This report of ice conditions is for ice climbs in the Sierra. We will report on conditions as we see them, or as we get reports from our friends. Be aware though that ice conditions can change rapidly with changing weather conditions. Be aware and knowledgeable of factors leading to stable snow and ice, and perceptive enough to back off in poor conditions. Visit the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center website for the latest backcountry avalanche advisory. Be safe and enjoy the climbing!!
March 29, 2013
March 16, 2013
March 9, 2013
February 13, 2013
February 3, 2013
January 21, 2013
Just finished a delightful Ice 101 course today. Horsetail Falls is still in great shape. Approach is slick and steep. LV Canyon is nice as well, by modern standards anyway. Approach is well packed and easy to travel at the moment. Chouinard Falls is fat where it ought to be and a bit thin on the edges. Not as much square footage of climbing as you would potentially want on the busy days. On the other hand, we had 3 parties there all day today on MLK's day. Maybe all the ice climbers wanted to watch the Obama inauguration instead. Main Wall is fully in season if you don't mind the thin-ness at the bottom. Bard-Harrington is still a distant memory of bygone days, R.I.P. Generally speaking, not much to update from last post and the season is rolling right along. To those who capitalized on the last epic cold snap by climbing unusually well formed and adhered big ice lines in Yo-so-mighty Valley and lived to Facebook about it, good on ya and well played! Get out and enjoy California ice climbing whilst you can in 2013. - Howie
January 15, 2013
January 6, 2013
Lee Vining Canyon is in excellent condition for ice climbing, perhaps with exception of Bard-Harrington Wall, which is quite thin as it often is. Main Wall is a little thin in places, but quite climbable, though it is steep right now. Chouinard Wall is in great shape and is getting most of the traffic at the moment. There was even a group climbing Heel Toe on Saturday as well. The approach up the canyon is in great shape, and though you can get up there without snowshoes, I would still recommend the use of them, as post-holing will happen on occasion.
June Lake Ice is in as well. Horsetail is in fat, and I believe Tatum Falls would also be okay to climb on. I believe Pap Smear received it's first ascent in years, and definitely looked in condition over the weekend. The trail to Horsetail is in good shape - snowshoes for sure. ~Jeff W. Guide
Horsetail Falls Jan 5 2013
December 10, 2012
December 8, 2012
November 29, 2012
Howdy there ice climbing freaks! Welcome to another ice season in the Eastern Sierra. Looking forward to a great one. Nothing can top last year - with the snow free, easy access to countless, rarely climbed ice lines, but we're off to a decent start. Thanks in part to some October snow and a short cold snap we have some ice lines forming on the Main and Chouinard Walls in Lee Vining Canyon. We also have heard a recent report of climbable ice in Parker Canyon (Thanks, Christy McIntire!), though that approach will get a bit more difficult with the current storm that is upon us.
Speaking of that, this is an "atmospheric river" event, aka a pineapple connection storm. That means warm, wet, and plentiful precipitation. In our ice climbing venues we can expect significant snowfall and even rain if temps are as warm as forecast. For us that means potentially a nice dense base to fill in the approaches and a nice groundwater charge to increase the flow of moisture on the cliffs. Let's hope for another drop in temps after this storm that could create excellent early season condiitons.
For now though, stay off the thin, delaminating ice in LVC. Yes, I'm talking to you, joneser! Let it form up and attach. Don't set up your topropes yet and destroy the seeds nature has sown for us. Be patient and make sure the ice is thick and solid before you enjoy it. It's safer for you and people around you too, and it's the right thing to do. We all thank you! - Howie
November 28, 2012
November 19, 2012
Lee Vining Canyon - photo courtesy of Ian McEleney
We are very pleased to add a new feature to the site. If you click on View Topo, in the Lee Vining Canyon section you will find a link to Brian Biega's excellent site (About My Adventure) and route lines will be shown. If you hover over the route name the route and rating will appear. VERY COOL. Thanks Brian!