Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 29th, 2016

In Conditions Reports, Eastern Sierra Ice Report, From the Range of Light & Fast by Howie Schwartz8 Comments

Howdy California ice climbers,

With not much notable change lately we have been quietly climbing and not reporting, but it’s about time for an update. Ice climbing conditions in the Eastern Sierra have been quite good, and they seem to still be getting better overall with each passing day. We just had a few days of warm temps, and now a decent amount of rain on the snow. In January, we do not expect profound effects on the stability of the ice, but we are using caution out there today and expecting freezing levels to descend in the next 24 hours. As this happens, of course, the snow from the escalating series of storms will begin to accumulate on the approaches to our local ice venues and the avalanche danger can be expected to rise. Definitely bring snowshoes and tire chains for this weekend and early next week, and check in with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for the most current snowpack summary to help you plan your climbing days.

In general though, Horsetail Falls is fat. Lee Vining Canyon’s Main Wall and Chouinard Wall are in good form. The Bard-Harrington is still a rock wall and we don’t expect it to form again until another leak miraculously springs in the Edison penstock. For those who fancy trespassing on private property, Roadside Ice in June Lake may be wanting to fall down a bit in the rain today, but if it doesn’t it should be ok after it cools down a bit.

Good luck with the stormy conditions the next few days and enjoy it. Great ice season so far! Here are some recent photos, all from the past week…


  1. Anybody know if LVC is climbable? Don’t want to drive 4hrs on a hunch that it is. THanks!!

  2. Hey Howie,

    Any updates with all the warm weather? I saw that LV canyon is suppose to still be hitting freezing overnight, but I was unsure if this warm streak is bringing down any large pieces of the wall in the last week or two. Looking to head out later this week if possible. Thanks for the help!


    1. Author

      Hi Tom,
      I have been out of town but our guides are reporting fat and excellent conditions in LVC. Horsetail is getting enough sun that it may be degrading to “not recommended status” in the next couple of weeks. Cheers, Howie

  3. Was at the Falls (Horseshoe) Wednesday. Ice is fat. Approach was still full of much new snow, we were obviously the first ones in since the storm over the weekend. Had to rappel after one pitch due to “wardrobe” malfunction on the part of my partner. You’ll see the screws from which we rappelled. Been looking for a good excuse to get rid of that ole Lowe “hammer in” ice screw.

    We uncovered rope on the rock step just before the falls. You should be able to see it clearly unless a new storm rolls through. Have fun, the Falls are in good shape.


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