Tuesday May 30, 2023

San Francisco Chronicle

On the towering slopes of Mount Conness, just north of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass, one of California’s smallest glaciers sits beneath the biggest snowpack of the century, as much as 30 feet of snow at its height this spring.

It’s a huge change from previous years. So little snow fell in the Sierra Nevada during the recent drought that during the past two summers all of the snow on the 11,500-foot Conness Glacier melted, leaving the ice sheet without its protective cover and destined to be the state’s next glacier to vanish.

This year’s cold, wet weather, however, has given California’s shrinking glaciers a new round of snowy protection and, in the case of Conness Glacier, new life.

“If we had another really dry winter, I thought that maybe it would be it (for Conness),” said Greg Stock, geologist at Yosemite National Park. “The snow has been good for the glaciers in the sense that it’s going to keep them from melting this year and next year and maybe the next year.”

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