Friday, May 6, 2011

Yosemite National Park: Snow may delay opening of roads, Half Dome access

All those winter storms have taken a toll on California'sYosemite National Park, where pileups of snow may delay access for Half Dome climbers and the opening of two key roads. The good news: The renowned waterfalls are putting on quite a show.

At Tioga Road, to the north, crews have been blasting avalanche threats and spreading charcoal at Olmsted Point to help reduce the snow above the road. At Glacier Point Road, to the south, crews are using two bulldozers to take on 8- to 12-foot accumulations east of Bridalveil Creek Campground.

Road work like this usually begins around April 15 and can take up to two months, the National Park Service says.

Hikers could be affected by the heavy snows as well. The park service reports that the cables used by hikers to scale formidable Half Dome are still not up. They are being delayed until trail crews can safely access the granite peak. The opening may not come until after Memorial Day weekend, officials say.

Meanwhile, Yosemite’s waterfalls are reportedly more breathtaking than ever as the park sees peak spring conditions. The large amount of snow still in the high country means the flows are expected to last longer into the summer.

Another effect is that the Merced River is draining twice as much water as it usually does in May. Visitors are being cautioned about the high water levels in the Merced and other streams.,1,2276327.story


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