Recently, I've been attempting these climbs on short trips (less than a week) from home because of my family and work responsibilities. Some people have termed this kind of climbing "smash and grab", but I prefer "ninja alpinism" and have a great story to share from this past weekend that definitely qualifies as a sneak ascent...
|Widow's Tears, ~1200 ft of continuous ice, in Yosemite National Park|
Unfortunately, I was stuck in meetings until Thursday, January 18th, and the temperatures were warming up. Florian Dörfler, a climbing partner of mine who lives in Santa Barbara, was game for a crazy mission. He picked me up around 10PM on Thursday night and we drove straight to Yosemite, stopping at a massive 24-hour grocery store in Fresno for supplies and at Greg's house to pick up ice screws and a hand-drawn map of the approach and descent. This climb would not have happened without Greg's map, which gave us just enough information to find the route and the descent, leaving the spirit of adventure alive on the route itself.
|Just a small part of WinCo, the largest grocery store I've ever been in. We lost time on the drive just because we wandered around forever looking at all the different food!|
|One of our better finds at WinCo, fresh cinnamon rolls at 1AM|
|Florian starting the approach after no sleep and driving all night|
|Florian soloing up the approach ice and snow before Widow's Tears|
|Myself leading our 3rd pitch, where the ice quality dramatically improved|
|We thought we could reach the rim on our 5th pitch, but had to stop and belay for one last pitch after simul-climbing for a bit|
|Looking down at Florian on my way to the top of the climb|
|The view of El Capitan across the valley when we topped out|
|Florian starting the descent through the woods|
|Florian about to receive a Yosemite education in hand-stacking|