Bridalveil East, Aqua Variation, Bridalveil Falls 5.8
Avg time to climb route: 4-6 hours
Approach time: 10 minutes
Descent time: 1.5 hours
Number of pitches: 8
Height of route: 800'
OverviewFrom the 1971 Roper Guide: Bridalveil Fall - East Side
IV, 5.8, A1. First ascent on August 30, 1957 by Mark Powell and
Warren Harding. Walk up the bed of Bridalveil Creek until it is
possible to climb up third class rock to the base of a prominent, terrifying
chimney system, some 200 feet northeast of the Fall. A very
steep, round buttress lies just a few feet left of the main chimney.
The first 200 feet of the climb, very steep and continuous, go up
cracks about 20 feet right of the main chimney. Near the top of the
second pitch traverse left into this chimney. Two appalling chockstones
are passed, surprisingly fifth class (5.7). Fifty feet above these
chockstones is a blocky belay ledge. Stay left and ascend a very steep
wall (5.7) to a tree. Move up and right into a difficult (5.7) chimney
that leads upward to a point where further progress becomes somewhat
doubtful. Three to four direct-aid pitons lead up and left to a
short friction slab. Above, class-4 climbing leads up 200 feet to the
brush slopes just above Bridalveil Creek. Carry a few 1-inch angle
pitons to supplement ten additional ordinary ones.
In September 1961 Royal Robbins and Rich Calderwood made a
major variation which turned out to be all fifth class. From the blocky
ledge above the two chockstones, traverse right (5.8) for 15 feet to
a prominent lieback crack. Follow this for a few feet, then traverse
right into a gully. Follow this to a point about 40 feet above a tree.
Traverse right and climb onto an obvious ledge. At its south terminus
descend a few feet to a spectacular, exposed hand-traverse (5.6)
which leads to a large tree only 40 feet away from Bridalveil Fall. A
steep corner containing several large flakes leads to an easy chimney
which ends in brush slopes above Bridalveil Creek. A few bong-bongs
should be included in the hardware assortment.
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