Widows Tears Ascent 1/13/13

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Brian Biega

climber
Truckee, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 14, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
"Widows Tears just got climbed! Hello, are you there? What are you doing dude? Wake Up!" Voice mail from Paul sets the hook on 1/3/13. Was it our time to finally get a chance to do this climb? Only time would tell. The following day, we were in Yosemite looking up at the route. 3:30 am, 1/5/13 we left the car hiking up prior to Sundays approaching storm. By 7 am we were making our way back down. The first pitch had pulled away from the wall some 4 inches, would not hold a pick and felt like it was ready to collapse. Crap! Had we missed our shot at this great route by 2 days?



We ended the weekend climbing in familiar stomping grounds, the Whiskey Routes. The Sunday storm moved through California and news from the Internet some three days later notes the 1st 300' of the route fell down. Sounds like we may have made the right call bailing before we even got started.

I dream of climbing, even in my sleep, and I could not get the idea of climbing the Widows Tears out of my mind. Oh well, I leave on Friday to climb ice on the East Coast in hopefully Vermont, New York & New Hampshire. How bad could it be. Yes, that bad as the cold weather is still lingering around California.

1/10/13 Another phone call from Paul confirms I am not the only one Jones'n for this route. "Brian, Gilly can't go, Chip can't go, Scotty too. You are going to have to cancel your flight." Warm temps in the East keeps my partner at ease.

Two days later, we noticed a party four pitches from the top as we came into the Valley around 4 pm. The Widows Tears is now getting lapped. After racking up, we put down a couple of beers at the Lodge eagerly awaiting the next days climb. Social Media for the Widows Tears has got every ice climber within 300 or so miles excited. I say to Paul, "See those guys over there? They are going up there tomorrow." "Those guys?" Paul says. Yes, them also, I reply. Could there really be that many people with the same objective?

1/13/13 3:15 am We pull into the Bridalveil Fall parking area to the sight of headlamps shining from within a Mini van. Paul almost hits my car sliding across the icy parking lot knowing we need to go, and go fast. The Mini van races off turning up 140 towards Wawona. We leave the cars wondering what was that all about. Did those guys go to park at the base? Are they getting dropped off? Yikes, did we miss our chance again? As we walk up the road at a brisk pace we start to question our timing, who may have been in the Mini van and what the route would be like with more than one party on it. Now walking parallel above 140 on a old snow covered dirt road following what look to be our foot prints from the way out a week prior. There are no other tracks in sight. What about the people that we saw yesterday, how did they hike in? As we near the trail head below the climb we see headlamps ahead coming our way. A few steps later we turn off of the road and make our way up the steep slope. We continued moving up the steep trail a mere 50 Meters about the other team. Paul yells a Good Morning Greeting out into the dark night. "Top of the Morning to you!" they reply. Within 5 minutes the glimmer of a headlamp only came from our own, only hoping there were no other parties up ahead.



When we arrived at the base, we found a beautiful 70 meter 8.1 mm rope which appeared to have been dropped which I coiled thinking we would bring it with us. Fat chance. Paul anchors in at the base of the route with that nice rope at his feet.



Paul nears the anchor after the 1st pitch.



Top of the 2nd pitch.



Paul takes the next two pitches. Pitch 3 below.



Warming the hands while following pitch 3.



Pitch 4.



Looking down from the 3rd belay.



Following pitch 4.



Moving into the 5th belay.



Looking up at the final pitches.



Sheltered belay before a the rope stretching Shower pitch 6.



This long pitch was filled with excitement. I opened up two geysers when removing my picks giving Paul a good shower.



Paul follows quickly trying to avoid the shower from above.







Paul moves quickly into his next lead, pitch 7.









Paul tells me to take us to the top and into the heat of the afternoon sun.



Savoring the final pitch.





Paul making the final moves to the top of pitch 8.

Great climb!

We mosied down the Pohono Trail stoked for the adventure.







The Pohono Trail ended at Tunnel View and we walked back to Bridalveil Fall parking area.



Cheers!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:08pm PT
We're all waiting.....
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Had we missed our shot at this great route by 2 days? More to come...



are you the guys who rapped the Nose?




.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Brian 10 feet up about to back off on our first attempt on 1/05/13.
1/05/13
1/05/13
Credit: Stewart Johnson
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
great tease!
can't wait for more!!

BRAVO!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
What ascent of WT would this be? The Third??? I know it's not often sended.
mctwisted

Trad climber
e.p.
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
good stuff guys
john hansen

climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:23pm PT
LL LL

I think this might be 7 or 8 or even higher. Some of the teams do not report.

It has been really cold the last week.




Trade route,,,,,:)

Yeah right. Just dont fall off with it.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:25pm PT
OK, ready for the next episode.....:D
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
For those of us not among the cognoscendi, where exactly is this ice climb located?

Thanks, eh?
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
widows tears and the silver strand on the right.
widows tears and the silver strand on the right.
Credit: Stewart Johnson
on 1/12/13
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
You don't recognize those talus slopes way down there in the sun, PTPP?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
How long is widows tears is it the longest ice climb in the valley?
T H

Boulder climber
bouldering
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:36pm PT
The rock up there looks pretty savory too.
john hansen

climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
PTPP, If I am not mistaken , it is above hwy 41 between bridal vail and the look out. I think it is above the road.
I asked the same question a few years back.


Stewart Johnson, where was that shot taken from? The Reeds pullout?

John M

climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
John, Thats where it is. You can't see it from the lookout just outside the tunnel.. You can see it from the bridge.

You can see silver strand from the lookout.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
It's across the valley from the Little Wing cliff and The Audubon Buttress on the Old Big Oak Flat Road, above Fern Spring and The Pohono Bridge.

The Amphitheater is so deep and narrow it's well hidden.
john hansen

climber
Jan 14, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
It is really not that amazing that a 1000 foot high cliff can go pretty much un- noticed in Yosemite

. An obscure wall in the vally of obscure walls,,
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
Jan 14, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
ive been looking at silver strand all these years, thinking it was widow's tears
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 14, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
I hate you guys! In a good way. Super jealous. Congratulations!

The first pitch had pulled away from the wall some 4 inches, would not hold a pick and felt like it was ready to collapse.

It did fall off! On Thursday! My partner and I were attempting it on Friday and first pitch was screwed. Super thin with water flowing under thin ice. We had to bail about 60 or so feet up. Major first world problem!

What a location though. Hope I have another chance.

1/11/2013 friday
1/11/2013 friday
Credit: Vitaliy M.
views!
views!
Credit: Vitaliy M.
it had water flowing under thin layer everywhere. Those screws were useless.
1st pitch shuts us down
1st pitch shuts us down
Credit: Vitaliy M.
It looked so great above. I am super sad we did not have more days to wait for it to form over the next few cold days.
At least the views were nice!
At least the views were nice!
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Some day...



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