Barrier Dam Practice Ice
FA- G.Cornell, Winter 2001
These short seeps are a great place to take a beginner ice climber to explain techniques, screw placement etc instead of maybe clogging up areas like King Creek, Grotto and the Junkyards. What makes it extra good is that it is only 5 minutes from the car and is roomy enough for a number of short top ropes. Anchors have to be constructed using the ice atop of the line of falls, noting that as the season progresses this may be somewhat difficult.
Really it is likely one of the finest places to take a new kid ice climber as the approach being 5 minutes, warm as it faces south, can make the hike out more of an experience using a steeper ascent than just the dam workers access road, relaxing quiet hole below the Sunday dog walkers above and they usually can’t see you. Perfect location to show anchor building, abalokov practice even if you are not interesting in climbing- kill some time if bored in winter. Here’s a plug – if you ever wondered what the food in the Stoney Indian Casino is like, I recommend it, large portions, very friendly waitresses, and a different backdrop, feels like a ice cragging version of Vegas/Red Rocks trip! LOL
Park at Barrier Dam off Hwy#40, walk past the powerstation west and take a downward road that branches right. Continue along until the road makes a sharp hairpin north. The ice should be obvious most years to the SW just below the rim.
This place usually starts around mid December, but best in early spring(Feb/March) when you get a combo of more sun, better sticks, for kids this is a big help for swinging is enough they don’t need hard solid blue ice to try to get purchase. By mid-March the top of the various falls have melted away so bad that anchors are not possible however there is one lone good tree on the far left of the outcrop to TR off(see pics of ninos climbing farthest left ice). After mid-March anchors are not safely possible so ice bouldering is it.