me in estimating how likely it is for Tioga Pas(or even Sonora Pass) to be open May 14th-ish?
    Sonora Pass usually opens before Tioga -- and it is flat out gorgeous in early spring -- waterfalls everywhere you look. You could try your hand and predicting when Tioga Pass will open and you may even win a take a fuel for your exotic car....
    Just to double check, if all else fails, going across the 58, up the 99 than into the park on the 41 is very likely to be open in mid May yes?
    Yes, the western approaches are open all year.

    Mark

  8. Default

    Hey thanks alot for that Mark. Come hell or high water, I'll get up to Yosemite then. The route taken will be a last minute decision.

    I tried my hand at predicting the opening of Tioga... see how we go.

    Forget about the free tank of fuel! If everyone in California can do me a big favour and just burn every liter of fuel you can get your hands on and leave your Toyota Prius' in the garage and instead do the shopping in your Hummers, that would be great... hopefully the CO2 from your efforts will add to the greenhouse effect and melt those snow drifts across Sonora and Tioga nicely....


    cheers mates :)

    Did I mention I'm an Aussie attempting this? Its going to be a great time!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If you want to go north, and both the Tioga and Sonora are closed, 4 should be open, and I can almost guarantee 88 will be open.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johntommybob View Post
    If you do that trip there is a great bakery in Bishop, though I don't remember the name (I do remember the Shepherd's bread, and the pastries). [I]{That would be the Schatz Bakery -- right on US-395 in downtown Bishop (763 N Main Street)
    Have to second that! My eyes were much bigger than my appetite... ended up sharing most of what I bought. lol

    Lots of dutch and german cookies and pastries.

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