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How are the California Couloirs doing these days?

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How are the California Couloirs doing these days?

Postby Rossi » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:56 pm

Is it looking like the alpine ice is going to be good this year? I'm thinking I may start my ice climbing season this week. Last year it seemed that things were getting a bit thin.
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Re: How are the California Couloirs doing these days?

Postby rhyang » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:57 pm

Rossi wrote:Last year it seemed that things were getting a bit thin.


Depends on where you went -- this time last year people were still skiing North Peak's right couloir :)
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Re: How are the California Couloirs doing these days?

Postby Rossi » Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:48 pm

Humm... maybe its a bit to early for the alpine ice. It seemed like Dana was full ice and melted out at the top last year at this time, and a week or two later North Peak was full on ice. Maybe it was a bit later in the month.

rhyang wrote:
Rossi wrote:Last year it seemed that things were getting a bit thin.


Depends on where you went -- this time last year people were still skiing North Peak's right couloir :)
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Postby The Chief » Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:53 pm

Next month actually!

Too much snow still abounds all over from our very atypical late season storms that dropped up to 14" of snow or more in many of the locations.

Bets are on that "ICE 9" will be "in" this season.
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Postby Rossi » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:47 pm

We went up the Dana Couloir yesterday no need for ice screws yet, that is for sure. Mostly firm snow up there which made for easy fast climbing. For mid July there seemed to be a lot of snow, it was good to see.

We are thinking about checking out North Peak this week. Given the conditions on Dana there could be some "good" skiing there or some fun snow and rock climbing.
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Postby fatdad » Sun Jul 12, 2009 5:57 pm

Rossi wrote:We went up the Dana Couloir yesterday no need for ice screws yet, that is for sure. Mostly firm snow up there which made for easy fast climbing. For mid July there seemed to be a lot of snow, it was good to see.

We are thinking about checking out North Peak this week. Given the conditions on Dana there could be some "good" skiing there or some fun snow and rock climbing.


Did you need a second tool or was an axe enough?
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Postby Rossi » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:19 pm

fatdad wrote:
Rossi wrote:We went up the Dana Couloir yesterday no need for ice screws yet, that is for sure. Mostly firm snow up there which made for easy fast climbing. For mid July there seemed to be a lot of snow, it was good to see.

We are thinking about checking out North Peak this week. Given the conditions on Dana there could be some "good" skiing there or some fun snow and rock climbing.


Did you need a second tool or was an axe enough?


I used two tools and even set some snow stakes for a belay towards the top for a new climber I was with. I am guessing you could do it with one tool. However, I liked having two tools the snow was hard in the morning.
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Postby Rossi » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:39 am

I climbed North Peak this weekend. I was happy to see a lot of snow up there still. It looks like there should be some good ice later this year which is great to see. For now it may be a good time to do a solo on North Peak as the snow climbing was quick and fairly easy.
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Postby rhyang » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:43 am

Good job ! Supposedly the Tioga Pass area got a pretty much normal snowpack this year, so I'm not surprised North Peak's couloirs are still snow.

For good ice to form, we need melt / freeze action. Emphasis on "freeze" -- during the height of summer the days are long, the nights are not so cold and the sun's angle is high.

Later on as August starts to wane, the nights start to get longer & chillier and the sun's angle lowers. These are subtle but significant effects.

In mid-August 2005 I went up the right couloir of North Peak .. we encountered more ice than we expected, but it wasn't very good... as the sun rose it hit the snow up above and water ran down the couloir .. kinda unsettling when you're using ice screws with water running down them :shock:

IMO Take your time, climb some nice warm rock routes instead, and leave the ice for later, when it actually starts to get cold again :)
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Postby Sheets » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:49 am

Heh, ran into you Rossi as you and your partner were coming down North Peak.

Steven
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Postby Rossi » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:48 pm

Sheets wrote:Heh, ran into you Rossi as you and your partner were coming down North Peak.

Steven


Yes, it was good to run into you. It sounded like you had a good day out. I'm always impressed with people who dare to go it alone on climbing routes. I'm hoping to get back down to North Peak next week when it cools a bit.
Kirk
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Postby WML » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:05 am

le bump
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Postby dpatmalloy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:02 am

ya'll should be aware that we have a strong storm predicted to roll through the Sierra on Thursday this week, much cooler temps and perhaps even some snow above 10k ft. The cooling trend may show up a lot earlier this year than most....for all high country adventure, definitely check the weather - don't count on the typical summer weather patterns for the next few weeks.
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Postby Dragger » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:55 am

We climbed the Solstice Couloir on July 25th. It was almost all snow but still a lot of fun. The rockfall was scary though!

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Postby tradmonkey » Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:28 pm

Anyone have an update on what Mendel looks like? Will likely be up there to give it a go in about a week.
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