Hi there Ice climbers. Welcome to our first Ice Conditions Report for the season. It has been a slow start to the ice season since Fall seems to have been clinging on this season for quite a while. This has given us ample opportunities for great days rock climbing, getting up in the alpine and some great ski missions. Approaches have been friendly, and warm and dry conditions have created unique opportunities like some of the finest backcountry ice skating we have seen for years.
Rock climbing days have been so good that it has been difficult to get out to venture on the ice… But today I was able to get several hundred feet of climbing in the June Lake Area – and the Ice season is in full swing.
Things to note, are that with our warm and dry conditions the ice is thinner than historically, however short days and cold nights are still giving us great conditions for ice formation.
Ice Climbers have been swinging tools up in the Whitney Portal areas, June Lake is currently the highest concentration of where I have heard of people Ice climbing and conditions in places like Lundy Canyon seem promising.
Some really interesting lines are in fat condition because the lack of snow is allowing long moderate routes to be exposed. There are several examples on Carson Peak in June Lake of some great long moderate gullies.
It is important to note that because the ice is limited your plan may be impacted by other parties as many of the venues have only a few available sections of ice to climb. This should change as the season progresses and as we move into some colder temps and shorter days over the next few weeks.
Road side Ice in June Lake has a fun 60 M pitch that is taking 13cm screws and has nice sticks. There is also a great thin flow to the right that has some nice toprope options but is still continuing to grow.
Tatum and Horsetail are still climbable but look for cold temps to keep them from being wet. North Gulley on Horsetail is reported to be “in shape” but I have not climbed it and can’t say how thick it is.
Carson Peak flows have multiple options for fat gully climbs.
Parker Canyon looks like it has more snow than ice from a drive by today but would love some photos and a trip report from a brave soul willing to hike up there.
Lee Vining is the big story and my information is based on second hand reports and photos but it sounds like it is still thin and the rumor is that the penstock is being worked on until February so there may be a lot of water on the approach but potentially dry climbs until we get a few more storms.
Again all this could change with a precip event or cold temps.
Keep up with our reports to learn about current updates