Eastern Sierra Ice Report: 12.10.20 // It’s not half good!

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Michael O'ConnorLeave a Comment

Hello everyone! What a strange year it has been, and while Covid-19 is making its biggest surge yet in California, it has not stopped the ice from flowing! That’s right, there is ice and it’s not half good. Yes you heard that correctly. There is ice but it’s only half good. 


I’ve been out a couple days this season so far, one yesterday out to Lee Vining Canyon, and another day out to Lundy Canyon. And while there is climbable ice out there, the resource is extremely limited and with the current “Stay at Home” order it would be best for out of the area climbers to put your trip on pause for the time being and give the ice some more time to fill in and fatten up. 

Lee Vining Canyon: 12.10.20 

  • Road and Approach: Power Poole Plant Rd. is open and dry 99% of the way with just a few sections covered with packed snow/ice. The approach up to LVC is also extremely dry. I hiked in with my trail runners and didn’t put boots on until just below Chouinards. 
  • Narrows- Dry as to be expected
  • Bard Harrington Wall- Dry 
  • Main Wall- Some ice is flowing and almost connected to the ground but it’s thin.
  • Chouinard’s- Has some sections formed and is climbable but needs some more time to fatten up.  

Lundy Canyon Falls: 12.1.20 

I hiked out there for the first time with my friend and fellow SMG guide Ryan Hutter, and we had a great time scratching up the Lundy Canyon Falls. The road was open to the trail head and the approach was mostly dry, hiking in with our trail runners and switching to boots not far from the start of the climb. There was a decent amount of snow on some of the ledges but not enough to cover some really fun sections of ice. While the climbing is low angle and not terribly difficult, there was a lot of flowing water behind the ice as well as some very large holes you could easily fall into on the snow covered ledges that made this a full value mountain experience. 

Horsetail Falls/North Gully: 12.6.20 

I have not personally been out here yet this season but Ryan Hutter went out on December 6th and climbed the first two pitches of the North Gully with Kevin McGarity Here’s what they said: “North Gully is ok for two pitches but super wet and gross up high, we rapped.” Sounds like it still needs some time to fully fill in. Ryan also mentioned that Horsetail Falls was no good as of the 6th.

Summary:

I think the theme here is, yes there is some ice out there, and yes it’s climbable, but it would certainly be hacked out and falling down after a weekend of just a few parties. The California ice climbers should keep sharpening their tools, get some good hangboard sessions in and wait for the “Stay at Home” order to be lifted and give the ice a chance to fatten up. 

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