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2018/2019 OR/WA Ice Conditions


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okay - second issue for this season of Haireball's Ass-Clammin inventory - Icicle & Tumwater canyons, and Stuart Range.   As of December 2, there is no lowland ass no place.  the Funnel  on hubba hubba hill is a wet streak.  a hike in to Millenium wall reveals damp rock with a dusting of melting snow.  in Tumwater canyon, there are random blobs in the general vicinity of Drury falls, but no other sign of ass.

a hike in to Colchuck reveals thin smears of snow plastered on edges/ledges on the alpine faces - nothing that would constitute a "line", although the triple couloir is beginning to fill.  there is a fat two-or-three pitch flow a couple hundred feet up the approach gully to Colchuck Balanced Rock - looks like fun climbing if you feel like making the nine-mile approach from the Icicle road.  One trip report on this site reveals decent mixed conditions in the ne couloir on Argonaut - suggesting that Sherpa & Stuart might be worth a look...

forecast is for temperature to drop into the 'teens in Leavenworth mid-week, then warm again into next weekend.  I'm hoping to make another trip in to Colchuck next weekend, and will take my tools this time.   think frigid thoughts...

no word yet from my colleagues in the coulees...



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Lots of very fun ice to be had above heliotrope! We found mostly cold dry ice. Conditions were generally not conducive to leading (short pitches with snow below or thin ice or not hard enough to justify it, ymmv). There is ice to be had!

Up and left of where the trail goes right to heliotrope (trigged a wind slab below this)


Same area as above


FAT flow to the west of the trail on the way up, kind of wet, very easy, about 80-100ft


same as above  (this ice is grin worthy)


Up and to the right of the last climb (cliff band below heliotrope) (sorry for the quality)IMG_1376.thumb.jpg.3b5c110917b38f299c552c19fdeea6da.jpg


same as above

Hope this inspires some hope for the winter to come!!





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Found 3 pitches of wi2/3 ice near milepost 72 off Steven's pass highway. Fun climbing, plenty fat for screws! 2nd pitch is wi3, 1st and 3rd are shorter and wi2. Anyone know what this route is called? See gps track for location.










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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't been out to Banks yet, but judging from Spokane temps I doubt there is much yet.  We have been highs in the upper 30s or lower 40s and lows just barely below freezing until late last week.  The last several days have been colder finally but things definitely seem to be getting a slow start this year.

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  • 1 month later...

Leavenworth ass-clammin' update:

after a week with temps in the teens, things are looking more promising

'Tumwater canyon -- nothing to speak of.   Drury looks great, but I'm guessing frighteningly soft - notorious for leaders looking down to see their freshly-placed screws falling out...

Assicle canyon:  at least 3 lines on Hubba-Hubba hill appear to be in; though might be a good weekend to avoid the Funnel.  I've seen two parties in the Central  Gulley (aka "Chicken Gulley") of Assicle Butt-rest in the past two days - even got stubbies in the first pitch!  A party had laid a ladder across the Assicle to access Dog Dome yesterday, & climbed Dog Nasty Dike.  Ran a few laps at Rainbow Gulley this a.m. -  too thin to protect, but clammable if you limit yourself to hooking placements - swinging tools would destroy both the ass and your picks - crampons better smeared than kicked; lead-climbers your tools are your belay, so might consider wrist leashes...   Candlestein Left (aka "Careno Left") is clammable with a rock finish -- C Right has not touched down.

numerous dubious looking mixed possibilities...

its here for those desperate enough...

have not heard reports of coulee ice...


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Leavenworth area ass-clammin' update:

as per earlier, most classics in the Icicle canyon are now "in".  different this year are a number of smears on slabs that in most winters do not form, but this winter have thickened enough to offer possibilities

in the Tumwater, Drury looks iffy - enough ice to connect all the way, but lotsa suspicious looking holes/blanks.  The Pencil, on the other hand, looks as fat as I've ever seen it (forty years) - go figure.  the Drip has nearly touched down, might be "in" for those of you who like free-hanging 'cicles.  Comic Book Hero shows enough ice to connect ledges, but is bonier than I've ever attempted... but everyone knows I'm just a crippled up old fart...

anyway - plenty of ice in places relatively protected from the current avalanche hazard...  come & get it!

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