Trip ReportWindjammer to Wind Chill
It's said that good things often come from failure. There are parables about it, and this TR could qualify as one as well. We had failed two weeks earlier - here’s that TR: http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Windfall-to-1-2-of-Wind-Chill/t12383n.html); - now we were back to collect the good things: linking into Wind Chill (~8 pitches, .10c) from Windjammer, a 3-pitch .10c that takes the western side of the Tower of the Cosmic Winds on Stanford Point.
Windjammer starts left of the two pines at center-bottom of this pic, just right of the sun/shade line, and goes up to about 30% height of the buttress ending on a cool pedestal. Wind Chill then follows the sun/shade line just about perfectly for another 8 or 9 pitches to the Valley rim.
Not a shabby looking line, right?
Wawona Tunnel’s eastern end - nice place to start a big day again.
My partner is wearing his gf’s glasses for the day because he lost his many months ago. At some point, the item is no longer borrowed but usurped.
Upper buttress, which we failed to crack the routefinding code on two weeks ago.
Nice things to look at up high and down low. Lots and lots of flowers up this way near the base.
Behold: Windjammer (stout .10c, .10b hands past roof, .10a excellent and wild OW), our first climb in the linkup, showing its corner-roof-chimney-roof combo. Bit intimidating when we stood underneath it!
This is P1, a stiff start to the day with several cool sequences, some powerful pulls, and some crux climbing a moderate distance above small gear. P2 roof looms above like a beast about to step on us.
P2 is a classic pitch with so many perfect hand jams that you start to laugh and hoot. Go ahead, there is no one around! It traverses out a big roof with good exposure and position before punching up an overhang, through a slot, and into the main chimney – 90% on sinker #2 hands. Looking down at the p1 belay from below the roof.
P3 is a clean, wavy, and polished chimney that leads inexorably toward a very mean looking roof capping the right side of the tower. “Surely there must be an escape?” To me, this pitch wasn’t too far behind storied pitches like the Ear and the Narrows in terms of memorable, unique climbing. No pics - go see for yourself! My favorite pitch on Windjammer, though each pitch is great.
At the top of p3, Windjammer is done, Wind Chill begins, the views begin to open up. I was breathing heavy from the OW finish but felt properly fired up to make right what once went wrong (Quantum Leap great series still holds up) on Wind Chill.
Loving this rope, first PMI I’ve had, won’t be my last. We had a good run, Beal, and your price was always right, but I’m just not that into you anymore.
Wind Chill has a lot of different types of climbing, some of it pictured here:
Footwork is a much different undertaking when lichen is abundant, especially on laybacks and smears.
Hard not to keep looking over your shoulder at the view. So many formations with so much good climbing… Psyched men and women are on all of these formations pushing their own limits and pulling hard every minute of every day.
I think about that when I look out from whatever scary pitch I’m clinging to. Tacit, remote, intangible Valley camaraderie flowing like a river between the Valley walls, always there, I just reach out and take a ladle full to lift my psych when I need it.
NutAgain and I once tried to do the Bridalveil East line which goes up the left side of the falls in just about these exact conditions. We are not clever men.
The Widow’s Tears amp is a nice place to gaze and gaze.
Not much potential though.
Blue skies above.
We’d left two cams to escape from a ledge last time – here goes the partner to fetch ‘em. We fixed a line, did a rap, traversed an exposed ramp and 5th traverse all over again. Cost us an hour but so worth it to recover a .75 and a 1. I’d have gone to much greater lengths in a heartbeat.
Back on route and onto new ground for us. In the first 10 feet of new climbing, we trundled a pretty big loose flake. Bit higher we found some righteous and unexpected tree climbing.
Who left this tree in the crack we are trying to climb:
Got some belly laughs out of my pard’s work on this trunk-mounting maneuver. I’m sure I looked the same when I did it, but no one saw or photographed me. It looks a bit to me like he's desperately trying to pry the tree out.
Always love tree climbing on route, and nothing compares to the Chockstone Chimney in that category.
Back to pulling on stone.
We kept finding more good stone and good climbing, with some awesome chimney and some manzanita swimming mixed in.
Slow moving clouds over the Sierra all day.
Still a ways to go, but getting there.
More of an aerodynamic look to the Cap from this angle.
Up high, there is some DFU climbing protecting the summit. And then a final short but high quality headwall and you’re home free, on long granite slabs that lead up to the rim trail.
The Valley puts on a suit of gunmetal grey at about this hour every day.
Headwall in last light.
Wish this one wasn’t blurry.
Time to get home.
We topped out a bit before dusk and hiked the 4 mi back, mostly a gradual descent through peaceful forest in the warm dark.
Between the end of the work day the day before and the arrival back home after the climb:
7 hours of driving no traffic.
6 hours of cave sleeping.
2.5 hours of hiking, 1 in the morning light and 1.5 in the peaceful dark.
12 hours of climbing.
The day is done, the feeling is good. Point the car west and turn up the music – new Beck CD just right. Back to Oakland 27.5 hours after leaving, missing the targeted 24 hour door-to-door by a slim few. The dog was wagging her tail at the door when I pushed through at 2am, everybody else out like lights. Win some, lose some.
Best to focus on the wins.
Recent Trip Reports