Hi there ice climbers!
Everyone expects that by now in the season we should be kicking and swinging with abandon. We had a handful of seasons in the past decade where that happened. This year though, it’s been too warm. We had a bit of a cold snap in late November that started to freeze things and the snow free approaches offered some climbing opportunities in the mountains on the flows that generally get buried or tougher to access later in the season. Some of us were climbing flows in Lundy Canyon, the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, the North Fork of Big Pine Creek, and others. But the classics in Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake have been in barely climbable and fragile conditions. Temperatures hive risen in the past week+ and these flows are looking worse rather than better. We got a few inches of snow at 7000-8000 feet and over a foot up higher. This has made approaches more difficult. Unless you are up for a challenging mountain adventure, Eastern Sierra ice climbing is not recommended at this time. Chouinard Falls may be climbable, but please don’t. We are all waiting patiently and knocking the ice off will only make us have to wait longer. Another cool down soon will help the ice bond to the granite and make it a more sustainable place to go and play.
We’ll be in touch as things develop. Watch the temps. The last snow with this warmth will likely charge the trickle of natural groundwater and before long we’ll have ourselves a season. Next storm is forecast to hit pretty good on the 11th-12th and should be accompanied by a welcome drop in temperatures.
Hope the pre-holidays are treating you all well and we look forward to seeing you out on the ice soon. Special thanks to Christy McIntire for venturing out to have a look at June Lake/LVC and for the noble self-restraint to not climb Chouinard Falls yet out of respect for our fellow climbers. Impressive ethics you guys. Thanks for the pics and beta!