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Elevation: 7,800 ft
GPS: 37.252, -119.136 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 425 total · 19/month
Shared By: PDMartzen on Mar 10, 2016
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Rancheria Falls is a winter ice climbing location that has dependable ice and is accessible. This is rare on the west side of the southern Sierra. The falls are about 7800 feet above sea level. They also face north in a narrow canyon where it stays very cold. The falls seem to ice up fairly early in the fall. Don't know how long the ice might last into the spring.

The main falls are about 110' high and can be top roped with a 70m rope. At the top of the falls there are some anchor bolts on boulders and also some big trees which can be used as anchors. However, these anchors are about 30 feet back from the lip of the falls. Bring plenty of rope or webbing to extend the anchors if top roping. Other wise the 70m rope will be too short.

The steepest ice is on the left side. There is a wide area of lower angle ice on the right. There are series of smaller falls below the main falls with steps about 10 or 15 feet high.

After storms the falls will be mostly covered with snow. Ice tends to only show through in the steepest spots on the left. Don't know under what conditions the snow will fall off or consolidate into the ice.

The ice extends both downstream and upstream of the main falls. Immediately downstream are a number of short ice steps up to about 10 feet high. Climbers can descend down and climb back up for extra fun. There also appears to be 3 or 4 additional small ice steps above the main falls that could be fun to explore. Further upstream the creek flattens out.

Rancheria Falls is a popular hiking destination all year around if the trail is clear and a popular snowshoe/ski destination when there is snow on the trail. It is common to have a steady stream of hikers on weekends or holidays even in the winter.

Getting There

Take highway 168 from the Fresno area to Huntington Lake. One mile past the China Peak Resort, look for a gated road on the right. Elevation here is about 7100' or 7200'. Walk or ski up this road 1.25 miles to the Rancheria Falls trailhead. The trail to the falls is .8 miles, but is relatively level. The trail leads to a viewing area even with the base of the main falls. From the end of the trail stomp steps 15' up a steep slope, then follow an easy traverse to a large area at the base of the main falls.

During the winter, all cars must carry chains on highway 168. However, Caltrans keeps the road clear of snow usually within a few days of any snowstorm. Typically chains will be required on your tires for only a day or two after each storm.

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Fresno, CA
PDMartzen   Fresno, CA
Yes, you are correct. Got it switched to Southern Sierra. Mar 11, 2016
Visalia, CA
limpingcrab   Visalia, CA
Thanks for adding this, I had no idea it was there!

Maybe it should be moved from SEKI into southern sierra? That's the page containing all of the areas around Huntington. Mar 11, 2016

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