Archive of Central Pennsylvania Ice Conditions
2003 / 2004 Season

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12/26/03 Took a trip up the Renovo Road to check on the conditions. There is no ice to report. An experienced kayaker could have paddled the flow of water coming out of Roadside Gully. (Just kidding). Also looked across the river at the Gemini Gullies and no ice was visible over there as well. Our weather this winter has been very erratic with a few cold days and then a weekly warm spell with rain. With all the rain we have received this fall and winter, it's going to take two solid weeks of single digit temperatures to get the excessively high flow of water to form. If it does get cold, we will have lots of new routes as water is seeping everywhere.

1/9/04 We have been blessed with several days of cold temperatures. The Gullies are forming nicely. There is still a little open water up high on the low angle stuff in Roadside Gully. The upper vertical tiers are looking good from the road. I'm going to head up and check the vertical stuff out tomorrow and will post an update. The Gemini Gullies look like they are also coming in as viewed from across the river. Things look quite thin yet, but the weather forecast looks favorable this coming week and I believe things will be good for next weekend.

1/11/04 Took a recon trip up the low angle start of Roadside Gully. It's a little warmer than yesterday and the ice has a few more holes from the running water. There are two new uprooted trees on the right side of the flow. However, they do not hinder the ascent. We are going to have two days of warmer temperatures on Monday and Tuesday and then the cold single digit temperatures are supposed to come back. Conditions should be good for next weekend. The upper vertical tiers look surprisingly good for the amount of flow coming out of the amphitheater. The first steep bulge has a large open channel of water but this can be avoided. Left Pillar on the second tier looks leadable with short screws. Glass Menagerie hasn't touched down yet on the third tier and the left flow that was led last season by Brint and Griz looks like it's coming in fatter than last year. Took a look at Gemini Gullies from across the river and its start looks in good early season condition. I don't know how the steep pillars are higher up, as they are hidden in the evergreens. Dennis Yonkin (Elvis) took a recon up into Hidden Amphitheater and believes it needs a little more time to grow. There is lots of running water and the ice is very fragile. Maybe next weekend?

1/15/04 Ben Nevin (bennevis) reports the following conditions in the PA Grand Canyon in Tioga County: "Campbell Run Amphitheater (2nd Falls). Much improvement since last week. The main flow (60'?) is formed, and the north wall is forming some good pillars (40'?). This is a good indicator of the West Rim gullies like Burdic Run (?) off the Seimans Trail. This is not a good indicator of Falling Springs which usually takes a while to form completely." Thanks for the info Ben.

1/17/04 Wayne Barnard, James Tomalonis, Randy Edelman, and I took a trip across the river to the Gemini Gullies. Both gullies are in good early season condition and we were able to top out on both. Found a sling with a carabiner in the right gully that was left by a party up there on Saturday. If you want it back, email me. Only one other party was in the area climbing on Sunday and they were checking out a new pillar across the river from the Hidden Amphitheater. As far as I know this pillar has not been touched and I am curious of their success. Hidden Amphitheater looked in poor condition from across the river, showing bare wet rock at the top of the third tier. Roadside Gully's low angle approach was in worse shape than last weekend with a lot of open holes with running water. I guess the cold days last week were not enough to recover from the warm spell on Monday and Tuesday. We didn't have a chance to check out the steep tiers higher up in Roadside.

1/25/04 James and I climbed the ice at Montgomery, PA this afternoon. Several steep climbs (less than 60') have formed with the recent cold temperatures. I don't know if the area has a recorded ascent history or if any of the routes have been named. All in all, a fun place to check out with a short approach along the railroad tracks. We also stopped and checked out the Weis Amphitheater north of Williamsport along Lycoming Creek. Didn't have time to climb there, but the site looks in good condition as well.

1/27/04 James, Wayne, and I took another trip to Montgomery to enjoy the more difficult stuff there. If anyone has any history of this area with route names and such, please email me with the info. This area is quite interesting with several steep lines. Some of the steeper pillars are still quite fragile and need more time to consolidate, please refrain from topropeing these lines to death. Check the pics.

2/1/04 Wayne, Randy, and I spent the morning in Roadside Gully. The low angle stuff off the road is finally in. The first and second vertical tiers are in nice and fat with Left Pillar looking like it can accept any size screw. After we soloed up the low angle stuff, Wayne led the pillar in the middle of the second tier. The third vertical tier looks like it needs a little more time as Glass Menagerie has just touched down and an ascent would probably wipe out the lower 10ft. of the route. The route on the left of the third tier is fat up high but looks quite fragile for the first 20ft. I updated the pics to show the current conditions.

2/7/04 Route 120 was closed for several days this week from avalanches covering the road from the snow and rain on Thursday. Two slides on both sides of Roadside Gully had to dug out by heavy equipment.

2/8/04 Wayne, Randy, Dennis Yonkin (Elvis), and I spent the afternoon at Montgomery. The ice was aerated white styrofoam from being baked out in the warm temps and sun on this southeast facing cliff. We don't believe any screws would have held a fall here today. Wayne did lead a corner route to set up anchors for the steep pillars. We tied loops into one of the ropes and laid it next to the steepest route. Wayne led the route using the rope as pro. Kinda like a gym (sport) route. Dennis and Randy set up TR's on several of the other pillars on the right side of the cliff. I don't think the steep stuff here will survive the forecasted warm spell and sun this coming week. Hopefully it will recover.

2/16/04 Wayne, James and I took a trip into Hidden Amphitheater. Very cold this weekend with hard boiler plate ice. All three tiers are in fat and the approach is packed out. Highly recommended. Parking is available a few hundred feet south of the approach gully along Rt. 120 in a plowed out lot.

2/17/04 Took a solo trip up Roadside Gully. Only went up approximately. 100 ft. as all loose ice fell straight onto the roadway because of the recent avalanche debris at the base of the gully and the very brittle ice conditions. I must recommend staying off of Roadside until the avalanche debris at the base is removed or the ice becomes less brittle. I can just see a large dinner plate barreling down the slope at warp speed and going through a windshield of a passing car. I'm sure the authorities would not be amused. If in the area, check out Hidden instead. Has anyone been over to the Gemini Gullies since the last snow? I was wondering if the road is passable from Hyner down to the climbs.

2/18/04 Ben Nevin (bennevis) has been quite busy exploring the ice in the PA grand canyon (Pine Creek). Here are a couple pics from 2 different falls on Campbell Run on the eastern side of the canyon. These were taken by Ben and Sarah Gilkinson on January 23rd. and 31st. If you need current info on climbs in the canyon, email Ben as he is the best contact I know of.

2/21/04 Another trip to Hidden Amphitheater this morning. Ran into David and Joe Luber from Maryland there. After soloing the first two tiers I rapped off and took a few pics of their ascent. Warm conditions today with lots of running water and soft hero ice. Better grab the ice while it lasts, too many more warm days like today and the season will be over. Passed another group of climbers from Harrisburg on my way back down to the car. Also noted two other parties in Roadside Gully. No fallen ice on the road from their ascents, so the ice conditions there must be more stable than last week.

2/23/04 David Luber sent an email and reports: "My brother and I made it over to Gemini Gullies on Saturday (2/21/04) afternoon. The drive in was an adventure. The steep hillsides had avalanched, but plows had been through to clear a path. The road was rough however, so be careful. As for the climbing we only had time to do Left Gemini. The bottom low angle section had an aerated, very wet ice, due to snow sitting in the flat sections. Made for easy climbing. Up top, things were in very good. Again the ice was wet and fun. Things also looked good in Right Gemini from the bottom."

2/26/04 Wayne and I took a small road trip to Rickets Glen and the Weis Amphitheater. Warm sunny conditions today with a still warmer forecast of temps in the 50's for the weekend. Rickett's Ganoga Falls had open water down the center, but could still be climbed on the right. The pillars on the right side of the amphitheater below the falls offered several nice short steep lines. After playing on the steep stuff there, we hiked back to the car and drove back to Williamsport to check out Weis Amphitheater. The center and left lines were baked out in the sun and were falling to the ground as we were there. The right line was more shaded and left us have a go at her. This steep line sported a fun mixed topout to the trees. With the warmup this coming week, the climbing may soon be over here in central PA. Get it while you can.

2/29/04 Checked out the ice along the Renovo Road above Lock Haven. Roadside, Hidden, and the Geminis still look surprisingly good considering the spring like temperatures. Wonder how long they will last...

3/2/04 Well it's almost over. The weather has been in the 50's since last weekend and we had rain last night. I took a solo trip into Hidden Amphitheater today. A large open waterfall has cut out all of the first tier, the steep pillar on the right of the second tier and the right side of the third tier. All remaining ice was very soft and not bonded to the rock. I soloed up to the base of the third tier then escaped off right. I took some pics and then rapped out of there. If it stays warm, the remaining ice will not make it to the next weekend. I may have got the last sticks into it this season. Roadside Gully also has an open waterfall down over the first steep bulge and on down the low angle stuff to the road. The only ice that seems to be surviving is across the river in the Gemini Gullies. They still look ok from the highway side of the river. It's time to head north folks.

3/8/04 I pumped up the tires on the mountain bike this morning. Time to think about spring. All climbs up the Renovo Road (Rt. 120) are gone. Roadside Gully is a wash out and even the Gemini Gullies have open water. Found a little ice hidden along McElhattan Run at Rosecrans on Sunday. Did a little ice bouldering on the low angle stuff there. The larger pillar looked good enough so Wayne and I went back this afternoon to have a go at it. Unfortunately, it had collapsed since yesterday. Well maybe I mean fortunately as it probably would have landed on us while we were on it. Thanks to all who sent in ice condition reports this year. We had a pretty good season; unfortunately it ended so quickly. See you out there next year.

Beginning pitch of Gemini Gullies 1/17/04
The upper amphitheater in Right Gemini Gully 1/17/04

Wayne topping out on Right Gemini Gully 1/17/04
Randy on the upper headwall of Left Gemini Gully 1/17/04

One of the harder lines at Montgomery 1/27/04

One of two very similar gully climbs at Montgomery

Roadside Gully: The low angle stuff is finally in. 2/1/04

The second vertical tier, Roadside Gully 2/1/04

Left side of the third vertical tier, Roadside Gully 2/1/04
Glass Menagerie, Roadside Gully 2/01/04

This Pillar was quite a workout, Montgomery 2/8/04
Dennis on another nice steep line at Montgomery 2/8/04

James topping out on the first tier, Hidden Amph. 2/16/04
Wayne on the steep second tier, Hidden Amph. 2/16/04

The third tier, Hidden Amphitheater, 2/16/04
Rapping out of Hidden Amphitheater 2/16/04

Second tier in Hidden Amphitheater, 2/21/04
View of all three tiers, Hidden Amphitheater 2/21/04

Steep pillars to right of Ganoga Falls, Ricketts Glen 2/26/04
Steep line right of Ganoga Falls, Ricketts Glen 2/26/04

The left and middle lines at Weis Amp. are toast 2/26/04
Nice steep ice at Weis Amphitheater 2/26/04

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This page was last updated on 3/8/04.