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Utah Ice Conditions, 2013 - 2014
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By RonB
From Strawberry Reservoir & VA
Dec 19, 2013
Hummm...

No! Don't stop posting Garret...I'm stuck out here in iceless Virginia and can't get out there till January, and your pics are my inspiration. I don't care if you are the only one posting (or climbing ice), it's a great treat to see what the ice is doing. Keep up the good work (all). Happy holidays!


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By John Bird
Dec 20, 2013

Kitchen Traverse with Pantry Door Variation
Kitchen Traverse with Pantry Door Variation

James I'm helping you out so this doesn't become your personal ice climbing blog (though keep posting!)
The Kitchen Traverse with Pantry Door Variation was in the best conditions I've seen in a decade. The primary objective hazard (Risk of a seriously angry spouse) was at an all time low. Door fronts vibrated a bit under the strain of crampon points but all else was solid.

It was short lived. By the next afternoon the route had disappeared.


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By Klimbien
From StGeorge Orem Littlton Vegas
Dec 20, 2013
Zion - GWT Great White Throne crag

Southern Utah has been forming up good.

Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing


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By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Dec 20, 2013
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

Looks nice. S. Utah is a big place. Mind sharing where this is?


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By Klimbien
From StGeorge Orem Littlton Vegas
Dec 20, 2013
Zion - GWT Great White Throne crag

Photos from today (12/20/13) @ 1400, temp was 32 degrees, Location: Camp Creek

alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/camp-creek



Camp Creek.
Camp Creek.


The top section looked thin and a lot of water was flowing underneath - rain/snow all day



Camp Creek
Camp Creek


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By chadnuesmeyer
Dec 21, 2013
Take it easy

  • ** Pre-Post caveat - Squash Head is in a slide gully climb with caution as slide conditions are high (and accumulation is building).

Went and did Squash Head this morning before the snow started really moving. It was WET, super wet. That is why I don't have a photo - I was worried about my phone surviving.

I was in full gore-tex and still got soaked. Give that it was so wet and very hard to protect (multiple placements started spurting water) I would put it on the upper end of its rating scale.

Ran out of time to check it out but, does anybody have any beta on whether back-off is in or not? How about Millers?


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By tri-cameron
Dec 22, 2013

12/21/13
12/21/13



This was how Kitty litter/ Itch and scratch looked on Saturday. It was pretty slushy and the mixed stuff to the right had rotted away since those cold inversion days.


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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 22, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.

Chad, backoff has formed up but it was pretty wet. Give it until the new year and i bet it wilk be much improved.


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By Brian in SLC
Dec 23, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

GWI yesterday...snowed harder than predicted...

GWI 22 December 2013
GWI 22 December 2013


Conditions were ok. Surprisingly high flow in the creek, still. There's numerous spots where the ice is fairly thin with rushing water near the surface (or through holes). Not a surprise as its still early season and the temp's have been kinda warm. Take care tip toeing around the thin bits.

Fair bit of snow yesterday. Avy hazard high. With warm temps and a pile of graupel, and, wind transport, be super careful being below large bowls and/or terrain traps.


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By Josh Allred
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 23, 2013
P3 on Nutcracker.

Any suggestions this week with Avi conditions being so high? Provo? GWI? Maple (Doubt there is anything)?

Any word what the ice is looking like at Joes?

Thanks.

Edit: I guess I should clarify. Any SAFE suggestions this week with Avy conditions being so high?


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By Brian in SLC
Dec 23, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Josh Allred wrote:
Any suggestions this week with Avi conditions being so high? Provo?


From a few years back (RIP Doug):

Heavy Snow Triggers Avalanches; 1 Killed
Nation IN BRIEF : UTAH January 27, 1997
Heavy snows coupled with high winds caused four avalanches in the mountains of Utah in the last four days, leaving one person dead and injuring two, officials said. Doug Hall, 27, of Silverton, Colo., was ice climbing in the Bridal Veil Falls area of Provo Canyon when an avalanche swept him nearly 250 feet down a canyon wall. Hall's climbing partner, Scott Lee, 25, of Sandy, Utah, suffered head, back and chest injuries in the slide.


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By Luke Douglas
Dec 23, 2013
Lot's of hippie love to all!

Picture of the bottom of Hanging Slab Gully. Fun hike in, fun vertical, no ice on top outs. Of course no es bueno under current high avy conditions. Rap rings just above the second curtain.

Hanging Slab Gully
Hanging Slab Gully


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By jspitzer
Dec 24, 2013

Climbed White Nightmare and La Punta Blanca yesterday. The White Nightmare is in good condition and seeing lots of action. Steep on the climbers left side and a good line right up the middle. Second pitch was a bit thin at the top.

A fair amount of ice chunks falling off the Main Bridalveil flow. Also a large (medium TV) rock naturally came the cliff between La Punta Blanca and the Fitness Den. It hit one of those small pines and broke part of the tree.



La Punta Blanca
La Punta Blanca


BV and White Nightmare
BV and White Nightmare


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By ate
Dec 24, 2013

I was reading this thread and saw Brian in SLC's post. I was a friend of Doug Hall's and he died on January 25, 1997, during the Winter Outdoor Retailer show. It apparently was warm that day and I hope people really do think long and hard about the avalanche danger above them. That's all.


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By CWood
From SLC, UT
Dec 25, 2013

What is the most pertinent avalanche forecasting resource for SLC ice climbers?


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By Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Dec 25, 2013

CWood wrote:
What is the most pertinent avalanche forecasting resource for SLC ice climbers?


utahavalanchecenter.org/advisory/salt-lake

When the forecast is considerable to high stay the hell out of Provo Canyon. The only real except is Stairway as all of the other climbs have huge bowls above. Similar for Santaquin.


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By tenesmus
Dec 26, 2013

Klimbien wrote:
Photos from today (12/20/13) @ 1400, temp was 32 degrees, Location: Camp Creek alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/camp-creek The top section looked thin and a lot of water was flowing underneath - rain/snow all day

Very cool. I've always looked over there at those canyons and the cliffs around them. It looks like Spring Creek has a huge amphitheater near its mouth. Is access limited for any of those? It feels like that's total Zion side-country but limestone.


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By 5555
Dec 26, 2013

1


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By chadnuesmeyer
Dec 27, 2013
Take it easy

maddog wrote:
Has anyone climbed at the new area just west of Bridalveil Falls?


I spoke with a couple of guys who claimed responsibility for the area. They said it was farmed and is on public property.

Route Update:

Miller's Thriller: 12/24 - Slushy but, in. The drip line on the left of the top pitch is not touching down yet.

The Fang: 12/26 - The cold spell that came through definitely impacted routes in Provo. In just two days the lower pitches of comparable routes were night and day. Super solid pro on the lower part of the fang. The upper section (the actual Fang) is in but, flowing water. I stayed left and still got super wet (i.e. ruined my cell phone that was inside my gore-tex coat wet).


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By 5555
Dec 27, 2013

chadnuesmeyer thanks for responding to my post. Do you know if they applied for a water diversion permit? If not, farming ice in sight of a major highway is not a very bright thing to do. It could cause access restrictions for everybody. I'm not saying I'm above a little water diversion ;) but creating a major ice crag on a busy road... hmmmm. I'm just hoping they got a permit 'cause it's a helluva good crag and they've done some great work. I would hate to see the FS close it off or restrict access. There are a ton of drytool lines to be had WITHOUT the ice.


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By Russell Sneddon
Dec 27, 2013

Has anybody been down to Joe's Valley lately? If so is has any good ice come in yet? Was hoping to do Robert's Horn this weekend but due to avy danger looking for a different area.


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By Briggs
From Vernal, UT
Dec 27, 2013
Tangled up in blue

Water diversion permit???...Sounds like bureaucratic red tape bs to me....


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By Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Dec 27, 2013

Briggs wrote:
Water diversion permit???...Sounds like bureaucratic red tape bs to me....


Actually it is not and when it comes to water, moving it around can cause issues really quick. Even when water is moved with in the same drainage. For instance, a few years ago folks tried to move a bit of water around in the GWIC gully. The FS, had they known about it, would have had to remove the plumbing - even though the water was still going down the same drainage.


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By Klimbien
From StGeorge Orem Littlton Vegas
Dec 28, 2013
Zion - GWT Great White Throne crag

@ Tenesmus - There is no access issue, this area is inside Zion NP, however when you park and go through the gate with a sign letting you know that you are entering Zion it just says, "Please close gate behind you" - all are welcome.


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By Warbonnet
From Utah and Cambodia
Dec 28, 2013
FA "Unfinished Business" 5.11cR Wind River range, Wyoming. Beta photo in this album

Stairway conditions today, Sunday, Dec. 27. WILL POST PHOTOS TOMORROW, MON.
Lower two benches fine w/some easier starts but drippy & wet. Signs of considerable rockfall (typical) that looked quite fresh - baseball size. We dodged a hail of rocks on the way down; good that Bolted Big Bertha was there to hide behind.
REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR HELMET ON SOMEWHERE ALONG THE TRAIL. BEST PLACE IS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL, NOT AT THE BASE OF THE CLIMB, then you don't need to worry about it while the missiles are raining from above.

Even though the route(s) are not in best condition, a climber will find almost all types of ice, some of which changes with one or two tool swings. Good training for those who haven't encountered it; for those that have, levitation practice here is fun.

First three pitches are zig here, zag there. Repeat.

Third bench, in places, offered true, very, very hard, scalloped, bullet proof ice - good place to practice your delicate "peck, peck, peck" to ballet dance your way up this. Trying to bash your way up this will only frustrate & tire you, and it's poor form. The crowds below will boo you. It is also an excellent ice type to practice setting screws. Too many people give up or pass by these "training" opportunities. Would you rather drill your very first bullet proof ice screw while you're hanging on to your tool 100 ft up (leashes or not) OR have taken a few hours or more to give up a short climb and practiced? (Don't forget your screw cleaning tool such as a Candella. The ice inside the screw might be rock hard.) And don't drop it...more screws are dropped in this kind of ice unless the climber is experienced.

Enough of that. With an early start by a strong climbing team, a circuitous route can be put together (would also add just a tad of route finding in upper benches; some of the normal reliable pillars have either not touched down or fallen). Someone do it & post up. With fading light, we retreated at the fourth bench. The rest of it will go - just get an early start. Stairway has been weird this year; will be interesting to see how/if it fills in, thus, somebody getting on it this week might be able to provide an overview of the upper sections (a lot of water, bonded or not, touched down or not, etc.)

A fair amount of Ouray-aerated ice, a lot of it very drip, can be found on the first & second pitch. Some ice takes Styrofoam sticks nicely. Bad news is that the ice is inconsistent - long runs of similar ice are just not in yet. GOOD NEWS: because of conditions described above, it's a good place to hang out, do a few pitches & tune your techniques.

Up high the ice is better, however, very wet & drippy. Middle right is an obvious larger, more consolidified sheet/column (Steady WI 4) but wetter than we had hoped. 22 cm (8 to 10 on safe side) & knowing how to use opposing V threads for pro is a plus. We used this technique twice to get down. If you don't know how to do opposing V threads to get you down (and up, used as lead pro) in weird conditions, it's a good thing to practice. Bottom of the first pitch (flat ground) would be a good place to practice, esp. cuz right now, even the lower section presents a range of ice conditions.

When conditions are like they are now & long pitches aren't yet in the cards, don't get too bummed out, esp beginners. Make the most of it & practice or learn things you didn't know. Better "down there" than "up there" to do it. REPEAT: WILL POST PHOTOS TOMORROW.


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