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With the Eastern Sierra being a rock climbers mecca, it is only fitting that the same popularity sticks around when the weather turns cold and the rock turns to ice…vertical ice.  If you are equipped with your own harness, ice axe and crampons, you just need to go check out the craggs.  Obviously, the quality of the ice has many factors so you might want to ask around at some of the local guiding services for the scoop.  If you have always wanted to try it but don’t have the guts to try it on your own, check out the guiding services of Sierra Mountain Center or the American Alpine Institute.



These are the two main spots where waterfall ice forms to perfection.  

  1.  June Lake.  Go all the way until highway 158 is gated shut for the winter and the wall is a short walk away on your left. It consists of 1-2 pitch easy climbs and is a superb warm up for heading into the more popular Lee Vining Canyon.

  1. Lee Vining Canyon. In the valley below Tioga Pass into Yosemite which is closed in the winter is a premier ice climbing destination.  Just past the turn off on 120, you’ll take a left turn to go down into the canyon.  The road gets plowed all the way to the end as there is a hydo-electric plant where you start the hike to the walls.  You’ll find dozens of routes from 1-3  pitches ranging in difficulty from W12-w15 M5.  Not only is the climbing excellent, but the nature surrounding you deep in the canyon is spectacular.

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