Widows Tears Ascent 1/13/13


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 108 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Brian Biega

Truckee, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 14, 2013 - 11:01pm 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.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:08pm PT
We're all waiting.....
Stewart Johnson

lake forest
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Brian 10 feet up about to back off on our first attempt on 1/05/13.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:46pm PT
great tease!
can't wait for more!!

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jan 14, 2013 - 11:51pm PT
What ascent of WT would this be? The Third??? I know it's not often sended.

Trad climber
Jan 15, 2013 - 12:05am PT
good stuff guys
john hansen

Jan 15, 2013 - 12:23am PT

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 15, 2013 - 12:25am PT
OK, ready for the next episode.....:D
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 15, 2013 - 12:26am PT
For those of us not among the cognoscendi, where exactly is this ice climb located?

Thanks, eh?
Stewart Johnson

lake forest
Jan 15, 2013 - 12:29am PT
on 1/12/13
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jan 15, 2013 - 12:30am PT
How long is widows tears is it the longest ice climb in the valley?

Boulder climber
Jan 15, 2013 - 12:36am PT
The rock up there looks pretty savory too.
john hansen

Jan 15, 2013 - 12:41am 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

Jan 15, 2013 - 12:45am 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.
john hansen

Jan 15, 2013 - 12:53am 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,,
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 15, 2013 - 01:08am 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.

it had water flowing under thin layer everywhere. Those screws were useless.
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.

Some day...

john hansen

Jan 15, 2013 - 01:21am PT
You know,, now that I think about it these are the cliff's on the left , you see while you are driving by the river between the intersection with 120 and Ponoho bridge.

It makes sense that 41 goes out above those falls.

I would say east of the Rostrum.
John M

Jan 15, 2013 - 01:23am PT
It makes sense that 41 goes out above those falls.

No.. not above.

The climb is above 41

john hansen

Jan 15, 2013 - 01:27am PT
OK ,, got it above the road, thanks
John M

Jan 15, 2013 - 01:30am PT
Watch the video. You will see silver strand falls. Then check out the pictures above the video. When at the lookout outside the tunnel on 41.. silver strand falls is first, then widows tears is hidden by on outcrop of rock, which is why you can't see it from the lookout, then bridal veil falls.

Messages 1 - 20 of total 108 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo Videos

Recent Route Beta