OverviewWhite Nightmare is a 200 foot WI4-5 ice climb in Provo Canyon’s Bridal Veil Falls area.
This climb can be done in either one or two pitches. There is no need to wander from side to side—thus rope drag should not become an issue—and so the climb is ideally done in one pitch. This provides a FULL 200 feet of excellent climbing. Two ropes are needed for the rappel as far as I am aware (there are intermediate anchors, but I am not certain that they are located such that a single 60m will reach the ground in two rappels).
From the base of the climb, head straight up for ~100 feet to a prominent ledge. The best line will depend on the thickness of the ice. Typically this climb is WI4 in nature because it gets a lot of traffic—the ice will usually be picked out and stepped out. This midway ledge has a belay on the left hand side, from two bolts or ice screws.
From this ledge, continue up less sustained ice another 100 feet to a two bolt anchor in rock on a snow slope slightly left of the top-out. One can also use trees about 10-15 feet further up for an anchor, if your ropes will reach. The bolts are the preferred anchor, but could be covered with snow or ice in a big snow year.
Descent: Rap to the ground with two 60m ropes. I am not sure that one 60m will get you down using the intermediate belay station.
Getting ThereTo reach the climb, head south from Salt Lake or north from Provo on I-15 to the 800 North exit in Orem (note that exit numbers changed within the last few years—the correct exit number is 272. Drive east toward the big mountains (the Wasatch), continuing into the canyon (left) at a major fork in the road. Drive up canyon ~4.7 miles to the Nunn’s Park pullout, where you can park near a gate. If there is no parking available here, head left under the highway and park on the other side in a larger parking area.
From the initial parking area, head east down a wide trail (packed snow in winter), past a gate and several picnic benches. Continue heading east past the Stairway to Heaven approach gully. At some point on your right you will see Bridal Veil Falls. You can either head directly up the gully to the falls, or continue past the gully and look for a boot track that goes up the slope and cuts back right to the falls. The latter option is easier. Follow the track into the cirque below the falls. White Nightmare is the right-most major ice formation.
A Word of CautionThe Bridal Veil climbs and White Nightmare sit below a major avalanche gully that rips at least once per year. It has covered the highway below before and has killed climbers on Bridal Veil. When avalanche conditions are unstable on north-facing slopes, this is not a good climb to do. White Nightmare may be protected somewhat from a slide, but a massive one could still kill you. Do not hang out in the terrain trap below these climbs if avalanche conditions are unfavorable. A better option in these cases is Stairway to Heaven, Pipe Dream/Kitty Litter Wall, Scruffy Band in Little Cottonwood Canyon, or Maple Canyon further south.
Nearby Mixed ClimbsClimbers on White Nightmare will notice several bolts to the right during the climb, especially on the first 100 feet. These climbs are described in the Wasatch Mixed guidebook by Doug Heinrich and Nathan Smith. In order from right to left (closest to White Nightmare to furthest away):
El Santa Blanca, M4
La Puta Blanca, M5/6
M-Possible Left, M6+
Essential GearStandard ice climbing kit: two technical tools, a rack of screws, helmets. Be aware that two ropes will reliably get you down to the ground in a single rappel--I am NOT certain that a single rope will work to get you off this climb.
Guidebooks and Other InformationSome sparse information on this climb can be found in the Ice Climbing Utah guidebook by Dave Black.
Conditions reports can be found occasionally during the winter in the Utah forum on Summitpost, or on Mountainproject.com's forums or Utahclimbers.com's message board:
Summitpost Utah/Southwest Forum
MountainProject Northern Utah forum
UtahClimbers Ice & Snow forum
Wasatch Avalanche Conditions are available at:
Utah Avalanche Center Conditions Page