Eastern Sierra Ice Report – January 8, 2018

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

Hey there Ice climbers – this weeks report will be short since I have been up in Tahoe teaching and have not climbed or guided ice on the east side this week.

We continued to have warm temps since our last report and I have gotten reports that the rock is far more exposed at horsetail falls and for reasonable folks this is out of shape.

Lee Vining Canyon

SMG Guide Bernd Zeugswetter was out guiding ice on 1/4/2018 and found Chouinards the same as I had posted on our last report. He took a few photos of the main wall and found fun plastic ice – they were able to top rope the far left corner on Chouinards but the ice was still to thin to place screws.  Rock pro may work to protect a lead.

Dry Approach on 1/4/2018 – B. Zeugswetter

The boulder problem into the narrows is …Still the crux – 1/4/2018 – B. Zeugswetter

Warm temps have made the ice on the north side of the canyon almost disappear. (1/4/2018 B. Zeugswetter)

Exiting the narrows. There are large gaps between the talus that would be really challenging to navigate with just a little snow cover. (1/4/2018 B. Zeugswetter)

Main Wall – start of Caveman is all dry – Bernd observed naturally occurring ice fall all day – spiral staircase looking thinner than even a week ago. (1/4/2018 B. Zeugswetter)

Main Lee vining Canyon with Ice holding nicely below the Green Bridge (1/4/2018 B. Zeugswetter)


Tahoe Ice

I spent my day off on Sunday spending time with my wife and little baby … Hunting ice…

I had seen photos of the Inertia tube that looked like it was forming on the west shore of the lake.  With warm temps and rain in Tahoe the pillar had fallen down on sunday (1/7/2018)

No More Inertia Tube… It fell over…Warm temps and overnight rain not helping out Low Elevation Tahoe Ice (1/7/2018 V. Perumal)


I ended up hiking up the Eagle creek drainage where we found some short ice forming but very wet, and then hiked to Cascade falls where there was climbable but wet ice.

Cascade falls on a warm day with melting ice and lots of running water. There was a nice steeper flow that can be seen in the upper right corner of this photo (1/7/2018 V. Perumal)


We found the creek crossing manageable but not optimal with a sleeping baby strapped on the Baby Bjorn. 🙂


It sounds like Coldstream is in well and I’m hoping to get a chance to check that out later this week on my next day off.

We had some photos to share from Peter F. of some of the ice in Truckee.

It is from 12/22 but makes it look fun and worth checking out…

Kevin Andrews leading on short but high quality ice pitches near Truckee. 12/22/17. Warm temps have kept us off the ice but it has not receded. There are quite a few nice spots including some multi pitch routes. The ice was great and took screws well. We used a bit of rock pro also. (12/22/2017 P. Fuszard)


Just for fun…….

Chattanooga, TN  (Southeast Ice Update.)

I grew up in Chattanooga, TN and many folks know Chatt-Town for its world class bouldering, steep pumpy sport climbing, featured splitter cracks, and amazing kayaking.  Not known for its Ice – the Southeast has had some chilly temps this week that have created some ephemeral flows that some local climbers are taking advantage of. My friends Robbie and Krystal Burnham are making me want to take a trip back east to visit my old stomping grounds… Steep sandstone and beautiful ice. Even some 2 pitch stuff!


New snow

Things are changing currently – I spoke with someone who climbed at Lundy Ice on Saturday and they had some post hole conditions and a foot of fresh snow up high on the ice. I also saw some backcountry ski reports that the new snow has arrived and more on the way for tommorow.  This will change the approaches and the ice significantly. New snow can act as a blanket on the warm ice and keep it from freezing and can also create unstable avy conditions if there is any bed surface on some of the higher elevation ice. Stay tuned for how the temps and snow change things this week. It looks like Tuesday would be a good day for tire chains on the roads in the mountains.

Please send me any photos you may have to document this changing season.

Cheers Viren

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