A Question About Ice Climbing in Spring

When is it unsafe to do ice climbing? Looking at the massive ice formations on the sides of cliffs-how do you know that the whole icemass will tear itself loose and fall down?
Is it generally unsafe to do this in the Spring?

Local knowledge is probably the best resource.

It’s not as safe as NOT climbing up a sheer vertical ice wall.

Conditions change day-to-day; the season length changes from year to year. Since you’re in Boston, the place to check would be NEIce. Usually, things end sometime during April up in the mountains.

Ranks up there with back-country hiking in avalanche country in the spring for stupid things I wouldn’t do.

You don’t hike in avy country in the spring. That would be stupid.

You go on skis, that’s what they’re there for.

My buddy, his brother, and his nephew were on snowshoes, accompanied by their dogs on Easter Sunday a few years ago, taking a hike up a valley before Easter dinner. He was the only survivor.

Yes, and I’ve skied in Avy terrain for the better part of 20 years and have never been caught in one. I keep a close eye on the avy forecast, know my partners, carry the appropriate gear, and often change plans if I have a bad feeling. If I wasn’t willing to accept some avalanche danger I wouldn’t ski in the spring, and I’m not willing to give that up. But there’s a lot you can do to minimize your danger.

That’s what he thought, unfortunately. They lived a short distance from this valley, had grown up hiking and skiing those hills for some 25-30 years, and were very experienced hunters, snowmachiners, etc. He said they were partway into the valley when his brother looked up at the ridge and noticed some pebbling and winddrifting. No sooner thad he said “let’s get away from here” and turned them around, than the avalanche broke loose.

Hey, I know shit happens, but it’s stupid to take chances, particularly in the spring. If the OP has to ask if it’s safe to ice-wall climb in the spring, he shouldn’t be attempting it.

Oh, I wouldn’t worry about Ralph, he’s not going climbing anywhere. :slight_smile: