Cali Ice

Submitted by seth on Sun, 12/16/2007 - 14:43
Dan and I climbed California Ice on Sat. Dec. 15th. We found sticky wet conditions throughout the entire climb. The creek was frozen and there was little snow making the approach better.

Hi Seth, We are planning to climb California Ice for Christmas and it will be our first time in the canyon. We were wondering about the road conditions, whether a high clearance car is mandatory or a 4x4 subaru would make it. Also, if you have any suggestion to the location of a winter camp. Is it worth to set it at the base of the climb or rather close to the parking lot? Thanks, Rod.

the subaru should be fine it'll at least get you to the lake, the next 1/3 mile tends to drift but but you'll be close enough. my experiance with the approach was misserable i would camp by the car or hike to the creek before the uphill just so you dont have to carry the extra weight up with you. good luck.

There is a great campground at the lake as well with fire pits and picnic tables. It is set in one of the few thick groves of trees that did not burn and helps you get out of the wind which blows down the canyon quite hard at night. Anyone know the conditions of Sand Dune, Small Falls, ect. along the road? Mike

the road to the trailhead was essentially free of snow and the few drifts were broken through...a subaru was fine. As mentioned in the other messages the approach would suck with a full overnight pack, camp at the car and get up an extra hour or two earlier. FYI it took us just over 3 hours to the base of the climb. have fun!

There is a nice spot off climbers right at the base of the climb (under a curtain of ice daggers) where you could fashion a bivy. I think camping anywhere in the approach gully would be dangerous. I got buffaloed by the conditions my first time up there. like others I suffered through carrying an overnight pack part of the way in. (with less than my share of the weight) If you need snowshoes, its probably more than a days adventure. Be safe! Hopefully this current storms deposit will all slough off by Christmas - enjoy. The west Rosebud has some climbs that dont have such bad avy danger. PS. All the other climbs lower in the valley look FAT, I dont know exactly whats what, but I was rubbernecking the whole way.

Garrett Stevens, Brenon Savell and I climbed California Ice last week (12/22). The approach was in excellent shape with just about enough snow to cover most of the rocks (limiting my stumbling to only a few dozen face plants). Once in the main drainage, we cramponed up meandering ice for another 1000 feet to the base of the primary flow. The ice was super fat (although I?m told it was fatter last year). The main flow goes in two long WI4 pitches (2nd pitch is slightly steeper). It was fairly wet ? esp. after the leader put a few holes in the ice. We finished the climb with two WI3 pitches exiting to the right at the top of the steep ice (we actually climbed one additional pitch beyond the standard exit). We had hoped to continue on to the plateau but the weather was not cooperating and we watched while a full white-out developed above us. Snow in the exit gully was stable when we were up there. If there is instability, I would recommend descending the route via v-threads (or alternatively you could probably do more raps over the rocks climber's left of the exit gully). [img][/img] Easy ice on the approach [img][/img] [img][/img] Garrett leading the first pitch [img][/img] The upper WI3 pitch. The first exit is just above this pitch to the right - or keep climbing for another pitch and exit right.

Sweet pictures of CI, the third picture particularly gives you a good scale of how big those two pitches are. We seemed to use almost all of a 60m rope on both pitches. Nice job. Mike

Thanks Mike. There is considerable foreshortening in these pics. The dark spot above the climber in the 3rd pic is roughly the half way point. We also nearly maxed out the 60m ropes on both pitches. Great climbing though! Chris