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2016/17 Ice Conditions


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Climbed the right most flow at Alpental Falls this morning. Protection was poor on the lower part and there are still sections of thin ice and snow over rock, but it's pretty easy and up higher it's fat and solid where it steepens. Short on screws, rope, and time, I opted to belay and rap from the tree on the right hand side rather than do the final steep top out. You could also v-thread from several places on the final steep section. Hacked off as much moldy old tat as I could fit in my pockets, but there is plenty left to clean (what a mess!).





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Spent today scratching around Bryant Peak/Alpy Valley environs with Wayne. Ice conditions were surprisingly poor. Waist deep wallows accessed poorly-adhered, weak candle sticks.


Chockstone looked in, Flow Reversal had ice but probably not continuous/climbable, and Resistance is Futile is MIA.


We attempted the second ascent of Wayne and Laurel's FA from last winter - The Circumvention. Good route in scrappy shape now (but fun trying). Mixed pitches were OK but negligible ice to be found.


Great overview sunny shot of this area from yesterday in this TR, first pic shows Bryant Couloir, Flow Reversal and the Circumvention (if you can pick them out under the snow):



Seems like the cold snap flash froze the ice making machine and big weather changes are required for additional ice making, at least for climbs depending on melt/freeze in this area. I recommend looking for creek-type ice, or better yet, skiing now.


Edited by Doug_Hutchinson
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If anyone gets over to the east side of WA state or ID/MT there is ice. A quick overview of what is around.


Banks Lake - some friends climbed Trotsky's Folly today...thin but climbable. This is what he said about the ice. "Everything looks thin. Cables is not touching down. Devil's Punch Bowl is fat but has 30 foot deathcicles looming. As we left, a team was starting up Trotsky's Revenge which looked mega thin."


Cooper Falls - Thing but climbable. Had some friends climb the 1st pitch last Monday and it was still wet on the left. Should be a lot better now a week later.


Laclede, ID - there is a lot of road cut ice at Laclede right now. Several flows are fat enough to lead although most of it is still too thin. Lots of stuff ranging from 30ft to 75ft tall.


Libby, MT - road cut ice just west of Libby is in and fat. I had a friend out there yesterday climbing and the pics he sent me looked good. Several good lines to lead. I have also seen several pictures of plenty of good fat flows on various road cuts between Libby, MT and Eureka.



Here are 3 pics from the road cut ice at Laclede, ID.






Edited by mthorman
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Skookum Falls was in on Saturday. There is an easy log crossing just downstream from the viewpoint on highway 410. We climbed three pitches and deemed the last one too thin for our early season confidence. Two double rope raps off v-threads got us down.


There were multiple lines possible as well as some other ice a gully left and right. My apologies to the father-son team, hopefully we didn't totally scoop you after passing on the approach.


https://goo.gl/photos/wudPzVXqUaCgie4F8 Here are some pics. Google took away my ability to embed photos in the forum. :-/


Also I drove by again today and things were getting wet and there were a couple holes. Hopefully there is enough ice to stick around till the next cold snap, but it is WA.


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Climbed Chockstone yesterday. Indeed there is a lot of snow getting up to the main flow, and the approach pitch is quite hollow as someone speculated above.


The pitch itself is quite fat down low, but actually gets a little mushy at the top as the snow-ice interface has resulted in poorly formed, rotten ice. It definitely hadn't been climbed since any of the recent snow, as tunneling ensued to get off the climb.


I fixed some cordage on the big tree to the right side at the top of the pitch. Get it while the gettin is good.

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Many climbs in the BL area are in, especially so by the middle of this week. Go get it!


As of today. I drove through to see what there was and here are some road photos. A few people were climbing the small fall at the base of the punchbowl and it was in. If anyone wants to go there on a weekend let me know. I just snapped photos of a bunch of flows, I havent climbed in this state at all, need to find people to go with. Anyone?!












EDIT: well links kinda work.

Edited by Kyle N
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I was at Franklin Falls on Sat and it was super fun! Which means it's been going a month strong now! There were piles of tourists and many other parties but I kept thinking that the quantity of ice and usability was much better than Hafner or Johnson Canyon. If it was in for this long a cycle *every winter* we'd be super lucky!

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We went out to the Gorge again today and did some scoping. Hoping to squeeze in Crown Jewel before it turned into a river again. Unfortunately that has already happened. We continued east a bit and noticed a good looking flow that wasn't running with water. It was on the cliff just to the left of the Rat Cave. Pretty sure it is called the Slippery Dolphin in the guide book and rarely forms. We were extremely surprised to find completely dry but plastic ice. The whole feature is still really well bonded to the wall and doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. We thought it was around grade 4+ or so on the left and maybe 5 on the right but the ice was so sticky that it all felt pretty easy.





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Anyone been to Franklin Falls lately? I am planning on going Sunday, I haven't been there and don't know how access is. I read online it is closed at the I90 ramps. From reading the WA ice book it suggests it is a 4 mile hike in from I90 (normally would drive 2 of them but the roads closed). Is it going to really be 8 mile snowshoe trip fom the on/off ramps?

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Currently the best way to access Franklin Falls is to park at the Snoqualmie Central Ski area. Walk under I90 (toward Alpental) and then look for a large pile of snow and a pull out on the west side of the road. On the other side of the snowbank is the unplowed old Highway that takes you to Franklin Falls. After two consecutive hair pin turns look for a sign on your right that marks the trail to Franklin Falls. If you have skis, it takes about 15 from the car. Even if you don't, the road is typically packed down from lots of foot traffic. We were up there on Saturday and it was a zoo- someone wrote up an article about Franklin Falls and everyone and their cousin was there taking pictures. We heard multiple stories of huge traffic jams at Denny Creek.


Multiple top rope anchors have been set up at Franklin Falls for both the left and right sides. For the right side, go back up the trail until it becomes possible to gain the cliffs to the left. The trees are really dense, so it's difficult to see the bottom but make your best guess. Make one rappel from a tree down steep snow and trees to the edge of cliff. There are at least two anchors around sizable trees there. Make a second rappel to the base (~20-25m). For the left side cross the creek (carefully) and skirt around the cliffs to the left to gain the trees above. There should be several anchors along the breadth of the cliff band. If you leave a sling, take an old one.

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Well, a short correction to Sid Viscous: you park at Summit West, not Central. The approach from Exit 52 is a bit shorter than the approach from Exit 47 and relatively easy to navigate.


I was at Franklin today, actually, it's fatter than it was last weekend and -20'C when we roped up at 8am!

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