Dave Bengsten, Doug Nidever and Scott Brown on a rare ascent of Yosemite’s Widow’s Tears (WI5, 11 pitches), January 17, 2007. [Photo] Chris Falkenstein
California’s recent cold snap may have been disastrous for the citrus market, but it provided a rare boon to ice climbers. On January 17, Dave Bengsten, Doug Nidever and Scott Brown made a coveted ascent of Yosemite’s fleeting ice masterpiece Widow’s Tears (WI5, 11 pitches). The route, established in 1975 by Mark Chapman and Kevin Worral over three days, was a landmark climb at the time, but it forms infrequently, and climbers need to be quick about an ascent when it comes into condition. According to Dave Bengsten, the route was very demanding; the team managed it in eleven pitches, accomplishing some of the climbing on rock in crampons. “They were on it all day,” photographer Chris Falkenstein said of the recent ascent. Good thing: temperatures for the weekend in nearby El Portal were forecasted to reach 60 degrees.