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This page last updated on November 19, 2000.

Ice Diving Jan/Feb/Mar 2001
Updated November 19, 2000

Ice Diving Jan/Feb/Mar 2000
Updated November 19, 2000
Ice Diving, January, February and/or March 2001 at Payette Lake, McCall, Idaho!

Omni Divers Ice Diving Information

Interested Student wrote:

Dear Omni Divers:

I am interested in your Ice Diving class. Please if you could, tell me about the class and any special gear I will need. I normally dive a particular kind of dry suit. Will this work. Also if you could inform me on local places to stay.

Sincerely yours, Interested Student


Initial Question for student:
Have you had any experience diving with overhead restrictions? No prerequisite to have done so. We take it pretty easy the first diving day.

Special briefing:
We will have probably have a briefing on Friday night in Boise for all divers.

Getting to the dive site:
Drive to McCall from Boise is 2 hours on perfect roads. Get to the dive site about 10 am.

Drive to Cascade from Boise is 1.5 hours on perfect roads. Get to the dive site about 10 am. The drive from Cascade to McCall is 0.5 hours.

Arrival at dive site and duties at the site:
It takes quite a bit of work just getting the hole open. It takes from two to three hours to get the hole open and ready to go diving. We need to start digging the wheel and spokes for the reference points. Also an old cross cut saw the triangular hole. Set up the tent. Get ready to get in the water

Briefing at dive site:
We will try to dive between 2 - 5 pm. Do a pre-dive briefing, assign in and out of water tasks, divers, line tenders, buddy teams, etc. We make three dives over a period of two days. Now based on the new PADI rules all three ice training dives can be conducted on a single day, either Saturday or Sunday.

Special gear: Scuba gear:
If you can get your regulator (first stage) environmentalized if possible, for cold water, 32 degrees, it will tend to work better and not free flow.

Special gear: Clothing:
Being in the water is fun, standing outside taking your turn as a line tender, can get a bit cool. Need to bring warm clothing and a good pair of warm waterproof boots to do all the preliminary work. A change of dry clothes. Several pairs of warm gloves and pants. Rain slickers or rain pants work great. Warm hats, skull cap like. We will try to have all the stuff needed to do the on site work, as long as you can bring personal stuff to be out in the cold and wind and blowing snow from say 10 am to 5 pm.

Special gear: Dry suits.
Dry suits work best, but I have had divers with wet suits do this. Any dry suit will work fine, you may want to bring something to wear under it for added insulation while standing topside.

Special gear: What is supplied in the course.
Where are you located? Will depend on whether you bring a tank and weights or we have to supply them. Usually need two tanks and extra weights.

Where to stay:
We stay in McCall, Idaho. Last year several of us stayed in the new Best Western McCall (about $83 per night) and others stayed in the new Super 8 (about $56 per night).

When to make reservations:
Before you make reservations we need to confirm the exact days. I have selected three months (and have selected three series of days), a series each in January, February and March as ice diving dates.

Who may be involved:
The McCall Fire/Rescue team have expressed an interest again this year to get in and get wet. In addition, several other folks in McCall want to go through the entire classroom/open water sequence.
Several divers from Oregon and Washington have expressed an interest again this year to get in and get wet.

What is needed before you start ice diving and where you can achieve it:
Those of you who may be interested please respond. Advanced Open Water or equivalent is required. I have several more dates for Advanced prior to January/February/March 2001. In no way does a positive response this commit you, this year.

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.


By this message, I am asking Ken, if I have missed anything, in regards to your questions. I will use this message as the start of my notifying those interested in ICE DIVING 2001.

Dear Interested Student: Phil covered the equipment pretty good.

If you dive a dry suit in conditions like Puget Sound, etc., you are already pretty much geared for ice diving, except you will want to have an extra pair of wool socks or some heavier undergarments on. We've had a number of divers with a dry suit and they have reported being perfectly warm. The extremeties (hands, feet, nose) tend to get the coldest.

Service/Maintenance of your gear:
Make sure your gear has been serviced and any maintenance details fixed (it's not a good thing to have that recalcitrant weight release decide to let go half of your weights while you're under 10-16 (3 feet in March 1999) inches of ice with a full drysuit -- ouch!).

Plan on bringing some stick to your ribs; snacks and a thermos full of something hot to drink. As usual, we need to stay hydrated, so water is pretty good to have along, too.

Extra Items (Boots, Rug to stand on and Chair):
The hoof out to the dive site can sometimes be a lot of work and being geared to walk through snow (with good boots) until we get ready to get under the ice is a good thing. Having a folding chair to sit on and a rug to sit the chair on when you get a break is also nice.

Sun and Burn:
The main thing to remember is that after you spend your time under the ice, you're going to be standing around on the ice for a while. Sunglasses and sunscreen are critical; if it is a bright day, we will all get sunburnt from the neck up! Bring attire appropriate for a cold winter day outside.

We'll see you in McCall! -- Ken

We'll see you in McCall! -- Phil

For more information on our ice diving activities, e-mail us at

For more information on our ice diving schedule of activities, check this page Ice Diving Schedule 2001

For more information on our 2000 ice diving discussion of needed items/activities, check this page Ice Diving Info 2001

Ice Diving Photos at Payette Lake March 1999

Ice Diving Photos at Cascade Lake February 1998

Ice Diving Location Photos at Payette Lake August 1998

Ice Diving Photos at Payette Lake 1997

Ice Dive Payette Lake, Idaho, March 13-14, 1999 was fabulous!! March 1999 Ice Dive Report!

Ice Dive Cascade Lake, Idaho, March 20-22, 1998 was fabulous!! January 1998 Ice Dive Report!

Ice Diving Article in UK Magazine 1998

Omni Divers' Phillip E. Graf Writes for North West Dive News!!!Omni Divers 
Advertises with Northwest Dive News! Specialty Article

Omni Travel Adventures member