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Where to Ice Climb?


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This seems like a topic for the "Newbie" board. On spring break (March 21-Apr 1) I am planning to go on an ice climbing trip with a few other people. I can go anywhere between Lee Vining and Lilloet and plan to spend 3-4 days (travel time not incl.)with a little TR-ing to warm up and then leading on WI2-3.

Here's the question: In the interests of ethics I don't want to go somewhere where 2 teams would dominate the routes since we may be slow or on TR. Granted the better climbers will be on harder routes, but sometimes the first pitch of a WI4 is WI2-3.

The other consideration is this; I want to go somewhere that has enough potential for 3-4 days considering the spring break crowds.

The nearer to Eugene the better. Ice rarely forms here, and will not be forming this year, so I must travel. BTW, if there is anyone out there willing to drag a "newbie" up some ice, I'm that guy.

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Sorry to go off topic, but speaking of that, does anyone know when highway 20 is expected to open? WSDOT usually has info on their site, but I didn't find any. I would assume that would mean that it won't be happening soon, but I have heard rumors that it will open very early this year.

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Go where the ice is. Sounds obvious, but I wouldn't make concrete plans for spring ice climbing too soon. See what the weather does and head north, south or east accordingly.

I had a great time in November in the bozeman, mt area. I was there climbing for a month and found plenty to TR as well as my first leads. It's probably not much farther than Lilloet.

I haven't climbed at Lee Vining, but the sierras snow year has been good. You can also bust down to Bishop for bouldering and rock climbing if the ice isn't in.

All that said, I may be up for joining you depending on conditions here. (Highway 20 opening for example.)



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Late March to April is very late season for ice for Lillooet or anywhere the Cascades. I would be very very surprised if you found any at all, unless it was at Washington Pass or higher than 6000 ft. Really.

Your best bet is to go to Banff/Jasper. From Eugene its going to be around 15 hours. Bow Falls especially would still be in in late March and is a wonderful WI3 - WI4 ramble. The WI3 is called Photographers Gully, and is really nice! The WI 4 is optional, but is also just really nice. There are other isolated pockets of cold along the icefields parkway that would have ice this late in the season, like the first few pitches of Murchison, Five Seven Zero in the David Thompson country, and stuff like that, so you would be OK for a few days...

email me if you want more specific suggestions.


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