Hey there Ice climbers – It has been a few weeks since my last report and boy a lot has changed. Winter came in full force for a few days. Cold nights created some great ice conditions as well as conditions for a buried facet layer in our snow pack and 3-6 feet of snow in the region bumped the avy danger really high – not only last weekend during the storm but several days afterwards with remote triggering events and a funky persistent weak layer that was reactive. The high winds this week has kept us on our toes with the formation of new wind slabs and periods of sun and warm days this week have created wet loose avalanches in both Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake.
Please Check the avalanche report updated every day at 0700 at … http://esavalanche.org
Consider getting some avalanche training….
And carry Avalanche Rescue equipment for everyone in the group when entering avalanche terrain.
In the past 2 weeks I went from guiding fat ice in North Gully and Horsetail to wallowing in thigh deep snow to approach, and everything in between.
We cancelled or changed itineraries of several ice programs during the storm cycle due to Avy danger, and carried Beacon shovels and probes today, and finally have had a use for the snow shoes a few days this season to approach climbs.
Lee Vining Canyon
I guided Ice in Lee Vining today – Chouinard still has plenty of fat ice and even some of the ice on the right side is thicker than its been all season. The main wall is thin on the bottom and sees sun around noon. We witnessed several large spontaneous icefall events and climbing on the main wall may be out for this season
The approach is better in places and punchy in places. I stayed on the south side of the creek the entire way following the approach described earlier this season. The creek is still high due to Edison working on the generator. This forces the approach to hug steep slopes and avalanche terrain which much be dealt with caution and good judgement.
June Lake Ice
June Lake has had such a changing season. I have spent many great low snow days this year on the north gully but after our storm last weekend it is mostly buried in snow and better of as a test peice extreme ski like (Glen Plake – I have a video camera :).
Road side got fat again and is now cooking in the March sun giving fun hero sticks in a sun rotten sort of way
Horsetail is best approached with caution in the warm sun – plenty of hang fire and spontaneous ice fall in the long march days but it has been fun to climb the right edge of it though last Monday while guiding a group there we saw a bunch of wind slab avalanche debris on the approach and eggshell crust over powder snow on top of sun rotten ice that was thin with running water behind and then rock….Glad it was low angle or it could have been a really serious climb !!!
Well a Picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few from this week – Stay safe out there