Ebbetts, Sonora passes open in Sierra Nevada
Ebbetts Pass opened noon Friday after all the winter snow and debris were cleared from Highway 4 linking eastern Alpine County to Bear Valley.
The pass rises to 8,730 feet, making it one of the highest passes in the Sierra. Even with low volumes of snow, Ebbetts Pass and Sonora Pass require closure during the winter season.
Sonora Pass has grades in excess of 20 percent and Ebbetts Pass had grades in excess of 23 percent, far exceeding typical highway grades of 6 percent, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The steep grades, high elevation and narrow road cannot accommodate snow removal equipment and vehicular traffic at the same time.
Ebbetts closed for the winter on Nov. 30, 2017.
Work clearing Sonora Pass was completed on Thursday afternoon. It had been closed since Nov. 22, 2017.
“Travelers are advised that there are minimal services available and limited mobile phone service along the high elevations of Ebbetts Pass,” officials said. “Visitors can purchase gasoline in Bear Valley on the west side and in Markleeville on the east side of the pass. Visitors are also advised to have a full tank of gas and to carry extra food, water and clothing to be prepared for any emergencies. For maps and visitor information, visit the Calaveras County Visitors Bureau in Angels Camp or the Alpine County Visitor’s Bureau in Markleeville.”