California Ice Climbing & Backcountry Skiing Report - Dec 28th

Here's the climbing & backcountry skiing condition report for December 28th... The Sierra received a cold winter storm last week, although the storm did fizzle out a bit from what was predicted. Temps have been very cold and the ice has been growing dramitically!

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

Eastern Sierra

Backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra is still good above about 9200 feet on North facing slopes in the trees. Open slopes at higher elevations have been very wind affected. Conditions at the Negatives out of June Lake yesterday found mostly crusty snow and very variable conditions. Still lots of hidden obstacles below 9500 ft. Virginia Lakes is also good but still lots of hidden obstacles. In other areas with North facing sheltered trees you can still find cold snow and decent skiing. The Mammoth Crest up by Red Cone Bowl has been skiing well and is a good choice right now.

There are some small disturbances coming in later this week, which could affect the skiing with even crustier conditions. The last storm dumped about 1 foot above 8600 ft and only about 4" down at the 7500 ft level.

Mammoth Crest 10,000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast
Eastern Sierra Guided Backcountry Skiing

Skiing off of south peak out of virginia lakes

Skiing off of south peak out of virginia lakes



Around Tahoe It's still all about going higher up. So plan on areas such as Mt Rose Hwy, Carson Pass and Castle Peak areas. Variable skiing with lots of wind affected snow was reported off the Mt Rose Hwy. We still need another good cold storm to open up the bulk of the Tahoe backcountry. But some skiers have been finding pockets of cold snow and fun skiing and boarding.

Castle Peak (Donner Summit) 7500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Mount Shasta

Shasta is the place to be for skiing! Blower pow and a deep, deep, snowpack is making for great skiing. With some good weather windows this week, skiers have been finding nirvana on big volcano up North.

Mount Shasta 8500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


California Avalanche Advisories & Observations

Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (Observations only)

Bridgeport Avalanche Center (Northern High Sierra)

Sierra Avalanche Center (Lake Tahoe Area)

Mount Shasta Avalanche Center


Backcountry Yurt AIARE Level One Avalanche Course

Ice Climbing

Lee Vining & June Lake Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing in the Eastern Sierra is getting good, real good! Lee Vining is getting fat and climbs we haven't seen come in in years are in shape. Main wall is getting fat and Spiral Staircase on the left is climbing great. Chouinard Falls is also climbing well and the middle flows are getting fat. An added bonus are the shorter steep climbs that are forming in the Narrows down lower in the approach. Zippos Booger Smear is in as well as a few other thinner flows next to it. The approach up to Lee Vining ice is reported to be very tedious and difficult and the recent storm only made it worse.

MaiN Wall at lee vining

MaiN Wall at lee vining

Roadside ice in June Lake is fat, fat, fat. There is now room for 5-6 ropes at Roadside ice and it's climbing very well. The road is open so you can drive right up to the ice climbs.

June Lake's Horsetail Falls is also fat and climbing well. 

We expect the ice climbing to only get better as temps are supposed to stay cold. Come and get it!

Lee Vining Canyon Ice 8000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast
Ice Cimbing Classes...winter 2016/17

The narrows at Lee vining have a few thin lines forming up

The narrows at Lee vining have a few thin lines forming up


Alpine Climbing

High Sierra Climbing

It's winter mountaineering season now in the High Sierra now that there is a somewhat supportive snowpack. Our guides reported from Matterhorn Peak last weekend very, very, very, very cold temps!

Palisades 12,000 ft NOAA weather forecast

Mount Shasta Climbing

Full, and we mean FULL, winter conditions. It's just skiing up on Mount Shasta.

Mount Shasta 12,000 ft NOAA weather forecast

Rock Climbing

Joshua Tree

There was some good climbing conditions last weekend, but this week looks to be variable with a chance of showers.

Joshua Tree, Hidden Valley Campground NOAA Weather Forecast

Eastern Sierra

Owens River Gorge has been good in the last few days and is about the only rock climbing venue right now with reasonable temps for climbing. Later in the week another storm is rolling in with dropping temps.

Owens River Gorge NOAA Weather Forecast
Mammoth Lakes 9000 ft NOAA Weather Forecast


We are done with Yosemite rock climbing reports for the season.

Yosemite Valley NOAA Weather Forecast
Tuolumne Meadows 8600 ft NOAA Weather Forecast