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2021/2022 OR/WA Ice Conditions


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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, robbasanta said:

Anyone got any info on Banks Lake? Seems like this upcoming cold spell might do setup some lines. 

Banks needs snow on the ground to provide water so unless they get a couple inches of snow then cold weather there won't be much ice.  Typically it needs a couple weeks of good cold weather as well so I think we are still a while out from anything good out there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for checking out Banks.  I have been watching the weather reports pretty closely and figured it would be starting to form up.  Given the current extended forecast I think things will be looking pretty good come New Years.  The pictures you posted are of Zenith and the Devils Punchbowl area.

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We could have ice conditions that we haven't seen in decades. Here are some pics of Index Town Wall from around 1989 or 1990. These were taken at the end of a similar arctic-geddon. I had been out of town for most of the cold snap, and the day we were here the temps were warming up. Note the HUGE missing column in picture two. No way I was capable of doing that then, now, or ever, but there are some crazy good climbers around now. (We climbed some slabby WI2 by the RR tracks)

I'd love to see someone bag this if it actually forms up again!




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I have been watching conditions for the last few weeks so I decided to give a early season run a chance. We were able to find a little bit up 410 and had a great day Friday temps in the teens and sunshine we enjoyed a easy day to start the season. Saturday we made a trek into the Pickhandle area to check out some high flows I had in mind, It wasn't as wet as I expected but I enjoyed taking lead on these 80 footers and having a great partner to belay. The last 15ft of the bigger flow was not stable enough for me to lead so we did a few runs on the lower 2/3. It was a decent 7-8 hike round trip with the last 1/2 being rough breaking trail in 2-3ft of snow.

After 2 days enjoying the area we left to civilization and find another location. Thanks to The Yakima trio imageproxy.php?img=&key=438e3321a8b92b51Sunday was a nice finish at Vantage for a few pitches. imageproxy.php?img=&key=438e3321a8b92b51

Thanks to Steve, great job on your pitches, the perfect belays and excellent company. The Yakima trio it was great to meet and I look forward to getting out there with you guys!

To Joe for the belays and allowing me to introduce you to your first Ice climbs.

Edited by Lostbolt
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Drove along Banks Lake today.  Overall it still needs a lot of time.  I was really surprised at how little ice was there.  From South to North.

Absent Minded Professors - no ice at all
The Cable - maybe halfway but overall skinny/thin.
H2O2 - Looked good.
Agent Orange - no ice
Salt and Pepper - no ice at all
More Banks ice - some ice...just hangers
Climbs just north of "More Banks Ice" - 2 routes look in.  3 more are trying
Climbs south of Brush Hell/Brush Bash - 3 routes look in 4 more trying
Brush Hell - Looks to be in
Brush Bash - Trying
Shitting Razorblades - no ice at all
The Emerald - unknown, but based on the fact that the smaller climb right off the road below Emerald was dry....I doubt it.
Climb below Emerald - no ice at all
Unknown climbs - 2 lines at MP 14 which is one pullout south of Zenith.  Both were in and climbed well (about 3+/4 and 5.)
Zenith - it is touching but very thin on the bottom 50 feet (ie not enough for screws)
Peewees - 1 (in), 2 (trying), 3 (very close probably climbable just harder than the normal grade), 4 (in), 5 (in) 6 (trying) 7 (in) and 8 (trying)
Devils Punchbowl - Fat with some very nasty daggers above
Trotsky's Revenge/Phase Transition - Looked good (again with nasty daggers above)
Trotsky's Folly - In
Kilowatt - trying to form (some ice up high)
Megawatt - no ice at all
Gigawatt - no ice at all

Across the lake....
Bombs over Bagdad - No ice
Tea in the Sahara - No ice
Something new across the lake from MP 9.5 ish - the top half is in and you could walk around the bottom half to get to it.
Something new across the lake from MP 11 - skinny pillar is just about touching. 


I have been asked regarding the location of some of these.  So I created a Caltopo map.  It has all the above climbs (almost all are marked where you park on the road).  And it has all the Mileposts for reference.  Hopefully this helps some people out. https://caltopo.com/m/G61HV

Edited by mthorman
Added Caltopo link
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Strobach is coming in / was kinda in this past weekend. Ice was kinda chossy / friable on the lower tier "approach" pitches. Temps looked like they'd be keeping things that way this coming weekend. We went only to the Motherlode zone, it took 3.5 - 4 hours breaking trail to get in with snowshoes (recommended over skis). 2 hours to hike out with the trail in place. 

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Manninjo that is great news, I am hoping for a trip up there this year. Besides getting beta from Wa Ice do you have any you would like to share? Like bring lots of tat or must have 10 stubbies, 70m twins ect. Thanks for anything you are willing to share,  If you plan another trip feel free to message me. Thanks Miller

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Stopped by Vantage last night. Went up to some of the drips to the right of Frenchman Falls and the ice was ghostly, aerated, definitely on its way out. 


Then I walked over to the top of Fuggs in the dark. I am pretty sure I was at the correct spot, but I was confused because I found absolutely no ice. The creek that usually feeds it was bone dry. Ouch.

Driving up to Banks the next morning, here is some Soap Lake Ice.


A few Lake Lenore area routes, not sure the names. There's additionally a route I only saw on the way home on the east side of the highway that actually looks good.



Children of the Sun and Clockwork definitely not in.



At Banks, the only classic that is really in is H202.


Zenith maybe could be climbed, but it looks desperate.


Cable definitely not.


Devil's Punchbowl looks hazardous.


Not a drop of ice on Salt and Pepper or Absentminded Professors.

We did the two routes at MP 14, which were long and in excellent condition. V Threaded 30 feet before the top of the left one to keep it WI4.



Then we moved over to Pewee's Playground, which held surprisingly good ice and fun routes. We did #4 and #5, including the second pitch. These climbs were excellent and we were very satisfied with our day.





More Banks Ice has a good line that is in.


Overall, it was a great day and super exciting to see this area in winter finally. I guess not much is in, but it did not really bother us because all the classic are too hard for us anyways. The quality of all these unnamed "playground" level climbs was simply astounding. Thanks to @Marlin for some helpful beta!






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