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manninjo

PNW ice in an el Nino winter

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http://www.climate.washington.edu/outlook.html

 

I've been climbing waterfall ice in Washington the last two or three seasons. It seems like we get a solid week or two here and there at alpental and leavenworth and in the desert.

 

For those that have been doing this a little longer, what's your take on our chances of having a viable season this winter, given the strong el nino forecast?

 

Hope for easy alpine access again because we won't have snow at the heliotrope or stuart lake trailheads? Plan for a week in the rockies, hyalite or canmore?

 

Looking forward to climbing this winter but I'd love some quick hits at the more roadside spots.

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Random ramblings...

 

It needs to be cold for there to be ice. And and you need water. And not a lot of snow to bury it all.

 

When I first moved out here from NH 20 years ago, I thought: "There's going to ice climbs everywhere!"

 

Wa, wa, waaaaaa.....

 

The best year was the brutally cold Thanksgiving week, probably a two week stretch when just about everything froze. We climbed waterfall ice outside of Van Zandt on route 9 at about 500' elevation.

 

The best scenario is the "Arctic Blast" coming down the Frasier River Valley. All that good stuff near Hope comes in solid.

 

Getting in good ice around here takes dedication, and money to buy gasoline to go somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

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Assuming you live in the Puget Sound area, your best bet for good ice climbing is a solid cold snap with a bunch of moisture on the front end of it. This will bring things into condition that don't always form; that's your best bet for "easy access" stuff beyond the typical things in western / central WA (Pan Dome area, Hubba Hubba, etc).

 

I think it's hard to trace a mapping between the broader seasonal forecast and ice conditions, since they are so weather front - dependent.

 

I like to say that the best ice climbing in WA is in BC. Engineering a weeklong road trip to the Icefields Parkway or Lillooet areas provides the highest ROI.

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Keep checking temps around Chillwak and Hope/Hope Slide. Seattle area is lacking, but if cold enough Frazier Valley has some of the best ice on the coast.

Another- and consistent area is Husume Buttress-you access it through Blackcomb ski area. Again- probably one of the best alpine/mixed with easy access.

East Face of Pyramid. There is a new route (looked like Pilsner) is right off the bench between Pyramid (actually the Stump) and Colonial. We saw it descending in 2003, it was late afternoon, and we were tired after doing East Face of Pyramid (plus we only had 3 screws). This would be probably the biggest ice line of that sort in the Cascades. Polish Route on Colfax is another consistent route forming- it finally had a bunch of ascents last winter. But "As Seen on TV", "White Blotter" (Pemberton), "Mr Freeze" are good, hard routes with a lot of character if formed. "Mouse Trap" is another good one, very moderate long outing right outside of Hope.

 

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Something is climbable in Strobach every year. I think the approach discourages some but with an alpine driving start from Portland or Seattle you can get in, get a few pitches, and back out and home in the same day.

 

If we could get 4-6 people interested before the snow flies I would be interested in leading a work party to flag the approach and clean up some of the brush.

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Let me know when or if that comes together for the approach, im willing to help out with that. I don't get on here too much so text would be best- 541-701-7860.

 

Mark Hauter-

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Here are a few potential climbing options at relatively high elevation over in northeastern Oregon. If these come together this coming season I will post conditions for those interested.

 

After_Image_Honey_Pot1.JPGCranking_The_Crux1.JPGP1010754.JPG

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I spotted these lines a few years back. Couple might be done, but the skinny pillar is probably not. It would not take longer then 30 minutes from the car:

IMG_02072.JPGIMG_02042.JPG

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Dru - I could not have said it better. With global warming, I'm not even sure if I move to Alaska will help. I'm already considering a big Ice Gear Yard Sale.

:(

Manninjo - If you need to know theroadside/lastsecret, we'll have to go PM.

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Actually, I kind of disagree. Usually we have longer periods of clear, cold weather, we just don't have the snowfall. Some of the best ice in Frazier Valley formed in 2003 and 2004, which was also El Ninio.

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Thanks for all the responses and photos! Yes, it seems like conditions have come in when a cold front follows a moisture system. My concern is with higher average temperatures, we won't have as much ice forming, at least at lower elevations in washington and the gorge. But that is good to know about 2003/4 in the fraser valley.

 

I hadn't really considered strobach before, looks like some great lines there. If I could combine cragging at tieton with some access maintenance, that would be a solid weekend.

 

I'm all for the alpine but limited approaches are definitely nice, especially on short winter days.

 

Here's hoping for some colder weather in the near future!

 

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http://www.climate.washington.edu/outlook.html

 

Hope for easy alpine access again because we won't have snow at the heliotrope or stuart lake trailheads? Plan for a week in the rockies, hyalite or canmore?

 

Looking forward to climbing this winter but I'd love some quick hits at the more roadside spots.

 

Despite the fact that we are going into a Strong El Nino, this year will still probably be better than last year. Last year was an exceptionally warm year for multiple reasons.

 

Last year was so bad, that this year is going to look awesome, despite the fact that we are going into a stron Nino.

 

By the way there has been more persistent blocking in the Pacific the last few years, so I imagine there should be more clear days with ice.

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By the way there has been more persistent blocking in the Pacific the last few years, so I imagine there should be more clear days with ice.

 

 

What do you mean by more persistent blocking, is that longer or more frequent periods of high pressure, as we saw last winter?

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By the way there has been more persistent blocking in the Pacific the last few years, so I imagine there should be more clear days with ice.

 

 

What do you mean by more persistent blocking, is that longer or more frequent periods of high pressure, as we saw last winter?

 

Yes. But honestly I want the ridge to set up farther west this coming year. Cold NW flow is so much better for damp days, and mountain snow.

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