Trip Report
Windfall to 1/2 of Wind Chill
Thursday June 5, 2014 4:25pm
Headed up this way to do the linkup in April, got off route on the second half of Wind Chill, escaped.

Rrrrracking up, not all that early

The approach is like Manure Pile but different. Sixty red-blooded American minutes for us.

Tape: your friend on anything gold and up; your enemy on anything red and down. This linkup has plenty of both categories so it’s a head scratcher.

The Windjammer corner, roof, chimney, roof combo – not headed here today. Came back and did this one two weeks later. Oh my god it's good.

Stroll on out the ledge at the base, tie in to a mighty pine at an exposed perch, and head off p1 – bit of funky rock at the start, a sheen of lichen throughout with some tough liebacking before the anchor. The lichen stays with you on this climb but you get used to it.

The winds were waiting for us here, making things semi-cold and intimidating.

Then p2. May the gods be with you on pitch number two! The gods were not with us on this day. Stupid beautiful stout roof splitter mumble mumble.

It would have been hilarious to watch us turn the lip on this roof, Benny Hill music and all, too bad there were no witnesses. Comedy gold down the drain.

P3 is a stunted little traverse across more iffy rock, lil bit jingus through here with goofy pro and easy climbing. Saw a bit of chalk, maybe from Vitaliy and partner the week before.

But then you get THE pitch of the day, or in my case, the pitch of the season (so far). The rock is diamond grade, the jams are mostly thumper, the gear is A-OK, the steepness is bananas.

This pitch is like free real estate.

Hell yeah for Tim and Eric, funny how their bizarre stuff can stay in the mind and percolate up at unexpected times.

Not steep yet:

View all around blowing your mind throughout the day. Someone is going to FA the living sh#t out of this wall at some point.

Getting there on the steepness meter

We both fell on this pitch too – me from a slipped foot while stem-scumming the crux top section (lichen pfft actually just weakness), my partner from flaming out while placing gear on the lead.

Taking in a part of the park that not many visit. Nice!

Luxurious ledge awaits on top of this killer pitch

Not sure how he got the blood up there, but it looked cool.

Was trying to think of other pursuits in my life that I regularly bleed from trying so hard to be decent at. Dental hygiene? Shaving?

After the glorious steep pitch, you get a glorious non-steep pitch, a wavy super-splitter that vies for best pitch on the day with two or three others.

Not clear how stable the big old block is that you jam around

Fat grins, cheerful feelings, cold temps on route. Views get better with each pitch.

At the top of this pitch, Windfall is under your boots, but why stop there with another 8 or 9 pitches to the top of the formation.

Valley floor to rim linkup, that’s become my favorite pursuit in the last year or so. Think about it and there aren’t too many that qualify at a reasonable grade, especially if you don’t count the Cathedral routes, which go to their own A+ summits but not to the rim proper.

So on to Wind Chill, yeah, momentum! Hardest stuff beneath us, feeling good, making fine time… Except this day we f’d up the routefinding, and our cheer turned to ashes in our mouths (distinguished GoT ref). After two more increasingly lichen-covered pitches, we were pretty sure we done goofed.

A look of growing doubt, a whiff of where did we F this thing up? We’d later realize we were standing directly under the correct line. Just looked too improbable, and too unlike the topo, for us to commit to it. The very hard .10c comes up the corner in the background of this pic. Hard pitch, lots o' lichen. We didn't even do this pitch this day because we couldn't find it from below, but did it next time.

We traversed a long ledge about 130 degrees, east and west, around the buttress, and couldn’t figure out how to punch through this headwall:

This is what stumped us, from Reid:

With only one 60m, we didn’t like the idea of rapping the route, so we pushed the ledge west, past some sketch exposed low 5th class, left some gear, and luckily dodged an epic by finding a relatively mellow escape to the boulder field below the falls. For a moment before it worked out I experienced flashbacks to the NutAgain! partnership (love you forever, buddy).

Look at all of this stuff over that way. Phew! Odds are that none of it has been climbed – even the mini-pinnacle? Maybe someone has summited that? Or maybe Castaways is in this frame? Peregrine was on site and upset when we made our way past this amphitheater.

We dried our tears of defeat and loss on dogwood petals, hugged it out, turned tails, and went home, two cams down, too late for the Agave, bleeding, but filled with all that good stuff you get from a day in the Sierra.

Two cams down though!

Knew before we’d hopped 10 steps through the boulders that we had to get back up there, recover the cams left behind, and send the rest of Wind Chill. A couple of weeks later we went back, this time linking Windfall to the Wind Chill summit. Here's that day

The ponderous path we took this day, including the yeller belly escape

Well yeah, now I see the weakness in the headwall. I pestered the hell out of Rhodo and Vitaliy to make sure about the line for rd 2 - thanks fellas.

Some helpful pics of the area, yanked from other ST threads


Credit: le_bruce

  Trip Report Views: 2,457
About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?

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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jun 5, 2014 - 05:05pm PT
it's wonderful up there...
I doubt it will every be very popular.

But who knows?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jun 5, 2014 - 05:09pm PT
Sounds like it SHOULD be's on my short list. Nice going, route finding travails are part of the Yosemite experience!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jun 5, 2014 - 05:25pm PT
Two trip reports on the route this season, what a greased up trade route!!!

Still, I want!

TFPU, looks great
The Warbler

the edge of America
  Jun 5, 2014 - 05:46pm PT
It's a lot more popular now than when Mark an I climbed those lines ; )

Those routes and that area are paced to be timeless

Climbers will catch on in a few decades

Trad climber
New England
  Jun 5, 2014 - 05:50pm PT
Nice one, B. Looks like you had a great day. Hope to see you before long!

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2014 - 06:11pm PT
Matt hey man! Yeah it was a great day. Are you headed out this way?!

Two trip reports on the route this season...

And another comin'...

I'd heard that there was a DFU part up high on Wind Chill, but man I had no idea until I got there. Yikes!

That pitch alone will keep a lot of folks away from this route, or maybe should - I'm not sure I'd repeat it. Quién sabe.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Jun 5, 2014 - 08:11pm PT
Man, I'm all mixed up over here. I've barely been gone 18 months and you're out there in the midst of full value glory days without me. Didn't our time together mean anything to you? (wipes furtive tear)

I love you too bro. Go get some!
this just in

Justin Ross from North Fork
  Jun 5, 2014 - 09:02pm PT
Great tr le Bruce. Not to many get that view of Yosemite, always cool to see some of the less traveled spots. Gotta love when a unknown retreat works out. Thanks man.
E Robinson

Salinas, CA
  Jun 5, 2014 - 10:24pm PT
That's such an awesome area...the wildness of the terrain there is just right. Hoping it all stays an adventure.

Trad climber
  Jun 6, 2014 - 02:28am PT
can you explain better where do you start the approach?
thank you

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jun 6, 2014 - 06:19am PT
Seems like if you can make it up to the DFU pitch you're gonna be fine. And what else are you going to do, bail from the last pitch?

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Jun 6, 2014 - 06:32am PT
Nice exploration, great you went back.
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Jun 6, 2014 - 08:59am PT
Way to get after the obscure.

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 6, 2014 - 09:52am PT
Warbler, G Murphy, and E Robinson all here on the ST - man oh man, you guys plucked some fine lines.

Warbler you have got to have some PhD jamming technique to make that p2 roof feel equal in difficulty to the steep pitch! The steep pitch is powerful and long and it's got that top section, and it's dramatic, but doable for anyone who builds up some time at the Cookie, say. But turning that roof lip felt like nothing a mostly Valley 5.10 climber could prepare for, because where else in the Valley do you get to work on moves that like at that grade? Tech-nine jamming and body language that most Yos 5.10 off-vert climbs can't prepare you for... All of which made it so AWESOME. Sweet, sweet FA. Would also say that Windjammer is nearly every bit as classic as Windfall.

E Robinson/G Murphy - what a great FA on Wind Chill. An indisputable Valley-to-rim classic. Are those first few pitches between Windfall and Windjammer good?

i thought the grades you gave in Reid were mostly right on. The only two spots I felt were maybe sandbagged on the Wind Chill pitches we did were the inch-and-a-quarter .10c, and the no fall .10a slab sequence up high. Though that may have been the mental part of it. No way is that tree holding a fall (or probably even a stiff wind) these days. Thing is toast.

Another of the Robinson/Murphy obscurities I'm borderline obsessed with for the last four or so years is the Cold, Rain, and Snow line over on Sunshine. Can't imagine that has seen many repeats, but damn what an alluring line and position... You guys want to go repeat it with me some time? Ha ha. Might probably be the second ascent.

Rhodo, you're right, rapping from there is unthinkable. But still I guess that sequence could turn some away...

Tarallo, the approach is a put-the-buttress-in-your-crosshairs-and-go affair. No trail or proper starting point.
The Warbler

the edge of America
  Jun 6, 2014 - 04:21pm PT
Happy to hear you guys are having a blast up there. Mark and I sure did.

The roof is tricky, but well protected and over quick once you figure it out. Remember when we did the route it was before cams, 1975, I think, and that steep pitch is so absolutely parallel sided that protecting it with hexes was a challenge, and led to a much greater pump factor.

I recall being able to see Mark's hands thru the crack underneath me 20 ft below as he came up, and the crack's less than 2 inches - it's that parallel thru the crux.

Anyone interested should note the faint water streaks in those photos of the leader on the 3rd pitch, they show the left wall overhangs about 5 degrees, and the right wall around 30 degrees. It's one of the steepest free crack pitches in the Valley, especially at its grade.

We found the best approach to be parking at the uphill end of the long pullout on the N side of the highway. After crossing the old road, stay in the forest rather than the talus or gully to either side, then exit to the right hand talus field when the forest gets thick. You want to arrive at the wall well to the right of the buttress and then traverse left along the base once you're level with the start of the routes.

And don't forget to take a few minutes to crawl thru the exposed slot which leads into The Widow's Tears Amphitheater.


You might end up spending some time in there...

I remember a strong feeling I was one of the first white men to do that traverse and stand inside that massive bowl.

And I would agree that Windjammer is just as good. It's a better line, a little less licheny as it faces more west. I love it's first pitch for its unique character, the roof is clean and classic, the chimney's fun and wide open, and the OW is a classic section of Valley crack that's real user friendly.

The views and location up there are the icing on the cake.

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 6, 2014 - 12:30pm PT
Remember when we did the route it was before cams

Does not compute - another level, another game altogether.

The escape ledge we used was a pretty amazing feature, probably not visited much either.
The Warbler

the edge of America
  Jun 6, 2014 - 02:34pm PT
I bet you could've walked the other way on that ledge and all the way to the watercourse. And beyond for that matter, in fact probably to the other side of the amphitheater and even to the rim.

Perhaps an outing for Dr Hartouni

You were probably the first humans to ever walk that ledge.
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Jun 6, 2014 - 03:35pm PT
Super psyched to see not one, but two excellent trip reports on this route in the last month or so. Great to look at all the pictures to see how it matches up with my dim memory of Wind Chill. I didn't realize that last 5.10a pitch is so sporty.


  Jun 6, 2014 - 06:07pm PT
Always love your TRs le Bruce. Great photos, good descriptions & lots of fun.

Keeping the stoke high, thanks!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jun 6, 2014 - 09:06pm PT
right now my climbing, especially the adventuresome aspects, are on hold, but hopefully not for too long (relatively speaking).

That whole wall is a wonderful adventure land which is unlikely to become popular, but certainly there are worthy routes done and to do over there.

I'd certainly climb with le_bruce on anything.

east of Widow's Tears
east of Widow's Tears
Credit: Ed Hartouni
E Robinson

Salinas, CA
  Jun 6, 2014 - 11:51pm PT
Hi Le_Bruce...I think our first pitch to Windchill was left of Windfall, not over towards Windjammer...lots of fog on the memory from those days though. Would love to read a TR on Cold, Rain and Snow...still one of the most memorable days climbing in the Valley ever for me.
David Wilson

  Jun 7, 2014 - 07:26am PT
Great adventuring guys ! So, given you went back, where in this pic does windchill actually go?

Credit: David Wilson
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 7, 2014 - 12:58pm PT
Beautiful looking crack there!!!!

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 7, 2014 - 06:28pm PT
Gonna shoot you an email, David.

Ed - that feeling is mutual!

G Murph - ah that's right. There is a route that goes up the outside of the Cosmic Winds buttress (where Windfall and Windjammer take the east and west outside corners, respectively). Is it Breezin' that goes up there? Puede ser. It starts just left of Windjammer and looked pretty ok, with some wide and some veg. Goes past the tree on the left side of this pic (my pard is heading up p1 Windjammer)

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