22 Feb Eastern Sierra Ice Report – Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake // Feb 15-20, 2022
“What Happened to Climbing Etiquette?”
I spent the last five days out ice climbing in Lee Vining Canyon with a series of different groups and a total of seven different guests and let me tell you, the conditions have been spectacular! The cold snap that hit this past Tuesday really kept the canyon in great shape.
I was out climbing at Chouinards Wall, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this past week and things are climbing really well. Comrades Corner still isn’t really gonna make it in this year with ice all the way but provided a really fun mixed route! Tree Route is making a comeback and climbing really well. The middle flows are as fat as ever and the far right side is still looking great. Overall Chouinards wall is climbing really nice right now. The bolt anchors one to the climbers left of the bolt anchors on tree route are still buried in ice and the bolt anchors one to the climbers right of Comrades corner are slowly getting engulfed in an ice cave. If things keep up as they are this anchor could be fully buried next week.
I had the pleasure of climbing on Main Wall Thursday AND Sunday this week! Thursday I took a lap up Caveman to the top and found some really fun conditions. This route has been getting some action this season and the hooks are plentiful. But don’t be fooled. This line is still climbing steep and even hooking your way up will build a worthy pump. Sunday I was back on Caveman with a group of three that was having a blast getting pumped out of their minds.
SMG Guide Kevin McGarity was out this past Tuesday on the North Gully of Horsetail Falls and reported back finding some nice “scottish” conditions. This was during our little storm so things may have changed since then but this is a good indicator that we might still have some good climbing left to be had out in June Lake before the season is over.
Looking into next week things are going to stay nice and chilly with maybe even the possibility of some more fresh snow on Tuesday. This should keep the ice growing and filling in the picked out sections nicly. One thing of note was how busy the canyon was this past weekend, especially on Saturday. For the most part it seemed like folks were getting some good climbing in but what happened to climbing etiquette? I witnessed some pretty peculiar practices on Saturday out at Chouinards Wall… Speed climbing on one of the busiest days of the season? Belaying off of a single ice screw? Leading up in between and under groups that have already established ropes set up when there was ample open ice just a couple lines down? It was a bit mind boggling at times. But it all worked out and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. I’m looking forward to another good week out on the ice and expect to find some really nice conditions to finish off the month.