Howdy Ice Climbers! It’s been an exciting week here on the Eastside. June-uary is in full effect with mega warm temps and amazing rock climbing weather. Unfortunately, this is not good news for ice. After an awesome cold snap, warm temperatures returned a bit too soon, culminating in a Friday evening that didn’t freeze below 8500′. This resulted in late March conditions in early January. We witnessed the center of Horsetail Falls, which was completely covered in ice 1 week ago, calve into the creek on Saturday afternoon. Lee Vining Canyon did not fare much better. The Main Wall lower section was gone and he Chouinard Wall, though climbable was looking a little peaked and sweaty. Even with all the warmth and instability, the climbing is still exceedingly good. Temps are cooling and as long as we get some cold soon enough the warmth may just serve to recharge the flow and give us more ice later. Approaches are not very different than they would be in summertime, so it is really not too bad. Just be careful out there when playing with warm ice in warm temps and be mindful of the realities of ice shedding. Hollow sounds and water running visibly under the ice are signs that you are playing with the bull. Look for freezing temps overnight on weather telemetry in the area.
What we need now is a bit of winter. Does anyone want to send some to us? By mail or FedEx? Whatever it takes. Or we can go drive in a northeasterly direction with the window open and when the water in the cup holder freezes solid, we get out and look for something to climb. Road trip, who’s with me?! Or I might just go dry tool on the Sherwin Plateau somewhere with a bouldering pad. Awesome!
photos of LVC by Bernd Zeugswetter