California Ice

Submitted by Pudner on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 18:45

 Anybody been there recently?  I heard the avalanche report last weekend was for unstable conditions. Planning on heading there this coming weekend and would really appreciate any info at all about the road, approach, snow, ice, etc. Thanks!


Conditions are currently much "thinner" than depicted in the Winter Dance guide book.  Of course, there is still plenty of ice.  The approach gully has patchy bits of ice here and there but don't expect to be ice climbing until you get to the headwall.  You then get 4 full rope lengths of ice, followed by more gully slogging on rock and (in) snow.  We continued to the top, traversed north accross the plateau and down into the Spread Creek drainage.  We only recommend this option if you like postholing across a high plateau and descending steep snow-covered boulder fields (12 hours and a genuine mountaineering experience).  If you are going for the ice climbing, rappel down the last pitch of ice and use the walk off described in Winter Dance. 

Below are pictures of the headwall (2 first pitches), and looking out from the top of the headwall.