Stairway to Heaven
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|Type: ||Ice, 10 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade III|
|Consensus: ||WI5+ [details]|
|FA: ||Jim Knight & Mark Ward 1975 (P1 to P4). Lou Dawson & George Vicenzi 1976 (P1 to P5).|
|Season: ||Winter (December to February)|
|Submitted By: ||John Ross on Oct 29, 2006|
BETA PHOTO: Stairway to Haven 1993. If you look close you can...
(P1) (WI3) 190' The reliably forming first pitch is also known as "The Apron". This area is popular for beginners and top-roping. Belay from either of two sets of chains on a truck sized boulder. Scramble up the slope to the base of P2. P1 can be bypassed via a walk-around to the west.
Safety Note: There is a set of chains on each side of the truck sized boulder above the first pitch ("rock-strewn ledge"). Because of the large amount of loose rock on the sloping ledge there is significant rock fall danger if you rappel from these chains when there is no snow to hold the rocks in place. An easy walk-off to the west via a short (10') down-climb is best under most circumstances. In addition, while approaching and using the anchor chains, kicking loose any rocks on the ledge can be a hazard to climbers below on "The Apron". To avoid the falling rock and ice, most people at the bottom learn to "stay in close" or "well away" from the base of the climb.
(P2) (WI4) Pillars in early season later turn into a fat curtain of steep ice. Over the top hike up the slope to two sets of anchors at the base of P3: Achors #1: Left side of P3 and often ice covered, Anchors #2: right side
(P3) (WI5) Wide steep curtain (pillars in early season).
(P5) Forms late.
(P7) Pillar. Usually the last pitch to form. Walk around this pitch if needed by hiking east along the ledge, up a short 5.5 chimney, then traverse back west to the ice.
Sluffs occasionally cascade down the route from snow built up on the ledges between pitches. A rapid warming for instance can loosen up the snow sending it down on unsuspecting climbers. Could be enough to knock a leader off the ice.
This is the large ice formation west (down canyon) from Bridal Veil Falls.
Protect with ice screws. Bolted anchors and some fixed gear can be found (sometimes covered in ice). It is possible to two-rope rappel down the right side. Rappel to the bottom of P2 then walk-off to the west.
BETA PHOTO: Ice Bouldering the first pitch of Stairway to Have...
BETA PHOTO: Climbers on the upper pitchs. It's been a few yea...
BETA PHOTO: Setting a screw near the top of pitch two. 02/1993...
BETA PHOTO: One of the upper pitchs. 02/1993. Photo by Shawn K...
Stairway condition on 12/08/2006
Stairway To Heaven - all the way to the Pearly Gat...
Stairway to Heaven 2005-06 season P's 1-10 1024 v...
The pillar on P7, Feb 2006. This was the last pitc...
At the base of "The Apron" during the Ice Festival...
BETA PHOTO: Stairway to Heaven 12-17-09.
BETA PHOTO: Stairway to Heaven starting with "The Apron" at the bot...
BETA PHOTO: Upper pitches of Stairway to Heaven (12-17-09).
Me belaying Crisco on the second half of the first...
Bridal Veil Falls (Right) 12/10/2011
Merrill Bitter - mid 80's
|Comments on Stairway to Heaven
Dec 16, 2007
rating: WI5+ R
The first pitch goes 190' to the large rock-strewn ledge. There is a truck-sized boulder on the east side of the ledge, where chains were recently installed (on the east face of the boulder), whereas before there was only a single bolt to b/u a seated stance.
YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO RAP FROM HERE HOWEVER, AS DOING SO WILL SUBJECT YOU TO SUBSTANTIAL ROCKFALL DANGER!!!!!!!
Walk-off the first pitch, 100yds to the west, via a short (10') 5.1 chimney down-climb placing you near the base of a large fir tree.
The ledge where the climbers are in the photo at right is actually only 1/3 the way up the first pitch, where recently several sets of anchor chains have been installed to facilitate easier TR'ing. There is currently a discussion going on within the local ice climbing community whether they will be removed or not, as for the past 20 years top-ropers have practiced their V-thread and Screw anchoring skills in that location. No point in dumbing down the pool of climbers now, is there?
Dec 17, 2007
F.A. Jim Knight and Mark Ward in 1975 (first 4 pitches).
A year later, Lou Dawson and George Vicenzi climbed to the top of the 5th pitch.