Lee Vining Ice

11-12 Dec 2004 - by Rob Yang

Five of us went to Lee Vining this last weekend - Dirk Summers, Mehrdad Mehranpour, Karen Chaltikian, Julian Jamison, and myself.

So with that in mind ... the weather had warmed after a storm a coupla days before, following a cold spell which apparently had formed up a lot of ice. So there was still a lot of ice, but moderate temps during the day (40's Saturday, a bit chillier Sunday) made for some wet climbing. In places the ice was thin & detached, with visible running water, but in others it was good and fat. In other places it was kinda both (place pick, observe water dripping from pick hole ...)

The road to the power station was easy driving, as the warm daytime temps had melted a lot of snow cover at low elevations. Walking up the canyon was another matter - we postholed like mad, and even those with snowshoes were floundering. By the end of the weekend though there had been enough consolidation to make the approach less painful.

Saturday we went up several lines on Chouinard (left, center, and right, though not the far right). On Sunday, Dirk, Julian and I climbed a couple of lines left of center, while Mehrdad and Karen went up the Bard-Harrington wall, then came by to lead up a steeper line to the left of us. The main wall was looking a little funky on the right side, complete with chunks of falling ice, but apparently it was solid enough in the center for a team to climb it.

This was my first experience with waterfall ice climbing, WI3 or so according to the rockfax guide. I was quite impressed with everyone's skill, good company, and willingness to share tips. Looking forward to some more ice this season !

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