Ice climbing has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few years. At SMC we are lucky to have ideal locations to learn and practice the skills of this fun activity in our own backyard.
Ice is a scarce commodity in sunny California. Two places that stand out in contrast are June Lake and Lee Vining, on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, near Mammoth Lakes.
June Lake is the ideal location to start learning ice climbing and often we end up spending both days of the course here. A brisk uphill walk leads to the ice; this can take as long as an hour depending on snow conditions. The ice at this training area is up to a rope length high and up to eighty degrees in steepness, with steeper bulges, giving a perfect location to work on the basic movement skills.
After a day at June Lake our progression continues onto the steeper ice, working on skills necessary to succeed on the steep stuff, as well as anchoring and other aspects of ice climbing.
Sierra Mountain Center offers scheduled courses all winter and can also schedule a private course to fits your schedule. Simply call and ask if your dates are available. We try to offer both weekend and weekday programs and suggest that you try the weekday ones if your schedule permits, since this popular ice can be crowded.
Here is our video description of what it is like to go Ice Climbing at June Lake with SMC.
Here are some of the instruction techniques we cover during the course.
We do not include accommodation in the pricing but we suggest some Lee Vining motels below.
We rent ice boots but have limited size runs so reserve them early on. The rest of the necessary gear can be borrowed if you do not have your own; just let us know.
The best and only local ice guidebook is our own SP Parker’s “Eastern Sierra Ice.” Get it from Maximus Press