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Routes in The Widow's Tears Area

Lurch, The T 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Silver Strand WI5
Widow's Tears WI5
Windchill T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Windfall T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Windjammer T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


Most of the day in the shade. Consists from The Widow's Tears proper which is ice climbing area in some years in the winter and Tower of Cosmic Wind, which is about 300 yards right from The Widow's Tears.
Tower of Cosmic Wind is on the Buttress which lead to Stanford point via Wind Chill. On this Tower located two stelar routes " Windjammer" and "Windfall"

Getting There

Take highway 41 from the Valley floor. Park at long very narrow not paved pullout Just before Discovery View. From this pullout you can clearly see fissure of Widow's Tears. For "Windjammer" and "Windfall," cross the road and walk up (no trail) to the right. The creek running from Widow's Tears should be at you left. At some point you will find ducks which lead to the base of "Windjammer." The approach routes are class 3 from the right side as shown in Reid's book. The approach takes about 50 minutes.

For The Widow's Tears proper you walk directly up and than follow the bad of the creek. It will bring you to the base where one rope is fix.

EDIT, September 2012:

Some time after I made route approach description, Cal Trans repaved the road and the old location of "very narrow not paved pullout" is gone - and instead it moved up the road closed to Discovery View and it exactly one mile from junction of hwy 120/41. Now from east end of this new narrow and NOT paved pullout - you can see Tower of Cosmic Wind ( place where Windfall and Windjammer located). Even better view of this formation is from Discovery View east end of Wawona tunnel).

From new not paved pullout 1 mile from hw 120/41 go down and toward the Valley about 150 yards until you see open talus crossing the road. From there go up in direction toward Tower of Cosmic Wind try to approach from right side of the Tower follow the talus and cairns.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Widow's Tears Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Widow's Tears
Ice 7 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Trad 5 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Trad 13 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Widow's Tears
WI5 Ice 7 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 5 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 13 pitches
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Alexey Zelditch
San Jose
Alexey Zelditch   San Jose
Making approach description 3 years ago by myself - I had the hope to find Windfall base in 50 min. Yesterday we took 3 hours of bushwhacking ( more than Hans and Honnold to finish the Nose) and did not find the Tower of cosmic wind.
Returned to the car . Found and explanation-with recent road repayment- Long paved pullout moved up the road about half kilometer - and old one - do not exist anymore.
Aproach deskription need to be rewritten Jun 18, 2012
Bryan G
Bryan G   Yosemite
I actually tried to go climbing there a week ago and had the same issue. We parked at the long paved pullout on the right side of the road just before Discovery View. The Reid guide mentions hiking up talus and I didn't see any talus above the road, only forest. Also it seemed like we were parked awfully far to the west. We had a late start and it was already too hot to be making a long uphill slog through bushes to a cliff that I wasn't even sure was the right cliff. We opted for an easy day of cragging around the Wawona Tunnel instead.

I will return with better beta and my nerve steeled for a long(ish) approach. Jun 20, 2012
Eyeball the Tower on the way up, park at the new long pullout, and walk back downhill :( until you are back at the talus field that leads to your destination. Should be 45-50 min. if you get it right.

For added value, continue to Stanford Point via Wind Chill [the obscure Elliott Robinson/Bruce Morris thing] and jog down the trail straight to your car. Don't leave gear at the base if you do this. Aug 1, 2012
Bryan G
Bryan G   Yosemite
When we went back we used a small dirt pullout on the south side of the road maybe a fifth of a mile before the new paved pullout. From here you still have to walk downhill (toward the Valley) for a ways before heading up into the talus at a totally inobvious point. A short ways up you'll cross an old dirt road and there are cairns that mark the start of the best talus field to take. You're aiming for a little right of the tower actually since all the climbs are approached from ledges that lead in from the right. If you come up directly below the tower you will encounter bushwhacking.

If you are unsure what the Tower of Cosmic Winds is (we had no idea what it looked like) it's the large "tower" looking thing to the right of the Widow's Tears. The Widow's Tears is the pretty obvious bowl/recess which has a seasonal waterfall that comes down the middle of it. 45-50 min approach is about right, but it'll probably feel like longer, haha. Aug 6, 2012

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