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Archive for the ‘Ice Climbing’ Category

Sigg H20 bottles at the SMC store!!

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Check out the new bottles!  Click on the photo for a link to the SMC Store.

Check out the new bottles! Click on the photo for a link to the SMC Store.


Written by Chris

May 14, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Ice Climbing 4.4.09

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Eric just finished up an ice climbing trip in Lee Vining Canyon. The ice is actually still in great shape despite pendulum swings in temperature. The sun is high, the ice is plastic, the climbing pretty pleasant in the sun but the trail is a melting out creating some big holes so you need to take care to avoid falling into them.

Get it while you can.

Written by SP Parker

April 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Ice Climbing

20090218-19 Lee Vining Ice Climbing

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After climbing the Dana Couloir in late summer conditions, John H. was keen to try out water ice climbing.  After a couple of false starts due to warm temperatures in December, we finally were able to make schedules and the weather meet to climb in Lee Vining Canyon.  We met at John’s hotel in the village of Lee Vining at 7:00am on the 18th.

At the Power Station the trail looked to be in good shape, but almost immediately after the second creek crossing our progress was halted – blown snow had filled in the trail and wiped out any sign of it.  Tricked by conditions below, I hadn’t brought snowshoes – doh!!  So I ran back down and ran back up to where John waited for me.  The snowshoes helped, but it was still a repeat of last week.  Thankfully, all the new snow and wind compaction allowed us to set a more direct and friendlier track then last week.  Still, we didn’t start climbing until almost 11:30am.

getting ready / Lee Vining Canyon / photo John H.

Just as we reached the base of Chouinard Falls, Eric catches up, with John and Nick behind him.  John and Nick had attempted to climb Mt Emerson with me last fall, but we were stumped by the first storm of winter.  They had come back to make a winter ascent of Mt Whitney, but the same storm that had filled in the trail in Lee Vining Canyon had loaded the the slopes and cliffs in Whitney Portal as well. They had to turn around at the Eberbacher Ledges, and chose to spend the two days left ice climbing.

eric, nick, and john getting ready to climb “classic tree” / WI3 / a redirected variation of the tree route / photo john h.

John’s read all the books, understands all the theories, and has climbed AI3, so this trip was to focus on movement, not concepts.  So I quickly ran up Piolet, WI3, so that John could warm up, use the same rope to TR Aqua Seal, WI3+, and try out my personal leashed tools – an old generation of BD Cobras with Android leashes – compared against the new leashless pair of BD Vipers that I was leading with.  After just a few laps it was already 4:30, so we wrapped up the day.

The next day we were surprised to see that the wind had completely blown and filled yesterday’s trail again, forcing us to spend time kicking it in all over again.  We were able to get started a little sooner then yesterday, and I set up the anchor at the top of Colonel Clink, WI 3+, which allowed us to do laps on Conrad’s Corner, WI 4-, and Waterlogged, WI 3.  John was also able to jump on Eric’s TR of “Classic Tree,” WI 3, which is what I call the bottom half of Classic Curve using a redirected anchor from the Tree Route.

To cap off the weekend I tied a second rope to the first to climb “Scrappy’s Corner,” WI4- M6.  This is a link up of the lower-half (and crux) of Scrappy’s Child, WI3 M6, and the top half (and crux) Conrad’s Corner, WI4-.  John did a great job climbing his first mixed route without being told the grade.  He got to see the con to leashless tools when my feet popped off the WI4- crux, leaving me six feet below my tools.  Ooops – I had to be lowered down, grab a second set of tools, and run up to fetch the leashless jobs and finish cleaning the anchor.

looking up scrappy’s child / M6 / red line: bottom half (crux) / yellow line:  top half / red circle: lost tools – oops! / scrappy’s corner” is a 40m+ line gaining the anchor at the top of conrad’s corner / photo john h.

We finished off with soda and a bite at the Mono Market, talking about all the things we could climb this spring and summer.  A great trip.

Written by Chris

March 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Posted in Ice Climbing

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Ice Climbing in June Lake

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After living, breathing, and thinking skiing for the last two months, I jumped at Connie’s call.  She was wondering if I was interested in coming down for the weekend and take Megan, Lohit, and Kartnik ice climbing in June Lake.  Of course I was!  But just in case, I packed my skis.

We spent two days at Horsetail Falls climbing the three different lines on the right side of the flow.  Everyone had prior experience belaying from climbing in the gym or outside, so we were able to focus on the specifics of climbing ice, including efficient tool use and crampon technique.  On Sunday I introduced mixed climbing as well, and we were able to climb a thin line that occassionally forms on the far right side of the falls.  Connie came out on Saturday to see what this show is all about, and swears she’s coming back with her husband.

Sunday evening we toasted the weekend with coffee and hot chocolate:  I had to get back to Lake Tahoe, and Kartnik and Lohit had to drive all the way back to the bay.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again later this year.




sunrise / wheres the snow? / mono lake

sunrise / where's the snow? / mono lake / photo 2009 chris simmons

kartnik / horsetail falls / june lake / photo 2009 chris simmons

kartnik / horsetail falls / june lake / photo 2009 chris simmons

my favorite photo / megan getting psyched / horsetail falls / photo 2009 chris simmons

my favorite photo / megan getting psyched / horsetail falls / photo 2009 chris simmons

driving home / moon rise / mono lake / photo 2009 chris simmons

driving home / moon rise / mono lake / photo 2009 chris simmons

Chris Simmons is an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide and an alpine, rock, and ski guide for SMC.  More about Chris and his adventures can be found at his personal blog, Climb.Ski.Run.Sleep.Repeat,

Written by Chris

January 13, 2009 at 3:02 am

Posted in Ice Climbing

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