Hey there California Ice Climbers….Winter poked its head out today. Yeah for cold temps and precipitation. It may be short lived but it was nice to enjoy some cold temps and great ice this week. I climbed in June Lake yesterday (2/111) and found some fun conditions on the North Gully and we climbed on Chouinard Falls today (2/12) with some full on winter like conditions.
Lee Vining Canyon
Things have changed drastically – until yesterday you could have gotten to the ice in approach shoes with overall dry talus and a quick approach (I guided a fit guest a week ago and it took us less than 30 minutes from the car to the ice). Today we had snow falling all day and Lee Vining canyon seemed to get more snow then most places in the range. I am not sure if this was lake effect snow from mono lake but the precipitation was significant relative to June Lake or Mammoth.
We observed about 6 inches of snowfall while we were in the canyon and it was snowing at a rate of about 2inches per hour as we were leaving.
The approach was very engaging with fresh powder snow on top of talus and took us about 90 minutes each way… Southern California Edision is still releasing plenty of water into the creek drainage. The approach is still keeping to the same trail that we have been using this season but was quite a bit more attention grabbing with some fresh powder snow. Temps were below freezing all day giving quite a different feel to the ice climbing days than we have been having this season.
We found some brittle ice buried by powder snow giving it a nice winter feeling for the day.
It stormed most of the day which created a beautiful winter wonder land which we have not seen much of this season
Not much has changed with the ice….It is still fat in the center lines and there are probably 4-5 ice lines that can be lead.
Main wall still looks too thin at the bottom to climb or to protect. Bard has no Ice but is at least looking snowy.
June Lake Conditions (2/11/2018)
Harris and I climbed ice in June Lake after getting shut down by poor ski conditions and wind holds on most of the lifts at Mammoth Mountain. We found fantastic wind protected and mild conditions on the North Gully. I carried a rock rack that I used for pro as well as anchors. We did it in 3 pitches. I scrambled up and belayed Harris to the base of the first steep step. Then did an 80M pitch which included rock pro and Mixed climbing up to a gear anchor on the left and then another 50M pitch to the top. It was a fantastic afternoon adventure.
Horsetail falls was out of condition for climbing
Tatum falls is out of condition
Roadside is out of condition but is trying to grow still…
There is an interesting line that is forming above the double eagle that I’d like to check out…. Looks interesting!!
Thats all for now – keep checking back for our next report