Sierra Ice Climbing Beta and Partners


Original Post
Clark Hollenberg · · Portland, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 10

Hey, does anyone have info/experience on ice climbing in the Sierra between now and May? I'm talking about areas besides Lee Vining. Trying to train for a potential trip to the Alaska Range while living in LA haha. It seems like there's got to be some awesome ice when the conditions are right in the winter, but I imagine a lot of the roads are closed making access difficult.
Also has anyone been up in Darwin Canyon recently and know if there's any ice left in Mendel Right or Left Couloirs or other spots in the High Sierra? I have a 4 day weekend coming up Oct 15-18 and was hoping to get some ice climbing in.

Also I'm looking for partners so send me a message if you want to go on ice adventures.

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 461

Most of the alpine ice climbing in the Sierra's is now dead due to climate change. See this rather depressing blog post
- sierramtnguides.com/alpine-...

North Peak is in (or was) in right now for ice climbing, you can see my blog post for what it looked like a couple of weeks ago
http://fresnoclimber.blogspot.com/2016/09/ice-climbing-in-september-north-peak.html

In the Winter, there is ice at Lee Vining and June Lake on the Eastside.

In the Western Sierra there is ice that forms:
near Tahoe (Coldstream Canyon)
Ice in Sequoia - Moorage Daydream on the Watchtower, 5-6 pitches of mixed, WI4
also there is Tokopah Falls
near Huntington lake - Rancheria falls

If you want serious ice experience go to the Canadian Rockies for a week in Dec-Feb, stay in Canmore.

climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 10

Ice also forms around the Whitney Portal area, but not sure what kind of weather conditions need to exist for it to form/be accessible.

Though Canmore would be nice Ouray would be worth the drive.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 105
climbing coastie wrote:Ice also forms around the Whitney Portal area, but not sure what kind of weather conditions need to exist for it to form/be accessible.
First thing... it must be cold.

LA is a tough place to live and be a Ice Climber.... learn how to make the drive to Canada in one push.
Clark Hollenberg · · Portland, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 10

Yeah, that Sierra Mountain Guides blog is pretty depressing. That's kinda what I was expecting, but just wanted to see what people know. It seems like waterfall ice should still form in the high country during the winter certain times, but knowing where and when it's good and getting past snow covered roads would be a problem.

I'll be making a trip to Lee Vining for sure. Got two years of college left down here before I move somewhere mountainous and cold.

Matt Cornell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 105

Dana couloir is in now. North peak is in now. Mendel couloirs were in during the month of July (yes ice nine was in this year) probably not anymore. U notch V notch and Clyde couloirs are out of condition currently, but were in during July. Who said high Sierra ice was nonexistent!?!?

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 461
Matt Cornell wrote:Dana couloir is in now.
Really? I had heard the top was melted out, and rock fall was severe and that a couple was helicopters off not so long ago after being hit by rock.
If you have been up it recently, I would love to hear about what the conditions were like!
Rude Boy · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 615
Matt Cornell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 105

C Brooks, I soloed the Dana couloir a few weeks ago and soloed it yesterday as well. It is in great shape. Solid blue ice. Sure the top 200ft are melted out but its just a little loose scree. No dry tooling just 3rd class scrambling. I did not see a singe rock fall the two times I climbed it. Even while it got sun exposure. Always wear a helmet.

Dana Coulior 10/4/16

Matt Cornell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 105
C Brooks wrote: a couple was helicopters off not so long ago after being hit by rock.
Where did you hear this???
Rude Boy · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 615

If I remember correctly, I climbed North Dome on Sep. 17. When about half way up a large heli flew directly overhead straight in the direction of Dana from the west. I don't know anymore about it though.

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 461

From Mono country Sherifs office -

September 24, 2016, 16-528, #32 A party of two from Southern California were climbing Dana Couloir when rock fall occurred. A rock hit the female climber on her right forearm, causing a possible fracture. She then slid down the couloir injuring her right ankle. The male was hit by another rock on the head, knocking him out for approximately 5 minutes, and splitting his climbing helmet. The climbers were able to descend the couloir and hiked to Dana Lake where they activated their satellite communicator (DeLorme Inreach). CHP helicopter H20 extracted both climbers from Dana Lake to Lee Vining airport where Mono County paramedics transported them to Mammoth Hospital. Responders were: Barnum (Ops), Casabian (IC), Maxwell, Endo, Brodbeck, Shelby Pracht, Cucura, Drake, Guffey, Greene, Hartstrom, and DeGeorge

Matt - It does look in nice shape, thanks for correcting me. I might try and climb it ASAP!
I had heard is was in awful shape. Problem with rumors!
The rockfall accident probably just highlights that these couloirs need to be climbed fast and very early in the morning before things warm up (which we all know)

Bryan Hains · · Redwood CIty, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Ice bouldering in the Donner train tunnels FTW!

ice1

ice2

ice3

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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