Winter Weather, Crowds, Rescues, Missing Hikers, Lambs

Winter Weather! The entire mountain was winter wonderland at one point and weather has certainly been in the news – Rain falling in Tucson; hard freezes to follow – Arizona Daily Star, Brrr-inging in the new year in Southern Arizona – Arizona Daily Star – (A few good snow photos from the mountain), A wet and white New Year’s coming to the desert – Jeff Beamish –

Ski Valley opens all of it’s runs! Last year Ski Valley did not open any runs for the first time in 50 yearsMt. Lemmon Ski Valley open; traffic restricted – Doug Kreutz – Arizona Daily Star.

Winter weather has caused restrictions on the highway to come and go over the past week. The winter weather + holiday weekend has also combined to produce big enough crowds on the mountain that – at times – the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has stopped traffic at the base and only allowed a car up the mountain when one comes down. On Saturday at 4pm, while coming back from the Milagrosa area, I  drove past a line of cars waiting to go up the mountain that stretched back nearly to Houghton! Mt. Lemmon Highway now open after Wednesday road restriction – Tucson News Now, Sheriff briefly limits access to Catalina Highway, weekend crowds expected – John Ames – Tucson News Now, Mt. Lemmon Highway closed due to overcrowding – Arizona Daily Star.

Sledding proves to be dangerous on Mt. Lemmon – Christina Myers – KGUN9: Stay safe while sledding! The article says that “two kids had to be taken to the hospital on Thursday after hitting objects that were sticking out of the snow”.

Hikers planning on hiking from Sabino Canyon to the top of the mountain call for help and are rescued. Three hikers rescued from Mt. Lemmon – Rikki Mitchell – KGUN9, 3 Mount Lemmon hikers rescued by helicopter –   Carmen Duarte – Arizona Daily Star, Rescuers searching for two women lost on Mount Lemmon – Scott Oathout – KVOA.

A group on the Butterfly Trail is reported missing. Sheriff’s deputies search for group of six missing hikers – Alyssa Reilly – KVOA.

First Day Hike is great way to start 2015 – Cathalena E. Burch – Arizona Daily Star: There were a number of parks with guided First Day Hikes this year – a great way to start the year!

The Bighorn Sheep Restoration Project Status update for 12/18 to 12/31 is now available (all updates are currently available here). Three new lambs have been observed in the Santa Catalina Mountains and there is video of one of them! This update has information on recent deaths including a report on the death of Ewe #643. When the death of Ewe #643 was first investigated there was not an obvious cause – later analysis indicates that an infection, probably originally caused by an external trauma, was the cause.

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