Here's the climbing & backcountry skiing conditions report for February 6th... We are in the midst of the the best combined backcountry skiing and ice climbing season in many, many years...if not ever. There is copious amounts of snow in the Sierra and at the same time the ice flows are the fattest we may have ever seen them since the leaks were fixed on the diversion pipe in Lee Vining years ago.
Welcome to our weekly climbing and backcountry skiing report for the state of California. Our goal is to provide a weekly single source of climbing and skiing conditions around the state. We hope you stay tuned!
Backcountry Skiing & Boarding
Backcountry skiing the past week was excellent early on and then the inevitable happened and the snow became a bit wind affected up high and temperature affected down low. Temps at 7500 feet approached 50 degrees mid week. However, over the weekend another storm rolled in providing the refresh that was needed. Good powder was found on North aspects in the trees on both Sat and Sun. Winds up high made for some snow transport and the creation of isolated wind slab, but down lower below 9500 ft there was great skiing to be had. Warmer storms are forecast for this week with high snow levels so we will have to see what that means for the snow conditions.
Tahoe also has seen a good needed refresh over the weekend. And while warmer storms are predicted for this week with snow levels above lake level, there's is still plenty of snow coverage everywhere so we don't expect rain to change that too much...will have to wait and see though as the rains are supposed to be torrential. Reports from the Mount Rose highway area are of great skiing conditions but heavy skier traffic.
Lots of wind and blizzard conditions up on Mount Shasta. The two main access roads, Everett Highway and Castle Lake Road are still not plowed and remain closed. Haven't heard any word as to when they may open up. Shasta is now sitting at 150% of normal snowpack for the season with more storms on the way. We are thinking skiing well into July at this point!
California Avalanche Advisories & Observations
Lee Vining & June Lake Ice Climbing
Truly one of the best seasons we've ever seen! Both Lee Vining and Roadside at June Lake are climbing great.
Lee Vining is just getting better! Main Wall is very fat as is Chouinard Falls. The center of main wall is so fat it's getting a bit easier than normal. Caveman on the right is fat also. Spiral Staircase on the left has lots of ice but some rotten, hollow ice was found on the first pitch last week. The Bard/Harrington is in for the first time in years and there are numerous lines to climb but with some thinner ice. Hobnail Boots is pretty much all ice now. The climbs in the Narrows suffered from the warm temps last week and on Wednesday they weren't looking too good and showed some de-lamination.
Something that drastically affected climbing at Lee Vining last weekend was a "Meet Up" group that brought somewhere in the vicinity of 30 climbers to the ice. Reports were that some climbers were turned away due to lack of available ice. If that number is true, we've not seen an organized group quite that large in Lee Vining on a weekend before.
Roadside ice in June Lake is still climbing great and climbers have brushed off most of the snow from the big storms last week. Roadside is a perfect spot for beginners or for those to try their first ice lead.
June Lake's Horsetail Falls was still covered in snow at last check. It would take a few parties to make the trek up there and do some cleaning to get it in shape.
High Sierra Climbing
Extremely high winds have shut down the summits of most peaks over the weekend and that should continue through the mid week. Gusts over 100mph at the ridges.
Mount Shasta Climbing
Full, and we mean FULL, winter conditions. It's just skiing up on Mount Shasta.
Wind and showers have been and will be in store for this week. Later this week it's looking a lot better!
With warmer temps last week, climbing in Owens River Gorge got good! There was still snow on the ground but some great sport climbing was to be had in T shirts. There was rain over last weekend and it's looking like rain for the bulk of this week. Maybe by the end of the week it could be good climbing again.
We are done with Yosemite rock climbing reports for the season.