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Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions

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Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
June 30, 2014 03:38PM
A group of us are thinking to climb Mt Lyell this weekend. I think that the glacier's crevasses are probably easily negotiable even though it is early season because of the lower snow fall and overall warmer year.
We plan crampons and ice axes (and we have experience on how to use them) but a rope would be a drag on the trip.

Does anyone have pictures?
avatar Re: Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
June 30, 2014 04:16PM
Not pictures but here is a link to a bit of video from the NPS:


It has a lot of footage of Lyell. I didn't see a date but it's probaby a few years old as the glacier was still moving at the time but now it's not.

Old Dude
Re: Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
July 01, 2014 03:11PM
I have no beta to offer, but please post a TR if you end up going. I'm planning on climbing Lyell the second weekend in July.
Re: Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
July 07, 2014 03:51PM
Bump. I'm heading up this weekend. Has anyone been in the Mt. Lyell vicinity recently?
Re: Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
July 07, 2014 08:42PM
Lyell was a beautiful hike and climb! Conditions are changing rapidly with the warm weather, so how to approach it depends, as usual on your confidence on snow and rock and how much it has changed since July 5th when we climbed it.

We did the typical approach leaving the Muir Trail where it veers sharply left, before arriving at Donahue Pass. We camped near there. The next morning we wandered up the mostly rock faces with a smattering of snow travel to the saddle just right of the 12,000' + promontory before the Lyell snowfield (previously known as Lyell Glacier). We looked at the ridge and felt it better to go up the second couloir from the right margin. This gave us easier rock to climb but the transition from snow to rock is the tricky part. Think clambering from the snow onto ledges with crampons on and trying to remove and stow them before beginning to climb.

We could not see the bergschrund because of snow cover, but I soon punched through with my right foot and found myself straddling the bergschrund between the first and second couloir. Not a recommended move. By now it has surely melted further, so the crossing could be touchy or you could be faced with a big step onto the rock.

Be sure of your skills on crumbling third class with enough solid holds to pass through safely. Though we all climb fifth class, we liked the looks of the couloir better that day. Your mileage may vary.

The face was heavily suncupped and was slushy in the afternoon. As usual, an alpine start is recommended.

It is not a place you want to have an accident. Cell service was knocked out in Yosemite by a rock slide - they predicted many weeks before it is restored.

We took three full days to do the trip and a fourth would have been nice to explore McClure. Your best information is from those coming down the same day, but remember they are talking from their point of view and experience, which is not the same as yours. If you don't feel comfortable or it late in the day you may get into a tough situation. You have been warned. A challenging adventure for us with Mt Shasta and many 50 mile Sierra hikes under our belts.

Pictures to follow as our photographer recovers.
Re: Mt. Lyell Glacier conditions
July 10, 2014 09:49AM
Thanks for the info! Looking forward to the photos.
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