Roadside, Hidden, Geminis, Lock Haven - 2/14/2010

After being cursed with two weekends in a row with warm temps and heavy rain (1/17/10 and 1/24/10), all ice in Central PA was unfortunately wiped out and we had to start the building process from scratch. After several weeks of cold temps, we finally have ice back into early season condition.

Tom Mrotek and crew went to Lock Haven on Saturday 2/13/10 to assess the conditions. He reports:

Roadside is still flowing at the bottom heavily. Upper tiers are fairly in though.

Hidden was in but thin. Climbed and toproped all three tiers.

Gemini looks like the upper tiers are in but didn't go over there. Will probably be going to Gemini tomorrow.

Eric Durante reports from their trip on Sunday 2/14/10:

Tom Mrotek, Aaron Regberg, and I shared a romantic Valentine's Day climb on the lower pitches of Gemini. While the ice down low was good, and everything up top appeared to be in and solid, the weather was quite warm by early afternoon. Upon reaching the bottom of the final pitch in the left gully, we discovered that there was quite a bit of water dripping and running behind the ice. The conditions appeared to be ripe for things to become unstable pretty quickly, so we decided to leave the top pitch alone for now. If the weather turns very cold again before it warms up, even for a few days, I expect that both sides will be in quite nicely. If the weather stays like it is, It'll likely get a little sketchier every day.

Driving past, Roadside Gully appeared to be in very poor shape with the entire bottom section running a lot of water, and the top tiers not very well formed.

Left Gemini Gully - 2/14/10 (Eric Durante photo)

Hidden Amphitheater, Lock Haven - 1/16/2010

From Cody Borigo:

We went climbing in the Lock Haven area on Saturday and wanted to give a quick report. Went out early Saturday morning with some apprehension as to what we would find with the warm temps the last couple days. Hidden Amphitheater, was in surprisingly good shape. The first two tiers were thick and solid. We climbed the far right side of the second tier early on, but by the afternoon the lower portions were starting to break off and a significant increase in water flow was apparent on that side. The third was definitely climbable on the left and right sides, but the center was pretty thin. That new pillar you mentioned on the fourth tier was still in and looked really solid. There was some minimal icefall throughout the day, but nothing serious. It's hard to say how well it held up after the rain on Sunday 1/17/10, but hopefully it was thick enough to survive.

Hidden Amphitheater - 1/16/10

Cody Borigo high on the second tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/16/10

Roadside Gully, Lock Haven - 1/16/2010

Cody Borigo from York reports:

We went out early Saturday morning with some apprehension as to what we would find with the warm temps the last couple days. Roadside wasn't in great shape, especially the lower portion of the gully. Very wet and lots of bare patches, but from the road, there looked to be a few good routes possible in the upper amphitheater. We passed on this and climbed in Hidden.

Roadside Gully - 1/16/10

Upper Amphitheater in Roadside Gully - 1/16/10

Southwest PA Ice Conditions - 1/11/2010

Tim Anderson reports from SWPA. Hope you guys are enjoying the cold weather and great conditions. Just thought I'd let you know that most of the ice in Southwestern PA is in very good. We've been getting out almost every day. I've decided to start a blogsite to document local (SWPA) conditions, photos, etc. I've been updating it daily and it seems to be getting more popular as the season rolls on. Please check out the site at

Below are a few pics from the last couple days.

S.C. Rod & Gun Club - 1/8/10

Secret Cliffs II - 1/10/10

Hidden Amphitheater, Lock Haven - 1/10/2010

We trekked up into the Hidden Amphitheater this morning hoping to find good ice. We were not disappointed! All tiers are thin but in. Our party included Wayne Barnard, Tom Mrotek, Eric Durante, Randy Edelman and myself.

The first pitch allowed easy climbing up to the base of the taller second tier. Both the easier left side and steeper right side were led. The third tier was topped out by leading into the notch to the left and also the right corner. Topping out in the middle of the third tier is not currently possible. (No ice)

A pleasant surprise was found on top. A fourth pitch of ice had formed this year climbing the rock amphitheater to the top of the ridge. Wayne led this new pitch with the rest of us pulling the route on second. This ice had formed here last year, and was top roped, but I believe this is the first lead of this pitch. It offers a nice steep 30 - 35 ft line.

Tom leading first tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Tom on left side of second tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Wayne on the steeper right side of second tier, Hidden Amphitheater

Randy on second tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Second tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Wayne leading the new fourth tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Randy seconding the fourth tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Eric on the new fourth tier, Hidden Amphitheater - 1/10/10

Roadside Gully, Lock Haven - 1/10/2010

Roadside Gully still has not completely come in on the low angle approach. There is still open water on the middle portion of the approach. The first tier still looks very thin. The upper tiers look surprisingly good from the road. This will need confirmed by someone willing to make the trek up into the amphitheater.

Roadside Gully - 1/10/10

Roadside and Gemini Gullies, Lock Haven - 1/3/2010

After the washout rain event on Christmas day, we were fortunate to have a week of seaonably cold temps. Tom Mrotek, Eric Durante, and I headed up this morning on a recon trip to check the ice conditions at Lock Haven.

The low angle approach to Roadside Gully is still running water, but the steep upper tiers are starting to form nicely. Glass Menangerie on the third tier now appears to be touching down. The first and second tiers unfortunately need some time and cold temps to fill in.

The Gemini Gullies are in the process of recovering from the rain last week. We were able to climb the first pitch without too many dirt sticks, but common sense got in the way and we decided to let the steep amphitheaters grow another week before we give them a shot. They really need a bit more time to develop.

The weather report for the next two weeks from is favorable with no above freezing temps in the forecast.

We finished out the day reconning a couple secret spots around the county to check new route potential.

Roadside Gully - 1/3/10

Eric on lead on low angle first pitch, Left Gemini Gully - 1/3/10

Tom on first pitch of Left Gemini Gully - 1/3/10

Steep amphitheater in Left Gemini Gully not yet ready - 1/3/09

Similar lean conditions in Right Gemini Gully - 1/3/09

Gemini Gullies, Lock Haven - 12/19/2009

Tom Mrotek reports: The ice conditions unfortunately were worse than last weekend . Roadside was still flowing pretty well, but it didn't look like anything came down off of it. It appears that the upper tier of Roadside is almost touching down! I have no idea why it's formed and everything else hasn't, but oh well. The Gemini Gullies were still flowing with a bit of water. We climbed the first pitch to the rap tree and it was about 65% ice, and that counts as first sticks of the season! The upper tiers where godawful looking. I would recommend staying away, more for safety's sake than anything. There was evidence of stuff having fallen off of the upper tiers of Gemini.

Roadside and Gemini Gullies, Lock Haven - 12/12/2009

From Tom Mrotek:

I drove up to Lock Haven today to check out the ice. Roadside is coming in nicely, but there is still a large volume of water flowing. The upper tiers have large ice formations on them already. I drove past Hidden Amphitheatre, but didn't hike up because I am lazy. From the road, I could not see an appreciable amount of ice yet. I would expect in about two weeks or so, both of the lower parts of Roadside and Hidden will be climbable.

On the way to Gemini, about 2 miles south on the Hyner River Rd, there are some ice flows (about grade 3) that we toproped early in the season last year. They are high up in the woods on the slope and easy to miss. Both are coming in nicely and I believe will support a lead next weekend, definitely topropeable. I could only see the start of Gemini gullies and the top of Left Gully. The bottom is almost complete, but still thin. The "headwall" of the Left Gully has ice formations on it, but not substantial enough to climb yet. The bottom of the gullies should be climbable by next weekend, if all stays cold. I almost climbed it today, but hesitated since it was still a little thin.

The road to Gemini is not frozen over yet, but deeply rutted. There are big holes and puddles that are only thinly covered with ice, so a high clearance vehicle is recommended. Once there's more snow, it should be better driving. Also, at the section that you drive up and around the house by the tracks, there is a freshly fallen pine tree partially obstructing the road. Please take an axe to clear this. Lastly, none of the rappel anchors out there have been inspected thus far this year. I will replace as many anchors as necessary, but please take a length of 8 mm cord or 1 in webbing in case you find one damaged.

Roadside Gully - 12/12/09

Left Gemini Gully - 12/12/09


Winter has come to Central Pennsylvania, and we are hopeful for a good ice season.

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