03 Mar Eastern Sierra Ice Report – Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake // Feb 26, 2022
“Keep the cool temps coming!”
It’s been a busy winter out on the ice this season in the sierra and it’s not slowing down. Good thing the conditions are absolutely fantastic! This past week was maybe our busiest one yet with three of our guides out making programs happen in June Lake as well as Lee Vining Canyon. Here are the latest updates for each.
Lee Vining Canyon:
As of this past Saturday, February 26th, Lee Vining Canyon has been climbing really well with all of the main flows still going strong. Chouinards Wall is as fat as ever and still growing with the exception of Comrads Corner, this zone is climbing absolutely fantastic right now. The anchors up and to the left of the Tree Route are still buried under quite a bit of ice and will likely be that way until the end of the season. The anchors in the cave down and right of Comrads Corner are starting to become entombed by the ice and by the time of this post they might just be! There is a really fun smear of WI4 ice on the Heel Toe Wall forming over “Careless Torque” reported by SMG Guide Kevin McGarity who climbed this pitch on Friday.
The Main Wall seems to be wavering a bit. Caveman might be in the best shape I’ve ever seen and Plumb Line is climbing well but starting to thin out on the lower section. Main Line is looking very thin down low and would be a sporty lead. Spiral Staircase is looking lean but was climbed by SMG Guide Bernd Zeugswetter this past Saturday and was reported to be in “pretty good” condition.
The lower sections of the “Adventure Flows” (still not sure if these things have an actual name) are holding on and seem to be providing some good early morning warm up pitches or some very brave afternoon bombing zone. While I haven’t actually seen any rock or ice fall directly onto the lower sections of this area it seems like it’s only a matter of time.
North Gully was in good shape as of this past Saturday reported by SMG Guide Kevin McGarity. Horsetail Falls has seen a lot of ice come down the week prior during our warm spell, but the far left side is still providing some good ice out of the way of any ice fall. The right side was looking a bit thin last week and would be quite scary as the base of this section was littered with massive ice blocks the size of small refrigerators.
The weather last week was absolutely perfect and we’ll need some more of those colder temps to keep the ice in good condition. We have another storm slotted to hit Thursday which could accumulate up to several inches of new snow by Friday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed we have some more of this cold weather for the remainder of the season and we could be climbing ice into the end of March! Keep the cool temps coming!