How’s it going Sierra Ice Climbers?! I was just out for a few days of ice climbing this past week and weekend and here is a quick update on what things have been like out there. Thursday (Feb 6) I hiked out to LVC on a very nice boot pack which made the approach a breeze and surprisingly there is still a lot of climbable ice up there! Chouinard’s has nice fat ice through the middle sections with the outer lines coming in a bit thinner. Things are a bit picked out in the middle but I would imagine by now things have filled in a little. Everything we climbed on Chouinard’s was taking good screws. We did not make it onto the Main Wall but things were looking a bit thin at the start of the main flow and even thinner at the start of Caveman. We went back out to LVC on Sunday (Feb with a questionable forecast and were still able to get a handful of pitches in on Chouinard’s. With much colder temperatures the ice was climbing a lot more brittle but still really fun! There were a few folks over on the main wall climbing the first pitches of the main flow and caveman which both looked much better then just two days before. Here are a few photos to see the difference in just a couple days.
Saturday (Feb 8) I was out at Horsetail Falls in June Lake with a great group of guests for their first time ice climbing. On our approach the tram line up had some sections of packed down slick snow making it hard for some folks hiking for the first time in mountain boots and with not enough snow linking all the way up the hill it was hard to justify getting crampons out so the approach ended up being quite annoying until we started our traverse over to the rock step. There are two good fixed lines for the rock step that lead all the way to the top. there was a decent ramp of snow at the start and then dry rock the rest of the way. As for the ice, we climbed on the right side of the falls for most of the day which was climbing very well with easy sticks on the lower sections. Towards the top the ice became a bit thinner in sections and aerated in others making it a little trickier to find good screw placements. The falls are flowing in full force and sending ice bombs down pretty much all day so be careful where you choose to belay from and how long you’re exposing yourself to the falling ice hazard. I forgot to snap a few photos of North Gully but things looked pretty good up there. The first pitch looked to have a few thinner sections but the upper half looked to be in and fat!