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dirko


Dec 11, 2003, 12:23 PM
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Winter Walls
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What are some good destinations for winter wall climbing? I will be hitting the road after I graduate next week, and I want to get on some walls this winter before I have to start to work in the spring. Probably make it out West by late January. Yosemite and that thing down in Baja are too far away for me, but I am going to visit friends in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah.

I want to hit up Zion, but I was wondering if falcon closures or low temps are prohibitive to climbing. I know there is climbing in the Fischers etc. but correct me if I am wrong when I say that I think they are all death routes. I have only done walls in Yosemite and North Carolina, so I am not familiar with this area of the country. So, are there any other big wall destinations in the Southwest? Thanks!


atg200


Dec 11, 2003, 12:47 PM
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late january will be really cold in utah, though if the weather is good you may be able to get on some things. there are some pretty casual routes in the fishers, but you usually fix and fire rather than spend the night. the colorado ridge on the kingfisher is very moderate and gets a fair bit of sun, but has long strings of mank fixed gear. phantom sprint on echo tower is awesome, but gets zero sun at all so it will be really cold. the sundevil chimney on the titan is very sunny but you may want to bivy on it with how short the days are. finger of fate on the titan is pretty shady and cold. the rest of the routes are pretty much death routes.


poorboy


Dec 11, 2003, 1:33 PM
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El Trono Blanco, in Baja Mexico -- a good adventure!

Rainbow Wall, Red Rocks (cold though)
Buffalo Wall, Red Rocks

zion is cold
so is moab


idahoclimber


Dec 11, 2003, 2:18 PM
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depending on the weather you may be able to get on to something in the City of Rocks in Idaho. The park closes it's roads in the winter but the climbs are worth the hike!! Plus they just opened Castle Rocks this past summer!! good climing there too. But it all depends on the weather.


dirko


Dec 11, 2003, 3:04 PM
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Big walls in the City? I appreciate the feedback but I am not sure that they are there, didn't see any this May when I was....if there are, please I would like to know......that is right on the way home for me.


lambone


Dec 11, 2003, 11:36 PM
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it's big wall climbing...wear gloves and a jacket...sheesh. How do you think people climb wals in Baffin, Patagonia and Pakistan?


alpinelynx


Dec 14, 2003, 1:09 PM
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Yosemite in winter is crap. I got to spin brodies in the camp 4 parking lot. Go to Mexico.


copperhead


Dec 14, 2003, 10:58 PM
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Well, considering that they burned El Cap Meadow, it must be a trash zone now so maybe I'll go down and see how many donuts I can do on my bike in the snow before I get arrested... the green grass will cover it all up in the Spring, right?


Winter sucks but moist dirt/DG is dreamy.


Don't become a popsicle; winter walls can kill you quick. If you don't freeze, you'll be dodging chunks of ice that zip past your head. Yeah, that's fun...


Partner euroford


Dec 15, 2003, 1:06 PM
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i keep kicking around the idea of heading to yosemiti for some winter climbing. i need to buff up on my crap weather big wall skillz. i got the nice weather big wall skillz and the crap weather (alpine and urban) skillz, but to complete my long term goals i need to combine them.

i'll be heading to pakistan next season on a recon mission (visiting family in karachi, then traking to k2 and scopeing some walls on my way) for some future climbing. (note: no commitments on what i have in mind till i finally see it, testicular shrinkage might put an end to these plans! haha).

i don't mean to hijack the thread, but it seams apparent that if you wanna do winter walls in pleasant weather mexico might be the only sure bet. but what do you guys think a good choice is for winter walls in winter weather??


iamthewallress


Dec 15, 2003, 1:26 PM
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In reply to:
what do you guys think a good choice is for winter walls in winter weather??

Yesterday as I was hanging out in Yosemite valley NOT climbing because of the sog-factor, my partner and I watched El Cap ooze and were talking about some of the things you brought up in your post.

We noted that we were the only people parked by the meadow and that the same hardfolks that line up for El Cap in September would sell their dog to experience crappy weather on the walls in Baffin.

But then we reasoned that much of El Cap is probably neither cold enough nor warm enough to climb in the winter...Too much freeze/thaw resulting in waterfalls that trump your Gortex outfit and plenty of ice missles whenever the sun comes out. If it was reliably colder, it might be better. The super-overhung spots (ZM) were quite dry though.

So I guess my question to the people who climb winter walls in places where there is wintery weather, do you look for stuff that is so cold that running water and/or rain isn't an issue?


afiveonbelay


Dec 30, 2003, 8:12 PM
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Years ago I remember seeing the Sandias (NM) at sunset. Wasn't climbing then. Anybody have beta? Those cliff faces seemed 1500' at least.


atg200


Dec 31, 2003, 6:36 AM
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there is a guidebook that covers the area, and you can pm grippedclimber - he has done some of the big aid lines. heinous approach, but some cool looking routes.


guanoboy


Jan 1, 2004, 8:29 PM
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I am planning on fulfilling a sick, but long-standing desire to solo the zodiac in january or february. I was hoping there may be some experience out there in this field. I may be ahead of myself, but previous winter solo's (back east) have me most woried about slabby snow on top - any winter el cap experience out there?
thanks


escale


Jan 14, 2004, 10:46 AM
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Afiveonbelay:

Concerning the Sandia Mountain Range, there are a few used books for $4.75 + shipping Mike Hill’s Hiking and Climbing guide to the Sandias at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0826313418/ref=ase_bridgebooks/104-5965871-7547946?v=glance&s=books

I have the 3rd edition of this book, copyright 1993. There are 61 major sections and there are 280 routes documented. That is an average of only 4.6 routes per section, so there is some room to climb your own variation. This is why the RockClimbing > US > NM > Sandia Mountains area is so thin; no one wants to type in all the beta from Mike Hill’s 242 page book. A few of the routes are single pitch 80 feet, but many are multi pitch, with the longest being 13 pitch Rainbow route 5.9+ on the Shield. I believe the longest direct line is about 1200’ft. The Sandias are granite in composition and loose in areas, so a helmet is standard climbing equipment here. There is some aid climbing here, but a majority of it is traditional climbing. Currently in January, it is very cold up there. Although Albuquerque can get highs nearly 60’F in the day, it is at 5300 feet. The Sandias top out at 10,600 and is easily 15 to 20 degrees colder than the town. I will probably wait till end of April to get on these climbs myself, but I’m a cold weather wimp.

Go to NOAA current weather report at:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/data/forecasts/NMZ010.php?warncounty=NMC001
to get a current idea of the weather forecast there.

Most everyone drives to the top, pays the US Forest Service parking fee ( currently $3.00/vehicle, but yearly parking passes are available) , hikes down to the base and then start their climb. Currently there is a ban on bolting and the standard Sandia Trad rack has small to medium nuts and cams and long runners. Climbers can either leave gear on their retreats if caught in infrequent storms or out of time, but almost all routes have a 4th class hike back to a trail from the top of the climb. We got caught once on “Hole in the Wall” 5.8, 300’F on the top of the 1st of 2 pitches because of an approaching thunderstorm. Each member of our team of three left 1 piece of gear and we rapped out on a two-rope rappel. We came back the next day, climbed to our rap station, did the second pitch and hiked out with all our gear.

There is a closure of the areas: Shield, Needle and Prow from March 1st to August 15th to protect endangered migratory birds. Penaltites for getting caught, up to $10,000 fines and / or up to 1 year jail. Climbers have been busted. But that closure only affects 5% of the climbing area.

Site with views of the Sandias: http://www.cybergata.com/sandia.htm

Site with some pictures of a few peaks in Sandias: http://www.cs.nmt.edu/~andy/rockalbq.html

---Escale


grippedclimber


Jan 14, 2004, 6:03 PM
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The only real Big Wall in the Sandias is the Shield. There is a grade six, Purple Haze that is 13 pitches, 5.11R, A4+ and has seen only two ascents.There are a couple grade fives. The Rainbow route is grade five and A4, 5.9+, 13 pitches, 1,300ft

The Shield is really hard to approach and descend especially in the winter. There will be snow in the shade and ice in the cracks. It will be very cold at night but can be plenty warm during sunny days. The wind can whip up there and it really will get cold. The city is visible, but don't be fooled this area is remote. The wall is awesome however so check out mick Schien's guide "Sandia Select" for a topo of the haze. The other aid routes are mostly free climbing (the haze is alot of free as well) and are in Mike Hill's classic book. Perhaps the best free line is Rainbow Dancer.

There are many great multipitch freeclimbs in the 'Dias. Some are very commiting. Rock quality is generally good but can vary, this is an alpine area. Wear a helmet. Approaches can suck.


matd


Feb 17, 2004, 6:25 PM
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Zion is the place for winter walling. Temps can be a bit cool...OK damn cold sometimes and there is always a chance for snow, but pick a wall in the sun (ie. space shot, desert shield,Iron Messiah, Muria del Sol, moonlight, luner X, ect.) and you'll be fine. enjoy.


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