Ice climbers tackle Frazier Falls
For the first time in 15 years, Frazier Falls, in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area outside Graeagle, has frozen enough to allow local climbers to ascend the 250-foot waterfall.
Meadow Valley resident John Sebold climbed the falls Jan. 2. An avid rock climber, this was his first ice-climbing experience.
The water never completely freezes, so climbers can hear and see water flowing underneath the ice. Climbers who had made an earlier ascent had to change their route on this outing because water had begun to break through the ice on their previous line.
Sebold said he was surprised how loud the water was, which meant climbers couldn’t easily communicate with one another. “You have to keep a good sense of your lead climber” in that case.
Another thing Sebold had to get used to was using tools, like ice picks, instead of his fingers to get a feel for the surface. “You have to be patient,” he said. “I actually felt more secure (on the ice than on rock) once I got the hang of it. There are holds everywhere, any solid spot can be used.” Sebold said he learned a lot and would do it again.
He had an audience for his inaugural outing. A group of 10 had driven to the falls just to look and stayed for the climbing show. “They were as excited as we were when we got to the top,” Sebold said. “It was fun being rock stars.” Photos by Jim Fred