Lee Vining Ice Climbing

Report courtesy of Sarah

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Elevation: 9,000 ft

Time from trailhead to climb: 30 minutes

I had wanted to gain some experience with vertical ice. On the Mt. Rainier trip my guides instructed us on vertical ice technique in a crevasse. I wanted to find out how different this was from the frozen waterfalls located in Lee Vining and June Lakes. I conculted with my friends Dave and Eric about guides and came up with two options.

My guide Paul Adams from ASI lead the routes and set up anchors. The three clients then top roped to their hearts content. The first day we climbed a WI 3 and then a longer WI 2/3 on the second day.

  • WI 2. A pitch of 55- to 60-degree Ice at a reasonably consistent angle. Good protection and belays.
  • WI 3. Sustained 70 degree ice, with short sections up to 85 degrees and usually thick and solid. This may include short, steep sections but will have reasonable resting places and offer good protection and belays.

The climbs went well. I had a little trouble at first maintaining my footholds, but quickly learned better technique. I climbed exclusively with the Charlet Moser Quark which worked out very well. My goal is to get my own set of ice tools and a pair of good ridgid crampons. I'm getting excited about the next season in the Sierra. Time to stop typing and start planning.

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I'd also like to check out the Tioga Pass Resort sometime. My guide said they will shuttle/snow mobile you and your gear from the Tioga Pass gate to the resort. From there you can enjoy all the back country skiing and escape all the hussle and bussle of Mammoth.

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