Eastern Sierra Ice Report – December 15, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Viren PerumalLeave a Comment

Roadside Ice on 12/15 exhibiting some “Shrinkage” on a cold rainy day – Photo by Forrest Schwab

Howdy Ice Climbers…It was an EPIC week to be a Whitewater Kayaker in California!!! – The Creeks were going off…

There have not been too many great days for ice since our last report.  Last Saturday we moved our Ice program down to the Owens River Gorge…70MPH gusts and all day rain and 40 degree temps were not ideal for first time ice climbers (though climbing in a T-Shirt on sunny sport climbs was a good consolation prize 🙂  There was a lull in the weather on Sunday and we had some friends hike into Lee Vining – and the ice sounded fun – but the approach was as bad as it gets with Ice covered talus and a little fresh snow.

Today we saw the 2 low angle ice gullys on carson peak that looked like they would be fun and fat if it was 20 degrees cooler today and not raining…but by the end of this storm they may get buried by snow or having the terrain above slide

The constant warm temps and rain this week caused some “shrinkage” to our ice routes.  Horsetail Falls is mostly running water today and roadside ice is almost melted to slivers with running water underneath.

We spent the day in June Lake setting up the SMG Backcountry Ski Centre and having our Ice Guide training “Indoors” as it rained hard all day up to 8500 ft.  We did not climb Ice today 🙁

The great news is that there is Liquid everywhere…cascading down rocks and gullies and the rain is continuing into the night ….where the temperature will begin its plummet into the single digits over the next several days….

The conditions could line up to make some really great ice but the approches are going to be hard work this weekend.  We have an Ice 101 this weekend and will be beating the snow into submission with several sets of snowshoes and hopefully we get enough of the wet cold stuff to freeze in the gaps in the talus eventually this season.

Keep an eye on the Avalanche discussion on esavalanche.org  Things are going to be interesting with the heavy new snow, cold temps and old rain crust.

Keep your eye out for our report next week – things should be interesting. – I’m hoping to get some help with getting a few videos up on the next report

Drop us a line or some photos to get included in upcoming reports


Thanks for Checking

-Viren Perumal

******************12/16 UPDATE – June Lake and Lee Vining Canyon Condition Update***********

Thanks to Joost Daniels we got some updated photos of Roadside and Horsetail from today.  Roadside Ice ended up shrinking down to almost nothing in the past 24 hours.

Take a look at the above roadside photo from yesterday and the one from today…you can see all the black water streaks from todays photo which is the melt out from 1 day.

Horsetail falls has way more water exposed today than yesterday.

The good news is that Cold temps are on the way —so check back in next week for our next ice report – VP

Roadside Ice 12/16 – Photo Joost Daniels


SMG/ Extreme Alpine Guide Geoff Unger took a hike up to Lee Vining Canyon to scout some conditions for our Ice 101 course this weekend

The ice is looking pretty plastered with new snow and appears to have also thinned in the past week.  The approach still looks like we will need some bigger storms to fill in the talus .

Main Wall, Lee Vining Canyon 12/16/2016 – Photo Geoff Unger

Chouinard Falls 12/16/2016 – Photo Geoff Unger


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