California Ice Climbing & Backcountry Skiing Report - Jan 30th

Here's the climbing & backcountry skiing conditions report for January 30th... Wow, what a different world we have now in the Sierra Nevada! Massive and we mean MASSIVE amounts of snow have been dumped on the mountains of California. Most Sierra ski resorts have reported well over 200 inches of snow in the month of January alone. In some areas we are already nearing 100% snow pack for April 1st! What does this mean of backcountry skiing and ice climbing? Well, we are looking at the best ski season we've had in recent memory.

And with ice climbing, all the moisture and recent cold temps have made for one of the best ice seasons we've seen. It's game on. 

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

Ok, this year is it. The Eastern Sierra has dug out, the snow has somewhat stabilized for now and it's time to get on it. As for snow coverage, there's nothing to talk's all in! Just about any backcountry line you can think of has snow and plenty of it. As for snow quality, the powder was just amazing on almost all aspects last week. Currently, there is some wind affected snow at higher elevations on open slopes and we are seeing some crust forming. However, reports are that cold powder can still be found in most North facing trees. We are looking at another refresh of powder later this week. 

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

Dropping into a lower elevation couloir in june lake with mono lake in the background

Dropping into a lower elevation couloir in june lake with mono lake in the background



Tahoe got hit hard also. Massive amounts of snow with over 200 inches on January have left all of the Tahoe backcountry skiable, and good. Skiers are still finding great snow on sheltered runs and North facing aspects. 

Castle Peak (Donner Summit) 7500 ft NOAA Weather Forecast

Skiing above a PARTIALLY frozen emerald bay

Skiing above a PARTIALLY frozen emerald bay

Mount Shasta

Lots of snow and lots of wind on the mountain as of late and more predicted this coming week. Not many reports coming out of Shasta recently and that's probably because both the Bunny Flat and Castle Lake roads are unplowed and closed for now. But they did also receive massive amounts of snow down low not too long ago and there is access from McBride Springs CG low down on the Everett Highway and also from Shasta Ski Park to the Grey Butte area. Some folks for accessing some backcountry areas via snowmobile as well. 

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

One of the best ice seasons we've seen in many years. Come and get it!

Lee Vining is simply awesome! Lots of ice and lots of new climbs and climbs that haven't been in in years. Chouinard Falls and Main Wall are very fat. The Bard/Harrington even has a few lines that are climbable. Even the Narrows has numerous lines to climb and Zippos is fatter than we've ever seen! The approach is great and all the talus is covered with snow. Latest reports are that there is a good boot pack and snowshoes are not needed. 

Roadside ice in June Lake is climbing well with lots of lines. It did get covered up in snow in the last storms but climbers have brushed most of that off. 

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. 

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


Alpine Climbing

High Sierra Climbing

Tons of new snow are making travel easier....once the snow stabilized. Extremely cold temps down to -20 degrees at high elevations last week have made getting up high challenging. But things have warmed a bit currently. Another storm is forecast to come in with winds over 100mph on the crest. 

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

After ran last week, Joshua Tree is looking dreamy for the next week or so. Perfect climbing temps and Southern California Sun! 

Joshua Tree, Hidden Valley Campground NOAA Weather Forecast

Eastern Sierra

Climbers have just begun to return to the Owens River Gorge after the massive storms. Reports are that there are good climbing temps but still lots of snow down in the Gorge. Climbers are breaking trail into some of the climbs! So be prepared with boots for the approaches. The central Gorge approach was reported to be "interesting". 

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