February 23, 2012. Local Ice and Rock. Vern Nelson humorously notes: "Ice is fat in Bozeman." Given the recent chinook, replete with rain and warm temps, Curt Haire says the Icicle and Tumwater are pretty much melted out. Climbers either need to get up high (above 4,000 feet) for alpine ice or crag down low on rock. Vantage continues to be the best bet for winter rock.
February 8, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Mark Shipman says that currently "the best ice near Leavenworth is The Funnel and the climbs on either side of it (all fat). The climb located in the gully immediately to climbers' left of 8-mile Buttress is in good shape. Drury is probably still good, but I don't know anybody who has been on it."
February 7, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire says, "Lows are in the teens and low twenties in Leavenworth these day. With a high pressure system parked here for the foreseeable future -- there's ice to be climbed!"
February 6, 2012. Vantage Rock. Charlie Hickenbottom reports, "Stellar conditions out at Frenchman today, with t-shirt weather from about 10:00 on. Eric Lindbloom reports that he's been out there for each of the last three days, with similar weather each day. These conditions are presumed to continue for the duration of this current high pressure weather cell over the north-central Washington region. The Ephrata long range weather report shows this system continuing for the next seven days."
February 6, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Mark Shipman reports, "A lot of the usual places like Rainbow are really not in. However, the Funnel (Hubba Hubba) and the climbs on either side of it are pretty fat. Also the little area climbers' left of 8-Mile Buttress is fat."
February 5, 2012 Colchuck Glacier and Dragontail South route.
Mike Rolfs reports, "The trail from the trailhead to Colchuck Lake is
well traveled and easy to follow. Skinning is easy up. Return ski down
the trail was as challenging as you would expect a steep switch backing
trail to be. On the return we used skins from the Stuart Lake/Colchuck
trail split. Skins down this part of the trail worked great for both
speed control and the uphill sections. Colchuck Lake is frozen. Crossing
the lake is so fast compared to walking around on the trail. Colchuck
Glacier is skiable all the way to the lake, but the surface is
intermittently icy and wind buffed with a few inches of very light snow
on top in places and the skiing is not carefree. The gully from Colchuck
Col to the summit plateau of Dragontail is filled in and is very
skiable. The surface was intermittent wind buffed powder with some
scoured sections where the surface had sloughed in previous warm days.
The best skiing of the trip was below the Colchuck Col on the Ingalls
Creek side. See photos.
February 4, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Kyle Flick says, "Even the south facing side of the Icicle is still in. We climbed a nice couple of moderate lines on the west side of the Middle 8 Mile Buttress."
February 4, 2012. Columbia Basin Ice. Paul Detrick says, "We climbed at Banks. Was still fat at the Punchbowl, Trotskis was great..
February 4, 2012. Vantage Rock. Tom Michael says, "The weather was absolutely SICK at George today...as in perfect! Surprisingly not crowded to boot."
January 30. 2012. Regional Ice. Curt Haire notes, "Forecast is dropping to high teens by Wednesday night, then moderating to twenties/thirties into the weekend. Could set things up nicely. Keep up the info flow."
January 30, 2012. Hubba Hubba. Mark Shipman says, "You are witnessing what some of us older guys have seen before in past years. The Funnel (AKA Hubba Hubba) is no place to be unless snow conditions are rock solid stable. The same is true for the gully going up to Drury. I've been in both gullies many times, but I stay way clear if conditions are the least bit questionable." Curt Haire also says, "So now ya know -- some years I've approached that climb over frozen avalanche debris at least twenty feet deep. We don't call it the Funnel fer nuthin!"
January 30. 2012. Icicle Canyon and Hubba Hubba. Dave Allyn reports, "Was hiking up the Icicle yesterday. While sitting at the Bridge Creek parking and looking longingly at Hubba Hubba, I heard a loud roar and an avalanche comes pouring over the climb. Heavy flow for 15-20 seconds and ran for a minute or so altogether. I'd been looking for a little while so I knew nobody was on the climb or quite a ways below. I couldn't see the bottom of the slide so I thought I'd walk up and make sure there was no one approaching the climb that might be in trouble. Walked up and didn't see any tracks so I went back down. Just after I crossed the bridge I heard another roar, looked up, another avalanche comes down over the climb. About the same size slide as the first. If you're out hiking or skiing this week, be careful."
January 30, 2012. Tumwater Canyon Ice. Stewart Matthiesen reports, "Hit up Drury Falls on Saturday. It was in pretty fat and will probably hang out for a bit. Quite a bit of snice over the good ice and the upper part of the approach was a wallow fest so we only got about halfway up the main flow (about level with the giant tree on the left side) before we bailed to make the river crossing back in the daylight. This rain might have a consolidating effect on the approach but watch the avy danger as there were several new but small sluffs from the rain on our way out."
January 26, 2012. Vantage Rock and Regional Ice. Charlie Hickenbottom reports, "Lots of climbing to do... Ice climbing is in, based on recent reports from Shipman and Haire. Dilley and I did some rock pitches midday today at The Feathers at Frenchman. The base of the south facing climbs have melted out and the rock is dry. Plan on hiking through some shallow snow to get to the routes."
January 23, 2012. Rainbow Falls. Night Ice. John Plotz reports. "Throwing common sense to the wind, climbing ice at night felt like a great idea. I did four laps on Rainbow Left. I had to hike around to the left, wallowing in knee to hip deep powder, awesome for skiing, not so much for post holing. It took 45 minutes for me to slog up to the anchors. There is now a nice path to the chains. If you decide to lead it, it's a thin curtain of ice for the last 10 feet or so."
January 13, 2012. Lake Stuart Ice. Kyle Flick reports, "I'm thinking of returning to Lake Stuart
for some more moderate alpine ice cragging tomorrow. It's a long day
though, and (I'm planning) to hit the trail by 4:00 am. I've forgotten,
and have persuaded Plotz to
forget, about the pleasant misery of skinning to and from
the lake because the ice is totally worth it.
January 10, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Stewart Matthieson reports, "Hubba Hubba/the Funnel was looking pretty poor today. Lots of water running under the crappy thin ice for the first 25 ft. We skipped it and opted for the gulley on the left which was pretty easy and actually took good screws to a fixed pin belay station. We had fun TRing more thin ice on the second pitch after hiking to it around the left again."
January 8, 2010. Stuart Lake Ice. Kyle Flick and I made the long trek up to Stuart Lake yesterday to check out the ice I've seen form there in years past, but never taken the time to go climb it. The ice is blue, solid and very fun. There were many pitches to be climbed, but unfortunately, after the 10 mile approach, we were only able to climb four pitches. The flows that we climbed were all two pitches in length. There is a lot more to climb up there for those willing to put in the miles. We approached with skis and skins, and as usually happens, we ended up "down skinning" back to the trailhead. For anyone who has not had the pleasure of experiencing 5 miles of toe-jamming down skinning, I highly do not recommend it. The Stuart Glacier Couloir looked climbable, if wallowing in steep bottomless powder snow is your thing, at least how it looked from our vantage point.
January 8. 2012. Lake Stuart and Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire reports, "Mixed Blessings appear to be "in". Only one of the three has been climbed... Possible in a long weekend for a fast party (not me, at the present time...) Someone ought to climb another of these over the MLK weekend...but (the approach is long). A much simpler approach, and the Blessings should be at their best in May or June... Recurve Dihedral was "in" thin this weekend, and no partner was available, but it should continue to improve if this week unfolds as forecast.
January 8, 2012. Das Funnel. Vern Nelson
reports, "Got out to das funnel today. Bottom pitch had thin ice. No
screws were placed on the first pitch just two cams. Second pitch just
ate up the 10cm screws."
January 6, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire reports. "Down to 27 degrees this morning, (whew!) -- Tumwater Canyon is basically stripped, Drury looks like white dreadlocks with a brown streak where something BIG slid over the top & down. The Recurve Dihedral looks surprisingly enticing - climbable line with options, and horizontal white stripes suggesting periodic escape opportunities, traversing to the left edge of the face which has trees to anchor rappels or belay downclimbing. It could get better or worse in the coming week -- doable now... Similar situation in the Icicle with two notable exceptions: the Funnel is still in, in a weird sort of way; upside-down this year with fat ice at the top, and thin at the bottom - and at Rainbow Gully, the wicked left-hand corner still holds a continuous thread of ice that looks like one could get up it with a delicate touch...
January 4, 2012. Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire reports, "Temps up here seem to be in a stable freeze-thaw cycle right now, which should grow ice this week. Climbed the Penstock again yesterday with Shipman and Flick - initial curtain/column is getting skinny, but still takes short screws. If we're lucky, it will grow this week. Tunnel is dry again, and there's now a fixed line at the crux of the outside traverse (for those who'd prefer to avoid the tunnel). Looks like we may have weathered this first major thaw - keep yer fingers crossed.ll trails groomed yesterday. Grooming of the trails is underway now.
January 4, 2012 . Frenchmen's Coulee/Vantage. Charlie Hickenbottom reports. "A sunny Thursday today at Frenchman. Even with a steady wind, the conditions were favorable for rock climbing. Marc Dilley and I did nine pitches at the Millennium Wall, a spot which provides a little relief from the prevailing winds. Two pitches are located in this area not in the current guidebook: Left of "Sisterly Love" Bolted 5.9; Left of "Play and Win" Bolted 5.8, both recommended. For me it was a "two sport day", with skate skiing in Leavenworth early morning providing the second sport."
January 3, 2012. Banks/Columbia Basin Ice. Randy Bracht reports, "I climbed at the Devil's Punchbowl today with a local kid, Danny Martell. There was some rock showing, but the ice on the right side was mostly fat and plastic. I set a V-thread with some webbing just to the left of the rock anchors that we used for a top rope backup and rappelling. Mini-sicles (not deathsicles yet) were just starting to reform. Trotsky's Folly is pretty much gone, but the lower two-thirds of Trotsky's Revenge still looked decent. The Cable and H2O2 were looking kinda thin. The lower half of that corner route (just to the right of that route you led last Friday with Craig Pope) still looked okay, too."
December 31, 2011. Banks Lake area. Vern Nelson reports, "Went out to Banks today. The Cable is climbable. H2o2 made noise but went. The Punch Bowl is in fat and no deathcicles. Troskeys is climbable for sure!
December 31. Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire reports, "Checked the canyons today - some steep columns have fallen, but low-volume-low-angle flows are surviving surprisingly well. The flows around the Penstock Tunnel in the Tumwater still look perfectly climbable. Took a good long look at the Recurve Dihedral, too, because the recent cycle of "white rain" is the kind of weather that plasters it in. Sure enough, it's filling up nicely, and should fatten through the coming week with the melt-freeze cycle that's forecast."
December 29, 2011. Banks Lake and Leavenworth Ice Climbing. Curt Haire reports, "Too darn warm!!Drove out to Banks Lake with Vern yesterday, and all was either gone or going! Football-sized chunks raining around us convinced us not to press the issue - we never unpacked. Back in Der Town, there is still slurpee in both canyons (Tumwater and Icicle), probably even climbable, although it will be much better when temps drop about 20'. This melt could even be a positive if the temp drops before things dry out much -- I'll be closely watching the Recurve Dihedral for the next week or so --- I'll need a partner if it sets up like it could.
December 26. Leavenworth Ice. John Plotz reports, "Only in WA, where the ice is as fragile and fleeting, (do we need) a nearly daily update. Here today, most likely gone tomorrow, if not sooner! Well, for now, it's fairly decent. Kyle Flick, Eric Lindblom and I climbed Candelstein Left this morning. It's in decent shape, but it was warm today, so it may be on its way to the irrigation canal by now. Kyle and I then continued chasing windmills by hiking up to The Funnel. We climbed the left flow, which was in pretty good condition. Take no screw longer than 16cm though. Stubbies rule on this route. First pitch was about 40 meters of WI2. The second pitch was more engaging WI3 for a full 60 meters. At the top, head left and rap off a tree down climber's left. 3 single-rope raps get you back to the base. Get it while you can."
December 26. Leavenworth Ice. To the comment above from Plotz, Curt Haire responded. "Had another note from someone who climbed Candlestein Right today, too. His photo (no climber, just the ice) looked too scary to be a lead-climb for me, and he didn't say whether they led or toproped. It just didn't look tight enough to be readily protectable."
December 22, 2011. Banks Lake. Vern Nelson reports, " Went out to Banks today. Tried the Cable with the gri gri and ran up Trotsky's Folly. Was a fun day and more routes to climb. The Cable is in climbable shape and was led by a party yesterday. But beyond my leading ability. It felt like 5+ to me, but I'm outta shape and not that good in general. The Punch Bowl is living up to its name, lots of deathcicles above, to sketchy for me to climb. I would recommend the drive for people tomorrow. It was a fun day out and the season is in at Banks!"
December 22, 2011. Icicle Ice. Stewart Matthiesen reports, "Matt Hall and I climbed a couple pitches (separated by a short scramble) to the left of Icicle Buttress (probably what Curt climbed). The first one was pretty easy with good ice at the top for anchors and just under 30 meters so would make a good intro climb for beginners, second step was shorter but a little steeper and still fun. Then we headed over to check out Comic Book Hero and Plastic Fantastic. In the few minutes between checking it out from the road and us hiking in someone beat us to PF so we hiked back a bit and up the hill to the base of CBH which looked climbable except for the first curtain/pillar which was pretty wet and a bit thin for our tastes. Maybe this cold clear weather will help. We trudged back to the car and back to the Icicle and hiked up towards Warrior Wall and traversed right several hundred yards to reach a smear we had seen from the road. It was smaller than it looked but a fun easy solo in a sort of corner (~15 meters to a rap off a small tree). We then retraced our steps to near Warrior Wall and ran some laps on that formation (took good screws on the right and had some fun ~2" verglass on the left). Best ice of the day (20-25m to a big tree with slings).
December 21, 2011. Vantage/Frenchman's. Tom Michael reports, "The heck with ice climbing...Plotz and I rock climbed at George today, and it was AWESOME!
December 21, 2011. Banks Lake. Vern Nelson reports, "Went out to Banks today and saw a party top roping the Cable and another party was waiting to get on it. It's thin but in."
December 21, 2011. Tumwater and Icicle Canyon Ice Report. Curt Hare reports: "The low snow cover and inversion have created conditions in Tumwater Canyon that I have not seen in my thirty+years here -- there are smears of thick, climbable verglas EVERYWHERE, and about a dozen gullies which in a normal year would be buried in avalanche debris but are currently coated with ice that looks thick enough to take screws. One flow on the south side of the river looks to be four pitches or so long, and one roadside flow looks like you could step onto the first pitch from the pavement! There is no record I know of to suggest that any of these have been climbed, and we may not see the canyon in this condition again within our lifetimes. Come and get it!" Beta on some of the traditional routes
- Saw a party on the Funnel 12/16.
- Mark Shipman and I climbed two lines in Rainbow on 12/20 - could be gone by now with temps as they've been.
- Also on12/20 - climbed unfamiliar flow in tight gully 200 yards upstream of Icicle Buttrest - two high-quality pitches WI3 - a five minute approach for as much climbing as the Funnel! Apparently it's not totally unknown - we followed tracks. Llighter flow than Rainbow, and better protected from sun, so formed fatter in these marginal temps. Worth the trip. Online research at cc.com & washington ice site turned up no beta - anyone know it? It needs a name if it hasn't already got one.
- Saw trip report on cc.com from party claiming to have climbed Comic Book Hero -- still looks incomplete to me, wonder if they misidentified some other climb, as other lower angle lines near CBH look climbable. Note: Kyle Flick and John Plotz weighed in on this and agree this was not CBH, which, as of today is still incomplete.
- Drury is all but gone.
December 19, 2011. Icicle Ice. Mark Shipman reports, "Curt Haire and I had a great day up the Icicle today. The easy climb immediately to climber's left of Icicle Buttress offers two short pitches, and we did two different pitches at Rainbow as well."
December 12, 2011. Regional Ice. Curt Haire reports on regional ice. "Nothing in the scablands yet-- Randy Bracht and his crew in Ephrata are monitoring. Funnel looks sufficiently in to carefully climb, but would not tolerate much traffic. Rainbow is growing rapidly, & Candlestein Left looks climbable, with the Right coming in rapidly. Millenium wall is probably worth a look, judging from what is happening in the Icicle. Minimal snow indicates alpine stuff might be still accessible. 14 degrees in Leavenworth this morning, so formation should be accelerating. I'll have two complete weeks off starting Saturday - so hope conditions stay cold."
December 11, 2011. Drury Falls Ice. John Plotz reports."Chris Martin, Kyle Flick and I slogged and suffered up to the base of Drury Falls today. There's about 8 inches of rotten sugar snow over rocks and slabs, so it was slow going. Chris provided the plush canoe for the river crossing, which was cake! We did find ice, though not much. And we couldn't get past the first pitch of Drury Falls ... the middle and upper falls were decimated by the recent inversion.
November 29, 2011. Vantage Rock. Charlie Hickenbottom reports, "Frenchman was very good this afternoon, with some T-shirt weather for a bit during the afternoon. Five of us took turns leading routes in the area of Corn Wall. Some of the same folks will be meeting on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the East Wenatchee Park n Ride for another day at Frenchman. Perhaps there are others who'd like to join."
November 28, 2011. Leavenworth Ice. Curt Haire reports. "In Tumwater Canyon, Drury Falls has enough ice formed to either barely climb, or fall on ya and squish ya when ya try. Recurve Dihedral shows dribbles of ice suggesting an appalling new-age mixed climb, and still awaits its first ascent as an ice-line. The Smear has some blobs of slushy snow on it, and everything else is dry. In the Icicle Canyon, the Funnel has sufficient verglas showing to accept picks and points, but not ice-screws. No other ice showing yet. I'm still committed to exploring the imbecility of dry-tooling, and am actively recruiting more imbeciles to join the party - grab your oldest most worn-out picks and git me outside!"
++++ Last Season's Reports ++++
January 18, 2011. General Ice. Mark Shipman reports, "Pretty much all the ice at low elevations in eastern Washington is gone. We'll keep ya' posted as winter comes back!"
January 12, 2011. Leavenworth Ice. Kyle Flick reports, " Since the weather was still good and cold, we (Plotz, Lindblom and I) went out ice climbing after work last night. I highly recommend that we consider mid- week evening ice climbing in the future. With our headlamps it's just like night skiing: Good viz and better ice in the cold temps. We got in a couple laps on the first pitch of Candlestein Left, and came away from the experience that it wasn't such a crazy thing to do, but rather sensible especially considering the warm weather anticipated. Right in our backyard.
January 10, 2011. General Ice Report from Mark Shipman.Curt Haire and I took a look up the Icicle and Tumwater today. The ice is steadily getting better! All the classics are in' There are a number of lines to do at Rainbow, and the Candelsteins (aka Carino L & R) are in. The Funnel (aka Hubba Hubba) is in fine shape. The lines on Icicle Buttress are just now becoming climbable. The ice at Pearly Gates is not really there yet. Millenium Wall is fat. Comic Book Hero is in. Drury and the Pencil are about as good as they get. The Drip has just touched down... This could get to be an epic ice year!"
January 4, 2011. General Ice Report from Mark Shipman. "Curt Haire, Bill Wicheta and I enjoyed a pleasant morning of ice climbing at Rainbow Gully yesterday. Ice conditions up the Icicle continue to improve. The Funnel (aka Hubba Hubba) is in and both Candelsteins are in. We presume that Millenium Wall is fat, but did not have time to check it out yesterday. Up the Tumwater: The Smear is climbable, and the Drip has just touched down. We didn't get a look at Drury, but the Pencil is in. Although the forecast is for warming, anything that is not overhanging should stay around for a while."
December 21, 2010. General Ice Report. Curt Haire reports "Stick with skiing until it gets cold again. The snow is great, but ice is absent pretty much everywhere..."
December 11, 2010. Banks Lake Area. John Plotz reports, "A conditions report for Banks Lake, 12-11. Kyle Flick and I went hunting for that elusive, frozen entity that's as precious as any resource in Washington State: Climbable Ice. We found, luckily enough, some worthy steps. WA ice climbers are beggars in the extreme sense. Kyle waxed how in good ice years, Banks Lake ice has been known to offer multiple choices of solid water ice. Not today. We did manage a couple pitches on Punchbowl Falls, and Phase Transitions. We saw the encroaching Chinook storm that had us starting out in dry conditions, transitioning to light snow, then heavy snow, then rain. Today, the drive home was the crux, with the Quincy grade virtually shut down due to spinning big rigs and cars unequipped to make the grade.
December 5, 2010. Regional Ice Climbing Report by Curt Haire. Editor's Note: Apologies to purists but this report has been cleaned up just a tad because we are a family website.
Ice is growin' in both canyons, ladies & gentlemen, just pray it stays cold! Today's observations on some of the classics: In Tumwater Canyon - starting upstream & working down:
Recurve Dihedral - still begging for a first-ascent as an ice climb, it looks to be shaping up, though still pretty thin. Another week of melt-freeze will help a lot. (ok, yer right, hardly a classic if it hasn't been done yet... but it got yer attention, didn’t it?)
Drury Falls- WI-4 - looks in from the road - fair amount of rock showing through sicles on lower portion - certainly would go, but warrants extra caution.
The Pencil -WI-6 - actually looks "in" (pretty rare), and the first pitch looks fatter than the second! (Not the usual configuration).
The Drip - WI-5/6 -might go as a new-age extreme mixed climb, but really only about half-formed (the top half, as usual).
Comic Book Hero (I know, this might be Plastic Fantastic Lover, and from the guidebook, I'm dipped if I can tell which should be which) WI-4/5 - looks climbable, but most would probably wait for it to fill in and tighten up. Pretty chandeliered.
The Smear - WI-3 - awfully bony looking, but would probably go - access is an issue for the past couple of seasons - landowners don't want ice climbers on their road - might be best to paddle across from the Osprey launch site.
In Icicle Canyon (from upstream down):
Larson's Dribble (ok, I'm not sure it has a name, and Rolf says he hasn't climbed it, which in itself is hard to believe, but we all thought he'd climbed it, hence the "working name" - you know, that one upstream from the end of the plowed road at Eightmile, right side) - WI2-4 - no information yet...
The Funnel - WI3 (aka Hubba Hubba Hill) - is in, but you probably knew that, as it's typically first-in-last-out. Get it before it snows again, or wait a few days after the storm. The name is a "red flag". Ettinger and I once approached it over 15-foot deep piles of avalanche debris...
Icicle Butt-rest: Of the numerous lines on this formation, the Central Gully (aka "chicken gully") - WI3 - is the best developed at this time, and it looks pretty bony, but would certainly go as a mixed climb. Lines to the right (downstream) are getting there, but would be awful hard on points and picks yet, and the curtains to the left (upstream) are really only getting started - pray it stays cold.
Snow Creek Wall - no information yet.
Millenium Wall - WI3-4 - reportedly in shape.
Ben Dover - WI2-3 - couldn't identify it, so probably not in.
Rainbow Gully - WI3-4 - most lines are climbable, but still thin enough that they won't stand much traffic -- pray it stays cold.
Candlestein Columns (ok - I may take some grief for this, since Washington Ice identifies these flows as "Careno Right & Left", but those who remember the FIRST climber's guide to the Icicle Canyon, by Fred Beckey, recall that the section of cliff on which these flows form was called, in Beckey's guide, Candlestein Cliff. It's far enough upstream of Careno Crag to warrant its own name, and using this name helps distinguish these classic climbs from flows that do freeze right at the base of Careno Crag) - WI4-5 - both are formed sufficiently to climb, but Candlestein Right will not stand much traffic unless it grows considerably...
Unnamed, but not unclimbed, flows between Candlestein Cliff and Careno Crag - looking extremely bony, but would probably yield some classic-style mixed climbing...
Entrance Exam - WI4-mixed - not observed
November 28, 2010. Rainbow Falls, Hubba Hubba. John Plotz reports, "Stewart (Hoover) and I got out today, and actually climbed some decent ice. We started out on Rainbow Falls, climbing approximtely six pitches there. The falls have a southern aspect, and once the sun made its appearance, Stewart and I beat a hasty retreat. The ice still needs some beefing up. Some of the "sticks" buried deep into soft ice. Other spots were just a thin veneer of soft ice over granite slab, taking neither ice screws nor ice picks. Give Rainbow Falls another week or so of melt/freeze, and it will be awesome! The quick learners that we are, Stewart and I headed to a northerly aspect: Hubba Hubba. The ice here is thicker, and thankfully took excellent screws. We only climbed the first pitch to the fixed anchor then rapped. The second pitch was looking very thin and unsavory. In due time....
December 31, 2010 . Columbia Basin Report. Dave Allyn reports: "I took a drive up to Banks Lake today with a few side trips. Due to ground level clouds and some snow there was poor vis for scouting but I was able to see stuff if it wasn't too far away. I saw four lines in the Palisades two of which were above "feel free to hunt" signs, so access shouldn't be an issue. One was quite short and neither was worth a special trip. Up the Jameson Lake Road I found two very nice looking climbs. At mile 2.7 is a long pitch with a second maybe pitch above. At mile 4 is a fat two-pitch climb. Both climbs looked quite hard.
Driving along Banks the first ice was just as you start down from million dollar mile (the cable, maybe?) which wasn't down but the next climb at mi. 8.1 and close enough to belay from the car was in with 2 variations for the 2nd pitch. Above that were 4 to 6 one-pitch climbs at mile 9.1, several at mile 14, a 2 or 3 pitch climb at mile 14.5 with an 80-foot deathcicle above it, several one-pitch climbs at the State Park entrance. All of these climbs appeared to be very difficult -- my guess is most are wanting a solid WI 5 climber. Devil's Punchbowl and Trotsky's were FAT, and the deathcicles were considerably better than when I saw them several weeks ago. Fog was way bad at Osborn Bay but I saw a line at the horseman and there was a short climb in near the end of the road.
Between Coulee City and Soap Lake options were pretty sparse. Cowgirls isn't close, but there's a line above the south end of Blue Lake that looks like it'll be 3 pitches before too long. The fog was too heavy by Lenore and Soap Lakes to see across the lakes but there were some promising starts several weeks ago, so who knows.
Bottom line: The hardmen and ladies among us can find a lot to do; the WI3 to WI4 climbers pretty much have to settle for the Punchbowl."
December 28, 2010 . General Ice Report. Mark Shipman reports, The Funnel (Hubba Hubba) is fat. The Drip fell down. Comicbook Hero is not in yet. Drury Falls looks pretty
good. The Smear is fat but there are access problems. Goatee up Snow Creek and the climbs up Ingalls Creek are good choices for easy climbs. There's a climb on Icicle Ridge just across the valley from the Funnel which is fatter than ever. There's a climb on Round
Mountain just West of the Nason Creek Rest Area that is fatter than usual. I haven't been out to the Columbia Basin yet.
December 22, 2010. Tumwater Canyon. Mark Shipman reports, "I've never seen the little waterfall on Round Mountain as fat as it is now! (...just drove by it today.) I''ve got to run up and do it. When I've climbed it before, it has been half that size! Today might have been an OK day for Drury. It looks really good. The Drip fell down sometime in the last few days.
December 16, 2010. The cold weather has kept local ice climbers happy. Curt Haire sent us this ice condition report:
At this point, most of the "standards" in the Leavenworth vicinity are in. I've had two very encouraging days at Rainbow Gully, and now have sufficient confidence in my rebuilt ankle to venture further afield. The Funnel has had several ascents, the Candlesteins (two obvious columns between Rainbow Gully and Careno Crag - the name is taken from the OLD Beckey guidebook) are formed, and even the Drip is down in Tumwater Canyon, although the only attempts on it to date (that I know of) have been unsuccessful. There have been a couple of unsuccessful attempts on Drury Falls as well, but that will see less traffic, now, with the heavy new snow. Fall Creek is a most impressive avalanche trap... The lines on the south side of the Tumwater, opposite Castle Rock, are not ready yet, as they form from melt/freeze, and hadn't enough moisture before the BIG CHILL. The real story, locally, is Craig Gyselink, who's been on an absolute TEAR, putting up three undocumented routes (I like that terminology better than 'new' route, given the area's history) within the past two weeks: one up Snow Creek, and two up Ingalls Creek, all 700' or longer! Maybe the present avalanche hazard will slow him down enough so we can at least keep track of him...
So far, weather is encouraging - with highs in the mid-20s. Even with highs in the 30s lines will grow. We'll get wiped out when lows creep up near 30. Here's hoping that doesn't happen! Of course, for the time being, avalanche hazard appears extreme pretty much everywhere, so choose yer climb carefully, even next to the road...
Mark Shipman also commented on December 16
I pretty much second what Curt has said. I would say currently though (as of this afternoon Dec 16) that the snow pack in the Tumwater doesn't amount to much, and if there isn't a lot of snow in the next few days, the avalanche hazard on the trek to Drury Falls might not be as severe as that further to the west. Climbs that Gyselink has done include the Snow Cr. trail across from the gully which heads up to Toketie. The other two are an hour up the hillside from the 4 mi mark up Ingalls Cr. and about 20 min up the hillside at the 5 or 5.5 mi mark up Ingals Cr. These are sort of on the SW side of McClellan. It is starting out as a great ice season so far! I don't think much is in yet out in the Columbia Basin.