|Bridal Veil Falls
Shaun moved to Utah County a few weeks before the big avalanche that dumped billions of pounds of wet snow into Provo Canyon, covered the highway, and destroyed the Bridal Veil's tram for the last time. He went there for the first time a few days later to survey the damage and walk over the cement-like snow pile filled with rock and shards of trees.
Chris worked on the grounds crew for two summers as a teenager. When the December full moon arrived, it was time to pay it another visit.
They left Chris' around 1:30 and headed up the canyon. They roped up after hiking past the upper falls. After ten feet of ice, the grade sloped off and a rope length got them to the chute with the only serious vertical ice of the day. Which was not all that serious, or at least not after 20 feet. Even so, the exposure was worth keeping a rope on. One slip would send you back to the base of the upper falls. Four pitches got them to the top of the chute and they started up the riverbed. A ravine with another 50' waterfall served as a shortcut to the trail which led to the building at the top of the tram.
|<Shaun climbs past the brief vertical ice with the old tram station next to the Provo River below.||<In case of an earthquake, this might not be the best place to stand.|
|<Chris follows up the chute. There was only enough ice for a
single screw in the entire 70' pitch.
Shaun nears the top of the chute.>
|Shaun ranks this spot as the most beautiful-romantic place in Utah
Valley. It's nestled amid sheer drops, with the river and highway running over a thousand
feet away, nearly straight down. The open court on top provided the kind of ambience where
even the grinch could fall in love. Shaun cleared a foot of snow off a bench and sat down
to just look around for a while before walking downstairs.
The windows downstairs had all been broken out, probably by vandals, and trash from parties lay in piles here and there, but the building was still stunning. Someone had climbed up and held a party in recent months. Formal gowns (bought at discount stores), high heeled shoes, and lacy under-things were strewn about. "That's exactly what I want," Shaun said. "A girl who'll put on crampons and climb up here with me, change, and dance to Glenn Miller."
Chris's crampon fell in half after walking 100' back down the trail. One screw had come loose and fallen out. They headed back inside and found enough copper wire to put it back together.
|<Wanted: a girl to ice climb to the restaurant and then wear this dress and for dinner and dancing.|
|The rappels down went great. The temperatures were perfect, growing
warmer as we dropped. Passing upper falls again reminded Shaun of summer days when he used
to live a mile from the canyon mouth and run to the base of Bridal Veil Falls two or three
times a week. Some days he'd hike to the base and stand in the refreshing mist. Other than
the ice and moonlight, it felt just like that.
Once home, Chris' wife Kirsten made us dinner and his adorable 7 year old daughter Madison got out a rolling pin and worked all the soreness out of Shaun's back.
Stay tuned for photos and stories of the campout to be scheduled up there soon!