Angel Wings new route...the scoop!

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bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Nov 29, 2012 - 05:47pm PT
Is the line that continues up the obvious corner halfway up already established? Why break out right?

Must be a pre-established route? Nice route, guys!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Nov 29, 2012 - 07:00pm PT
So sick! What a route, what a formation! Good job and thanks!
Full stoker.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 29, 2012 - 07:12pm PT
Why break out right?

Why burrow back in a slot when you can move out to a more subtle line on a stupendously exposed unclimbed buttress?

Why follow the obvious crack system?

IOW

Why be conservative?


Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Nov 30, 2012 - 11:15am PT
standard issue bolts at belay stations on Valkyrie

I've been researching the art - including the state of art - of bolting lately. What is the "standard issue" in the high sierra these days? Are the bolts in your pic (last page) SS or something other? Are your hangers SS? Thanks!
alpinist

Trad climber
tahoe city
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2012 - 12:04pm PT
just dipping back into this thread with a cool photo that david wilson shared showing the original line on the main wall that was established in 1965 by Steck, Dick Long and Jim Wilson and his dad. The red line is our new line on Valkyrie, the green dots are the original aid line and the red dots to the left
Angel Wings Main Wall showing &#40;L to R&#41; wilson, graber, brand a...
Angel Wings Main Wall showing (L to R) wilson, graber, brand attempt 1985 w red dots/original steck et al aid line 1965 w green/nettle, croft, thau Valkyrie 2012 w red line
Credit: alpinist
is the line that David Wilson, Mike Graber and Eric Brand (solid team!) attempted to free in '85 or so...they were thwarted by having to revert to a significant amount of aid and decided to abandon the attempt as their goal was an all free line.

To address a question a few reply's back about going into the obvious cleft at the halfway point...we chose to avoid it because it was already part of the original line, the buttress looked sweet and the corner was loose and scrappy.

at the point where our route cuts right and the original line heads into the cleft is a large sloped grassy alcove called "upper bear paw meadows" where we found some old rusted cans from Steck and crew's bivvy...
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Dec 1, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
Cool, congrats again! I thought your line shared more pitches with the old one, but it looks like you split off right at the beginning. Someday...
alpinist

Trad climber
tahoe city
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 1, 2012 - 12:26pm PT
in reply to wondering about "standard bolting practices" it's important to note that "state of the art" is not always the overriding criteria. I just recently watched a video interview of Patrick Edlinger (RIP) filmed a few years ago recounting his early days. When asked why many of his early routes were so run out he replied simply that they didnt have any money to buy bolts!

With Valkyrie, when you climb it, you'll be treated to a "clip" along memory lane with an historical assortment of bolts reflecting the various attempts over the years as well as the availability and or changes in bolting gear over the past 2 decades.

Lower on the route you'll find a few 1/4" buttonheads in good shape, a couple 5/16" sleeve bolts (a short lived alternative during the lean years when rawl stopped producing buttonheads and before fixe did..), a couple 5/16" buttonheads and (thankfully) mostly 3/8" x 2 1/4 redheads with fixe hangers..some SS and some plated, but I'm guessing your grandkids will be much happier clipping "old" 3/8" sinkers than we are now clipping manky old 1/4" spinners!

Anyone wishing to replace bolts (that need it) on a route I've put up is always welcome to in the style of the original placement (ie hand drilled). Not so stoked about chopping or adding though..but that's another thread I'm sure! Ha!
dave nettle engaging in "new route therapy" on Angel Wings in 2009...a...
dave nettle engaging in "new route therapy" on Angel Wings in 2009...about halfway up Valkyrie
Credit: alpinist


enjoy!
Dave
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Dec 1, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
Looks killer! Great job!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Dec 1, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
I really REALLY WANT!

Paging Donini...Jim, let's get on that next summer!!!


THANKS for the great post...and AWESOME effort on establishing this line Dave, et al!!!!
David Wilson

climber
CA
Dec 1, 2012 - 06:08pm PT
I was set to have dinner with Steck, Long and my dad tonight but the bad weather kept Long up in Carson city. Their ascent was 1967, just two years after Steck and Long came off the Hummingbird ridge. Those guys were on their game. I'll try to get more beta from the silverbacks when I see them. Their route seems ahead of its time for back country walls.

Our attempt was in the mid 80's. I think we were on the red dots on the left in the pic above. We arrived at the big ledge ( marked in the pic ) all free. Then what looked good from below turned into seams. Eric led off on a pitch above that ledge and pulled out all the tricks, tied off blades, copperheads, hooks etc.......He had come off a bunch of badass EC routes, so he was fine with the turn of events.

Three or four hours into his lead, Graber and I were pretty relaxed, jawboning at the belay, watching a mother bear and her cubs in the talus below. We heard a ping and down Eric came, maybe 50' or more, ending right at the level of the belay about 20 feet to the side. Our conversation abruptly interrupted, Eric looked over and delivered a cool "watch the slack dude " then finished the pitch. We got up under the overhanging slot in the pic and that looked like more aid as well. The whole endeavor had gone from a free climb to a hard aid route and we weren't there for that.

Awesome you guys pulled this route off all free !

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 1, 2012 - 06:45pm PT
Did you guys consider moving right to the upper route on pitch 8 above those roofs?

That looks like it could go in the photo...
alpinist

Trad climber
tahoe city
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 3, 2012 - 06:46am PT
Oh yeah. That was our original "target"...sweeping out onto the upper buttress right above the roofs. but like a lot of Angel Wings real estate, looks can be deceiving... And if you want to snoop around out there, there's a bolted belay station and a few lead bolts leading out there into the void... That direction was abandoned due to very poor rock, and discontinuous features. Peter headed up there and had a couple hours of touch and go just finding a place to wiggle in a shitty cam to lower off of...I;ve never seen him more relieved to be off of something...enough said in my book.

Although the line looks like it avoids good features around pitch 8-9 that's actually one of the more enjoyable sections of the route with steep crafty face climbing into hidden flares and features. No doubt this wall can and will sprout variations along the way, but we were just stoked to connect a continuous, quality line and scamper back to Hamilton Lake for sunset and a mug or two of vino..
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Dec 3, 2012 - 07:04am PT
What an incredibly refreshing and inspiring thread. Great work, guys! This is what it's all about!
MisterE

Social climber
Dec 3, 2012 - 07:10am PT
Great looking line! Congrats to the team for the fulfillment of the years-long effort.

Three or four hours into his lead, Graber and I were pretty relaxed, jawboning at the belay, watching a mother bear and her cubs in the talus below. We heard a ping and down Eric came, maybe 50' or more, ending right at the level of the belay about 20 feet to the side. Our conversation abruptly interrupted, Eric looked over and delivered a cool "watch the slack dude " then finished the pitch.

That is really funny, Dave!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 3, 2012 - 07:17am PT
With all the possibilities on that formation, combined with the size, there should be lots of free routes. I've always thought that just from photos, but the rock quality factor is the wild card, I guess.

The whole formation is one of the most inspiring in the Sierra for sure.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 3, 2012 - 07:27am PT
Dave has apparently found the anti-aging secret. He hasn't change much over the years...well except for losing the mustache:)
Living large
Living large
Credit: can't say
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jan 24, 2013 - 07:48am PT
BUMP and the story from AAJ web site

http://aaj.americanalpineclub.org/climbs-and-expeditions/north-america/contiguous-united-states-lower-48/california/2012-sequoia-national-park-angel-wings-valkyrie-by-brandon-thau/
Impaler

Social climber
Berkeley
Oct 11, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
I highly recommend checking out Alpinist 44 for a quality Peter Croft article about the route.
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