Hi Ice Climbers. It is March and the Ice Conditions are in Prime shape….Longer days, well filled in approach, and thick fat ice are all making this the best time to climb ice in Lee Vining Canyon. June Lake Ice is still buried by snow up high and Roadside ice is mostly sun rotten, but the ice in the Narrows, Bard-Harrington, Main Wall and Chouinard Falls are in great shape.
The avalanche activity has been pretty heavy duty this year and more caution to the terrain, conditions and red flags are warranted. We have been carrying a beacon shovel and probe most days in the canyon this year and are incorporating short trainings about their use and avoiding the canyon on the considerable and high avalanche days we have had this year. Remember even a small avalanche can be very destructive to an ice climber.
The other major risk this year has been the increasing popularity of large groups at the base of the ice. Keep your head on a swivel and avoid standing anywhere below a climber. In the past 2 weekends I have seen Climbers and people hiking to set up top ropes drop Ice chunks, Tools, crampons attached to boots, and Shovels??? Avoid being in a position to get hit by these items!!!
Please check out our video ice report!!! I will be posting more frequent updates as the conditions change with lower days and warmer temps but with this much ice we should have a nice long ice season well into the spring 🙂