Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 29, 2018

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

Hey there California Ice Climbers –

I was out guiding Ice on the 27th and 28th weekend and what a difference a week of winter temps made.  Single digit temps and some fresh snow of up to 12″ around June Lake gave us a glimpse of winter last week, and made for some growth in the ice.  Some Ice that had vanished this season came back in and was in great shape after our week long cold snap.  The bad news for ice and snowpack though is that we are now in the middle of a big high pressure system with not much cold or moisture in the short term so we can only hope to get a little more winter this season.  Keep checking back for our ever changing conditions.  I’m guiding ice the next 4 days and will have some updates on how the daytime heat affects our ice.

as always please email me any photos or trip/ conditions reports so I can include them in this report

– Thanks Viren Perumal

June Lake Ice (1/27/2018) (Horsetail, Tatum, North Gully, Roadside)

The big news is that after being all but lost for the season and unclimbable…the ice in June Lake got a second wind!!!

It was the first time for me this season to get to approach this area with snow on the tracks…

Horsetail Falls had all but Vanished and was fully formed in with lines both on the left and right side.

Horsetail Falls coming back for a visit…much of the center melted and fell during daytime hours on Saturday (1/27)

Horsetail Falls 1/27

The Right hand flow was a nice 60+meter toprope – it took screws the whole way up though the upper 1/3 took only 10 cm screws there was running water under the left side of this flow and I lead the pitch on the right fatter side.

The left line with a climber from another group climbing the bottom 1/2 of the pitch the center is aerated ice and should not be climbed due to potential ice fall from the hang-fire not bonded ice above

Tatum Falls was looking climbable early Saturday morning but warm temps left water running and thin ice at the bottom part.

Tatum falls looking bigger than a week ago but still thin on the bottom we noticed more running water later in the day after being in the sun most of the day. (1/27)


The North Gully had some new snow on the lower angle ice, but the last pitch was fully formed leaving a nice fat exit pitch.

North Gully Staying in great shape with a fat upper pitch

Ryan leading up the 1st pitch of N. Gully


Due to the sun exposure this time of year Roadside Ice was looking too thin to climb

Roadside Ice looking less icy than usual for this time of year 🙁 1/27/2018


Lee Vining Canyon

The approach got a little more interesting with some fresh snow on the first talus field but some of the other parts in the narrows are a little easier with new snow and more ice. It took us around an hour to hike to the base of Chouinard Falls. The generator is still being repaired so higher water volume is running through the creek bed.  We are still taking the same Southside approach discussed in earlier reports this season.

Pretty but not fast to travel on – High concentration walking on the initial boulder field


There is still no ice in the Narrows or the Bard Harrington.

The Main wall is still thin on the bottom 1/3 and not taking screw placements for the 1st 10-20 Meters.

Main wall 1/28/2018

Chouinard Falls is staying fat in the center with the far left and right routes still thin for screws.  The anchors left of the tree route got buried by ice so you will need to make a screw anchor there.  There were several parties on Sunday (1/28) with limited real estate.  Due to the minimal ice and snow – it is good to be mindful of climbers above and to minimize your time in the icefall zone if possible.

There is good fat ice further up the canyon if it seems like there are already 4-5 ropes up which may be the maximum for this area.

Chouinard had fun fat plastic ice on all the center lines – 1/28/2018

Too close for comfort – but at least nobody is eating lunch right below the 2 climbers

The green bridge flow is still staying fat and a good option if too many other parties are on Chouinard falls

The early bird gets the worm. (1/28/2018)

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