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bellows

2015/2016 Washington Ice Conditions

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Tis the season. Temps are low. Forecast is promising. Time for a catch-all Washington State ice conditions thread! I’ll start…

 

Austin Eats It (Umptanum Falls area) is short but sweet and was in good shape Sunday:

image413.JPG

 

Umptanum Falls itself was decidedly not in:

image314.JPG

 

Frenchmans Falls also not in as of Saturday. Lots of flowing water at the top:

image288.JPG

 

Fugs Falls was a bit better but still pretty thin & wet on top. Could be okay by the coming weekend:

image1101.JPG

 

Smart people are skiing right now. Ice climbers are not necessarily smart people though. Who else has firsthand reports of ice out there???

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Peter leading Nisqually Belle WI5 - full 70m pitch.

nissbll2.jpg

nisbll.jpg

Edited by Dre

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We tried to go to Franklin or Keekwulee falls on the 2nd but the road was closed for tree removal not long after the exit. Went to Alpental to salvage the day. Practice gully looked like it had good ice but a lot of wind loaded snow. The various Alpental falls were in worse shape than expected with lots of thing ice and running water underneath. Sorry, no pics.

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Across mountaineer's Creek off 8 mile road. Not sure if it's climbable but looks ok...

 

IMG_20160109_080713368.jpg

 

IMG_20160109_080431570.jpg

Edited by telemarker

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Went back up to Rainier this weekend, to Nisqually Belle. Put up 2 WI4 lines on the left side of it on Saturday and a WI5 line up the middle today. It sits in the full sun until early afternoon and left me soaked to the bone from head to foot. It's getting a little sugary on the surface in the morning but it's wicked fat and still growing.

The climbs in Mikeys look very ify from the road. Almost nothing on Narada.

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Went up the Lake Annette trail on Saturday Jan 9 to check out Abiel Peak. The combination of a late start plus foolishly skiing up the summer trail didn't leave us with enough time and energy to climb. Skied out the west side of the drainage back down to the car, which is definitely 100% the way I'll approach next time (on skis). Lesson learned.

 

I didn't look too close, but the various N face lines on Abiel seemed to be shaping up - particularly if you like thin ice and mixed. We'll see what happens in the next month or so.

 

IMGP0541-2.jpg

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Spent 1/9 and 1/10 at Banks Lake...which was not in good shape. There was climbing to do, but Zenith, The Cable, and H202 were def not in...Some pitches that were forming fell down Saturday night too. Shitting Razorblades looked by far to be the most inspiring objective. We climbed the first pitch, but bailed on the second. The shower effect was too much. I couldn't look up to climb and became 100% soaked. Water was running into my jacket and pants and coming out down at my boots, filling them with water in minutes. It was "fun". I threaded off when hypothermia became a possibility. A classic weekend of WA ice!

 

Temps were about 34 day and night. 6 inches of snow on the ground. The fog was unrelenting. If it actually gets cold, Banks won't take long to shape up...

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Jens, any photos from Banks? Your description doesn't seem to match the description in the other thread of "nearly as good as ...past several years".

 

Not sure where to put my money but it seemed a touch too warm on the east side. We checked out a couple Ellensburg areas Sunday and found nothing. Salvaged the day by getting some late afternoon laps on the reliable Kiddie Cliff at Alpental:

IMG_80083.JPG

 

Todd Anderson, FYI Franklin Falls is one of the more popular hikes in the Seattle vicinity and trip reports pop up almost daily on the WTA site. Check it out for recent pictures: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls

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Todd Anderson, FYI Franklin Falls is one of the more popular hikes in the Seattle vicinity and trip reports pop up almost daily on the WTA site. Check it out for recent pictures: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls

 

Other good resources for trip reports to common hiking destinations like Franklin falls are NWHikers.net and the WHC FB group. These groups are very active and post a lot of pictures.

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Bellows-I have no idea how to get the pics from my phone to this forum, sorry. Maybe I misspoke. There is ice around. A lot of it is pretty crudy in my opinion, but it is ice. The big, classic, more difficult routes are not in. I do think it could snap into better shape if it got cold. I live near wenatchee...it's been really warm here. That said, it's different at Banks. I don't know...wa ice!

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Todd Anderson, FYI Franklin Falls is one of the more popular hikes in the Seattle vicinity and trip reports pop up almost daily on the WTA site. Check it out for recent pictures: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls

 

Other good resources for trip reports to common hiking destinations like Franklin falls are NWHikers.net and the WHC FB group. These groups are very active and post a lot of pictures.

 

Thanks bellows and yikes! This is my first season in the PNW, every bit of beta helps!

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Does Skookum Falls come in? Is it in???

 

Yes. I climbed a route on it with Dave Burdick in 2008. In fact, that year it formed in a 1/4 mile wide largely-continuous sheet of ice.

 

There didn't appear to be a continuous ice line on it last Thursday when I drove home from Crystal.

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Is this up the valley towards the terminus of the Nisqually Glacier? The same valley with Mikey's Gully?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Peter leading Nisqually Belle WI5 - full 70m pitch.

nissbll2.jpg

nisbll.jpg

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Finally made it to Franklin Falls. There was an interesting line on the right side, which unfortunately didn't make it into the first photo. I was just hiking with friends, so I didn't bother bringing a rope. I'll probably come back Monday to do the whole pitch.

 

20160116_151522.jpg

 

IMG-20160116-WA0006.jpg

 

 

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MrGecko, here's a google map of Nisqually Belle.

 

From paradise snowshoe the trail, decent into the glacier via the least steep hill you can find and walk a top of the small ridge line, descending into the glacier.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mount+Rainier+National+Park,+Washington/46.8126021,-121.7466695/@46.767549,-121.7391077,4808a,20y,40.6t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!4m7!1m5!1m1!1s0x5490cde6eec94b87:0x5cf4a1fb4f91a418!2m2!1d-121.7269094!2d46.8799663!1m0

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Todd, I'm down for checking out Franklin Falls, this weekend 23-24, encase you didn't make it on Monday.

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Dre, if conditions improve slightly over the next week I would be interested in going back. The better avy forecast day next weekend might be reserved for some alpine fun; not sure about my partner situation though.

 

Made it back up to Franklin Falls today. The ice quality has deteriorated significantly since Saturday; it was holding its shape (i.e. not falling down) but very soft. I climbed the leftmost column in the photo below, which touched down just out of frame. Once I got to the cave under the deathcicles I realized I probably couldn't climb them without knocking down some/most/all of the ice, so I rapped back down. If the big hanging icicle on the upper left touches down and it gets a bit colder, it could be a pretty cool line. Maybe WI4? I set my anchor pretty far back from the edge, and had maybe 4m left of my 60m rope at the bottom, so I would guess it's 35 or 40m from the ground to the trees.

 

There are some other icy steps to the right of my rope line, which might be okay. They would be a lot more fun if the snow on top of the steps consolidated. The snow had the beginnings of crust on top, but was mostly pretty loose. This made for interesting slogging just to the right of the ice lines, which looked a lot more straightforward from the ground....

 

20160118_151117.jpg

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Thinking of heading to franklin falls on Friday and or Alpintal , first time there for me . What chances for ice and is avy danger there exceptional?

 

 

Thanks

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For judgements on avy danger in new (to me) areas, I use the forecast provided by the Northwest Avalanche Center combined with the "avalanche danger" description/rating in Martin & Krawarik's Washington Ice book.

 

For example, WA Ice lists the avalanche danger for Franklin Falls as "moderate on the far left side of the falls, minimal on the right side". Various Alpental areas are given "moderate" to "serious". Then, I'd check the NWAC forecast, which says avalanche danger will be "considerable" tomorrow (since there has been a lot of wet snow and rain recently). In light of these ratings, I wouldn't do a climb with a "serious" WA Ice avalanche danger rating, and I would watch out for potential slide areas, signs of recent avalanches, etc. even in areas of "moderate" avalanche danger. You have to make your own choices about which combinations of avy danger ratings you feel comfortable with.

 

Not sure if the ice will hold up until Friday, or what the current state of it is in the Alpental areas. NOAA thinks it will be warm (highs above freezing) and potentially rainy between now and Friday.

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