Eastern Sierra Ice Report // January 23-24

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Michael O'ConnorLeave a Comment

How’s it going everyone? Hope you all have been enjoying the winter season so far and if you have had the chance to ice climb out here yet, you probably have seen that things are pretty fun! Here’s a quick update from this past weekend out in LVC and a few photos of the June Lake ice as well. Be aware that there is a massive storm forecasted to hit this Wednesday which will change conditions dramatically!

Alex Kohorst on Tree Route at the Chouinards Wall. Photo: Mike O’Connor

LVC Update (January 23-24)

I was out in Lee Vining this weekend with two guests and we had a blast. The approach is still working best to go right at the start of the initial talus field. Before this last little snow storm it was a bit tricky to navigate with the low snow coverage. Over the weekend the area received several inches of new snow, filling in this sections a bit making things a touch easier.

Chouinards Wall:

We climbed at the Chouinards Wall on Saturday (January 23) and observed several other groups out. Pretty much everything is in and good at Chouinards with the exception of Comrad’s Corner, which would need rock gear to protect if leading. It seems like all of the bolt anchors are now exposed at the top as well. The ice was a bit wet in some sections on Saturday but overall climbed well and was taking good screws. There are a few sections that have been pretty picked out down to bare rock. Having a file handy could be nice to touch up your tools if you swing into those sections. By Sunday the ice seemed to have really firmed up and the two main wet sections were dry and climbing much better.

Chouinards Wall (1.23.21) Photo: Mike O’Connor

Main Wall:

We observed one group on the Main Wall on Saturday and then my group and I climbed up the first pitch of the Main Line route. The ice was a bit more varied here and I was able to get good screws but you’ll need to be more strategic about where you place them. There were many sections that had just a thin crust of ice and some sections that were very wet. Leaders will need to clear the top layer of ice in many sections to find good protection. Caveman looks like it has been getting some top rope action but would be a bold lead at the moment in my opinion. The initial slab section of ice looks very thin and may not take any screws until you reach the steep pillar.

Main Wall (1.24.21) Photo: Mike O’Connor
Charlotte following up P1 of Main Line (1.24.21) Photo: Mike O’Connor

June Lake UPDATE: via SMG Guide Ryan Hutter

Ryan was out on the North Gully this past Saturday and reported back with these photos from the area. The June Lake ice seems to have deteriorated from last weekends heat wave but hopefully will start to heal up with the coming storms.

North Gully (1.23.21) Photo: Ryan Hutter
North Gully (1.23.21) Photo: Ryan Hutter
Tatum Falls (1.23.21) Photo: Ryan Hutter


It seems as thought the California Ice is doing pretty well considering the lack of winter that we have had out here. There is a massive storm forecasted to hit Wednesday (1.27.21) which will change things dramatically. Stay up to date with the ESAC Avalanche Bulletin as the avalanche hazard is likely to increase significantly in the next few days.

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