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Conditions update, 02/24/2008
Probably the last conditions update for the year, for me. The warm and sunny weather has not abated and as such not only has finding good ice become more difficult, but thoughts rightfully should be turning to Spring-time cragging!
SW British Columbia: As of the weekend of the 16-17, things are still in, lots of ice! Rambles is good, Night'n'gale, Shriek of the Sheep, anything high and north-facing will be ok.
Banks Lake: No report.
Strobach: As of the weekend of the 16-17, which is when I was last there, many climbs were still very climbable. My partner and I spent Friday Feb 15 exploring the Dome Peak climbs area and doing 2 moderate single-pitch FAs. Some climbs at Motherlode and some climbs at Dome were still in very good shape at that time.
Leavenworth: Hubba Hubba was still reported as being in this week. Its very climbable as long as the avalanche conditions are acceptable. This is also about the time of year last season when Mountaineers Creek climbs got fat. I have not heard about them in recent weeks though. Might be worth talking to some of the parties that have gone into Colchuck Lake lately as to what they saw on the way up.
Mt Baker: Death Picnic was reported in this week.
Conditions update, 02/11/2008
Man, it's pretty warm. Well, no one is coming out and saying it yet, but everyone is thinking it
"Is the season over??".
We're getting to the tail end of this Pineapple Express now, and for the last couple days or so we've seen some rediculous daytime high temperatures in the Columbia Basin. Not only that, but Lytton and Lillooet, too. Here are some points to ponder
* All of Washington is affected -- a bit unusual in itself -- but not just Washington: Interior BC is getting this too.
* The large amount of snow in the last week (4 to 6 feet of new at the passes) coupled with a very dramatic warm-up on Friday has created a round of 25-year climax avalanches.
* It's been near 55 degrees F in Ellensburg and Yakima during the day the last few days. That's warmer than it's been in Seattle (cloud cover)! Just a week ago it was below zero, Fahrenheit!
* It's been +6 to +8 in Lillooet doing the day the last few days. Usually that means its above freezing at Rambles and even Marble. Lillooet had a few warm days like this over New Years, but the cold came back.
* I heard a bunch of birdies cheeping outside my window this morning, for the first time. Spring is here!!
The season isn't done yet, though. Even with these conditions it take a while for everything to go South.
SW British Columbia: Things are still in, lots of ice! Rambles good, Carl's Berg still up, Marble good with Dale's pillar still touching down, Oregon Jack still there but a bit sketch.
Banks Lake: Paul Detrick let us all know that it was already starting to look a bit sickly on Friday. He still got some climbing in on the weekend, though. Punchbowl is still there, so is Zenith.
Strobach: Fat. Enough said, get in there! *new* Current pictures from recent trips! *new*
Conditions update, 02/03/2008
The cold snap is over, but an arctic front never shortens a season! It's Superbowl Sunday, and the Giants are up 10-7 in the 4th, as I work on this update. Now, if you stayed home to watch the game today, you missed out on yet another Snoqualmie Pass closure, and also some very decent ice climbing out in the desert. Hope you were able to get out and have some fun!
With temperatures returning to seasonal or warmer levels across the state the last several days, we can expect the same cat-and-mouse game to resume now. This is the one where you watch the weather and hope that it doesn't get significantly warmer (or sunnier) anytime soon, and where no extended cold is forecast to let you relax, either. For the next week we are not going to lose on anything, as the forecast is "snow level 1000 feet for the entire week"; we'll just get more snow in the mountains. It will be a little above freezing during the day out in the desert, and a little below at night. But this IS the first week of February. Historically our season has seldom lasted into March in the lowlands and the desert, so these coming weeks will be the last chances you have at local ice unless something really different happens with out weather.
Lillooet is another story though. There is climbing in well into March in a decent year, so even if things start to bail out here, there is ice to climb in Canada!
SW British Columbia: Things are in, lots of ice.
Leavenworth and environs: Too much snow! Hubba Hubba has been climbed but remember it's very suceptible to slides from above, so be very careful on this climb in particular. Drury fat, snowy, but again I have not heard of anyone actually climbing it this week. The large amount of snow is good for one thing: if it stays cold enough, there's enough water for Mountaineers Creek to form up like it did last year!
Umptanum: Recent action!
Vantage: Fugs in fine shape and getting a deserved amount of traffic. Fugs can really be the perfect moderate, if you haven't yet done it. Video clip! Frenchman's has been climbed during the recent cold snap, too, but its a much higher flow than Fugs and it typically doesnt form nearly as well.
Moses Coulee: Robert Rogoz sent me some interesting looking pictures of three climbs he saw out at Moses Coulee. Two of the three looked perhaps doable, but all of them are steep, serious affairs.
Banks Lake: Things have gotten even better then last weekend, when they were pretty good. I tried Zenith last weekend, and climbed Salt and Pepper with partner, while friends climbed Trotsky's Folly and followed us on Salt and Pepper. Don't let the rock start dissuade you, it's a classic climb with a whole lot of everything! Devils Punchbowl, Trotsky's, Zenith, Cable all getting traffic. Tea N The Sahara saw a rare ascent, props!
Blue and Park Lakes:Children of the Sun, Champagne in.
Strobach: With the unbelievable amount of snow we got in the recent week, closing down I-90 for a couple days, my friends and I bailed on our plans to go hit Strobach this weekend: travel to Strobach from Seattle for a day trip is long but ok during dry conditions, but kind of sucks when it's like it is on the roads these days. Click here for recent pics of the area.
Denny Creek/Alpental: Franklin Falls in and getting a bit of traffic. North Face of Chair Peak climbed recently, and looking pretty good.
Mazama: The Standard and some other routes are in. Here is a (belated, sorry) pic of Goat's Beard from 12/28/2007.
Conditions update, 01/24/2008
Most of the way through January, and we can legitimately say that this season hasn't been nearly as good as last year, and likely won't get much better. There is good news, though. This week brings Arctic cold to the entire state, with temperatures around -3 C overnight in the Seattle metro area, and temps a balmy -17 C in Ellensburg and colder in Spokane. This cold is much-needed, but wont last (to this degree) past Thursday. Still, it should help things especially in Leavenworth and the desert form a little more.
SW British Columbia: Things are in, lots of ice.
Leavenworth and environs: A lot of snow but not enough cold until this week kept things pretty lean in the Icicle and Tumwater. Hubba Hubba is in and has been climbed this week. I have not heard of anyone actually climbing Drury. After this week of cold you can expect more things to be in, but I am not sure what. Might be worth a drive, but I would head East.
Umptanum: After this cold snap? In.
Vantage: Fugs was climbed several times in the past few days and is in and a bit wet.
Eastern Desert/Banks Lake: Devils Punchbowl, Trotsky's, Zenith, Cable, Salt and Pepper all in climbable shape. Champagne reported looking pretty good.
Strobach: Jeff Street did another ski recon of Strobach and all the ice he reported in last time is still there. Click here for more current pics of the area.
Denny Creek/Alpental: Two differnent parties took their gear for a walk up Denny Creek and Alpental valley respectively in the past week. With the deep snow and up-until-recently warm temps, not much to report.
Mazama: The Standard and some other routes are in.
Conditions update, 01/14/2008
Happy New Year! Ice in the lowlands continues to be a tough prospect, but there is climbable ice now in Washington. Jeff S, Craig G, Bartek, and others sent me updates, and thanks to the various posts on cc.com we have a pretty complete picture as to whats going on.
SW British Columbia: I've spent some weekends up North. Weekend of January 5th was pretty warm, and some climbs have been suffering because of it. Not many people up there this year. We climbed at Rambles and Marble again that weekend. Log crossing to Synchro is gone, and Dina's is closed in town. See westcoastice.com and cc.com for latest conditions up there.
Mt Baker: Some climbers out for a ski tour around Table noticed some ice on Table Mountain.
Leavenworth and environs: This picture of a snowed-up Drury from cc.com in the past few days. Looks in to me! Beware av hazard in that drainage with so much new snow! White Pine Drool near Stevens also climbed the last few days.
Umptanum: In enough.
Vantage: Fugs was climbed last week at least once.
Eastern Desert/Banks Lake: Banks has some ice and Devil's Punchbowl and Trotsky's have both been busy. While there is ice on some of the larger routes, not enough to call safe.
Strobach: Jeff Street and John Angulo skiied in this past weekend, and got the second ascent of Tower of Power, and the first ascent of Right Stuff. Click here for more current pics of the area.
Palisades: A couple of folks have recently climbed here. Please don't, the area is off limits to climbing!
Mazama: My friend Rafael returned from a mist-shrouded scouting trip to Mazama and reported Goat's Beard (this pic from last season) had two sections that were not continuous ice.
Conditions update, 12/31/2007
Sorry for the late update. Jeff S, Marcus D, Craig G, and others sent me updates the last couple weeks. Marcus and Craig especially have been working hard on getting into Strobach! Gleened the rest of the info from cc.com and other sources, thanks!
SW British Columbia: Lillooet is in good shape. My partner and I climbed at Rambles and Marble weekend of Dec 22 and it was all good. Only a few others out and about both days. Synchro is also in. See westcoastice.com for latest conditions up there.
Leavenworth and environs: Jeff Street went into Hidden Lake and climbed several routes there in the past couple weeks, including This Too Shall Pass, and an unnamed new route between it and Time Quake. Hidden Lake routes require some real approaching but seem to be pretty consistent. At least the first pitch of Hubba Hubba was climbed in the last week. Mountaineers creek area is dry. This is not surprising, as this area is snowmelt fed so it needs snow and time. Two routes on Dog Dome are "in" in mixed shape, with a freshly broken snowshoe trail.
Vantage: Some folks have been putting in the miles trying to ferret out climbable stuff in the desert in the last two weeks. A week ago Vantage routes were unformed and/or dry. This week Vantage is finally shaping up, with Fugs in semi-climbable shape. Get there early and soon, as its looking warmer in the coming days. You can easily walk around Fugs climbers right, if you want to TR some or all of it. No ice on Running Gear Death Wall, and Frenchmen's is in typical shape: forming but not formed.
Eastern Desert/Banks Lake: Umpantum sounds like it offers some ice bouldering for Ellensburg climbers. Also, it sounds like Falling Falls was climbed. This climb is OFF LIMITS unless you have explicit permission from the landowner. No word on Champagne or Children of the Sun, et al.
Strobach: Marcus and Craig have already been in several times this year. Current conditions are that snow is deep, but Sudden Change, Sad Ce'bu, and First on the Left are in and climbable, with other routes coming along now. Not nearly in the shape it was in same time as last year, though, sorry!
Snoqualmie Pass/Apental: I got out on Friday for a ski day at Alpental. Chairlift Falls is thin but forming. I would give it some time before you hurt it. Alpental 1-4 are buried, with 2-3 feet of new snow now in just the last few days.
Conditions update, 12/09/2007
Cody Hiatt and others sent me updates in the past week. Thanks!
SW British Columbia: Lillooet is in, basically, with folks climbing at the Rambles and fairly fat looking stuff at Marble.
North Cascades: Steve Trent posted a nice picture of a route he saw coming down from the Colonial/Neve plateu. See report
Leavenworth: Don't know, in general. But last weekend when we were all congregating on the only formed 50 feet of ice in the Lower Icicle, Jeff Street took a long walk and found some nice climbable stuff up higher. Click for Pic.
Eastern Desert/Banks Lake: Paul Detrick reports that stuff fell down after the Pineapple Express storm, but is reforming.
Snoqualmie Pass/Apental: I got out on Saturday for a stellar day tromping around the valley. We approach NF Snoqualmie for a look, but it is dry and needs more snow. Snowshoes and boots worked fine. Snow was very hard for skis. Lots of slide debris. A party climbed Not Quite a Plum on Sat, and Cody Hiatt and partner climbed it Sunday. NE Buttress of Chair saw three parties on Sunday.
Conditions update, 12/01/2007
Jesse Huey and others sent me updates in the past week. Thanks!
SW British Columbia:Couple of thin low-angle ice routes climbed this weekend, but nothing real interesting to report yet.
North Cascades:The Cosely-Houston on Colfax has been in and climbed numerous times now in the last month. The Cosley-Houston is likely our longest-lived route during any season, often hanging around in climbable shape until May.
Leavenworth:Nothing really is in, depite hordes of people tromping around on Saturday to look for ice. Hubba Hubba has a few inches of ice, Mountaineers Creek is bone dry, and a new WI2 route reported last week on cascadeclimbers.com was the center of the action, with 50 feet of shelled out ice climbing serving many parties during the day! Jeff Street found some TR-able ice far up the Mountaineers Creek road, will post pics and location later.
Snoqualmie Pass/Apental:Jesse reported climbing Flow Reversal in Alpental valley, near Source Lake. This is the line that Roger Strong and Chad Kellog first climbed in 2003 (it is not in the guidebook). There was a bit of ice forming up at Alpental as of Sunday, as looking at the road cuts while driving through attested. With the recent storm system, its hard to say whats going on now.
Conditions update, 10/29/2007
With the first storms of the season coming to the alpine, folks are getting out into the mountains for early season forays.
SW British Columbia:Two parties climbed some or all of Zero Gully on Rideout this past weekend. Sporty conditions.
North Cascades:Two parties went up to Eldorado plateau this weekend for looks at the NW Couloir, but climbed the N Ridge and E Ridge routes instead. There is already alot of snow up on the plateau.