Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 20, 2009 - 07:52pm PT
I wrote up a retro report of a scorching day in August 2007, when Thanh and I climbed Bridal Veil East.
The executive summary:
Two stars out of three for route quality
Three stars for location/view
Possibly only climbable in a drought year
About 11 pitches, but could go in less
Surprisingly tricky route finding, top is particularly confusing.
If it gets enough traffic this year (and we have drought conditions), it could be a three star wonder.
A moderate 5.10, short approach.
Probably best done mid-week, as park service doesn't so much care for us ruining the tourists' view of the water fall.
The "midget chimney" noted in the topo is a hand crack - there is no chimney up there.
We may been off route at the top, and perhaps ended up on something else.
It was 90 degrees out, we didn't have enough water (3 liters between 2 ppl), and drank out of Bridal Veil Creek... and didn't get sick.
You climbed to the right of the actual route, maybe near where Karl and Mark climbed a couple of years ago. The photo overlay line in the latest "Free Climbs" guidebook is misleading - too far to the right. So that probably led you to climb out there. Your pitch 10 is part of the Aqua variation, which then traverses right where you continued straight up. The most helpful route description is in the 1964 Roper guide, which describes the main chimney system which the route follows, including the "appalling chockstones".
Below is a photo overlay of the route, from my report on doing Bridalveil East Aqua var. in October 2008.
Still, as long as you had a good adventure, that's good! But it does explain why it seemed like the Midget Chimney was a hand crack.
In your summary of the route, you called it a "moderate 5.10", but perhaps you should mention that you aided two of the pitches up high, so 5.10 A1, or as you speculate, it might go free if not tired/dark?
Ok, that's hilarious! We were totally on something else - call it "The Groom's Variation" - I got married a few weeks earlier. Whatever it was, the route was good fun.
I said "moderate 5.10":
figuring it would go free if we weren't tired and dehydrated
incorrectly assuming that we were on the correct route and just feeling weak
So, 5.10b A1? It'll certainly go free still in the 5.10 range.
We did the route in late August 2007. And it turns out some other folks were up there in 2008! I missed their reports, but looking through them right now! In a nut shell, the route we did looks a hell of a lot less wide-crack than those chimneys (translated: way less painful). I love my wide crack, but given the chance, I'll pass.
So, what did we climb?? I'll dig through the Roper guide to see. The one aided pitch (#7) was probably new, given the volume of dirt compared to the rest of the route even though below had a fixed anchor (perhaps to bail). The roof exit up high had been cleaned for sure. And there was a fixed anchor at one point.
Again, if it's a drought year, go up and get the FFA if it hasn't been done.
" Probably best done mid-week, as park service doesn't so much care for us ruining the tourists' view of the water fall. "
Not really, like you said, you can't do the route if there's a waterfall worth watching so you might as well give the tourists something else to watch.
My brain is foggy on the route we accidentally did. That roof exit looks pretty familiar (Aided some of that) . Did you have to squeeze through an evil tree below that? I'm pretty sure you started and finished where Mark and I did, with some different paths in-between.
In any case, the route we did doesn't rise to two stars but was certainly an adventure. The route reminds me of those fortune-telling Eight Balls cause it's dark rock and it's always serving up an enigmatic surprise.
I seriously doubt I could go back there and do it right. Peter Haan and some books claim there is a 5.8 way up there but I'd have to be guided to find it!