MAA members spent four days climbing ice on Thor Falls and enjoying winter zen in early January. We walked from the valley all the way up the road, snowshoed / skiied up DEEP unconsolidated snow up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek to establish a sweet basecamp at Lower Boy Scout Lake. In between great weather and storms, we got a few days of climbing on the incredibly beautiful ice below Thor Peak at around 10,700. We had acres of ice all to ourselves and climbed until we couldn't swing any more.
There's something very cool about this area - the aesthetic of climbing smooth, perfect ice nearly at the foot of Whitney and the winter scenery are unmatched. You just have to put in the miles to get there and you will be rewarded. Thor Falls forms earlier and stays longer than any other ice crag in CA.
We learned early season snow on the approach route is very tough, especially when you have around 5,000' to climb to basecamp with 60 lb winter mountaineering packs -- we will offer this event every year, but probably in March when the approach is more consolidated.
Great trip, and a great team put in a lot of effort in sometimes difficult conditions to make this happen!