Ice climbing in California

Water ice

Joshua Tree. Ice has been climbed in the Wonderland. However, it's probably safe to assume that ice-climbing in J-Tree, at best, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tahquitz. Climbs up to 7 pitches in length form.

Suicide. Surprise on the Weeping wall forms a thin ice-climb with the expansion bolts of the rock climb used for protection.

Angeles Crest. Williamson Rock is down in the canyon below Eagles Roost.

June Lake. Take the southern entrance to the June Lake Loop and head through the town of June Lake and continue on a few miles to where there is a power station on the left and park. There are two areas: one is a cliff right a few hundred meters further down from where the road is closed for the winter. The other area at June is several hundred meters above and west of the power station; walk through the right (north) side of the power station to a tramway that goes steeply up the hill above and follow the tram several hundred meters up until it looks like you're at the right level to traverse left (south) over to the climbs.

Lee Vining From Lee Vining, head west up the Tioga Pass road --US120-- a few miles to where the road is gated in winter at the start of the long uphill grade that cuts across the north slope. Turn left onto Poole Road and make an immediate right so you are going west up the bottom of Lee Vining Canyon to its end at the Poole power station. Park off of the road and walk past the power station, cross the creek, and go up canyon. The first ice will hopefully be encountered just after the canyon veers to the left (south, that is, as your going up-canyon), and may take 20 minutes of walking. There are about a half dozen micro-areas in the vicinity and further up-canyon for a total of a couple of dozen routes. Most are on the south-side and face northwards; These northfacing areas are referred to by their relative locations as you face the cliff ( i.e. right flow, main flow, left flow, and far left flow). Additional routes can be found on the North-side including some easy slabs opposite some toproping on the south-side (which is even further left of the far left flow. Confusing? "Listen to me now, and believe me later": check it out, and all will be clear). It's easy to walk off to the right from the majority of the climbs.

Lundy Canyon. The Three Wise Men (WI3-4, 2-3 pitches). Ski up the creek from the Lundy Lake Resort (northwest of Mono Lake).

Lover's Leap. Eyeore's Ecstasy (WI 4, 2-3 pitches).

Kirkwood. The ice (perhaps the best in the Tahoe area) is within an "off-limits" avalanche area; All of the usual precautions therefore apply.

Carson Spur. Pabst Blue Ribbon (WI3, 1 pitch). On a cliff band visible from the road. Other climbs are in the immediate vicinity.

Red Cliff. Across from the Kirkwood ski runs and visible from the parking-lot.

Angora Lake.

Maggie Peak.

Echo Lakes. The Cutty Sark (WI4, 1 pitch). Above the Echo Lake in the canyon among some other smears of ice.

Emerald Bay.

Eagle Lake. Upper Eagle Lake Falls (WI4, 1/2 pitch). Above the lake's inlet. There is more steep ice on the south shore of the Lake as well.

Cascade Lake. Cascade Falls is approached from Bay View campground, and is said to be fat, reliable, and moderate in difficulty.

Mt Ralston. The north-east face has a long easy gully.

Squaw Valley. Here Today, Gone in Twenty Seconds (WI5, 1/2 pitch). Pillar on a south-facing cliff near the Alpine Meadow exit between Squaw Valley and Tahoe City.

Sugarbowl Ski Area.

Cold Stream Canyon. Approach from Donner Summit by taking the chairlift to the top of Mt Lincoln and descending down the backside into the Canyon. Approach time in 15 minutes this way. There are the better part of a dozen climbs in this canyon.

Castle Crags. Much ice and mixed routes can be found a couple miles from Railroad park near the Castle Crags State Park north of Redding on I5.

Castle Lake. Across Castle Lake is alot of ice up to 1 1/2 pitches in length and of moderate to high difficulty.

Trinity Divide.

Mt Shasta.

Donner Pass. Rainbow Wall is located on the west side of Donner Summit.

Pear Lake. Approach from Wolverton ski area.

Tokopah Valley, Sequoia NP Forms consistenly in the late season. Some climbs are threatened by avalanche hazard. Park at Lodgepole and ski up the valley for two miles.

Yosemite Valley A week of cold helps the ice to form up. However, this cold has occured often in association with a pattern of inversion that lays waste to the upper pitches of the climbs.

Tenaya Canyon. Cloudburst (WI4, 4 pitches).

Little Yosemite. Nevada Falls (actually a seep to the right of the Falls)(WI4+, 4 pitches).

Tuolumne Meadows.

Alpine Ice

Many of the following routes plus many others can be found in greater detail in "Sierra Classics: 100 best climbs in the High Sierra", by John Moynier and Claude Fiddler (1993) ISBN 0934641609. Routes can also be found in somewhat less detail in "The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails" by R.J Secor.