Bridal Veil Left is the left-most of the three typical ice formations in the Bridal Veil Cirque (just to the right of the main falls). The climb is 180 feet and is rated WI4-5. Whereas other climbs in this area with a similar rating are often WI4 in nature, this climb is usually more serious than either Bridal Veil Right or White Nightmare. Its close proximity to lots of moving and spraying water means that the ice quality is often negatively affected. This means that climbers should be prepared for a long WI5 pitch with chandeliered, occasionally rotten ice and somewhat dubious protection.
Climb ~90 feet of steep ice to a midway ledge, at which point the climb continues trending very slightly left over more steep ice to a belay among bushes and trees. There should be a slung tree available for the anchor. Descent is made using two 60m ropes via a single rappel. Those who brought only a single 60m rope will need to construct a V-thread and do two rappels. DO NOT reuse other parties’ V-threads blindly—they may be quite old and weak. Inspect V-threads and back them up with your own, freshly-constructed ones if at all possible.
A climber approaching the end of Bridal Veil Left (climbers also visible on Bridal Veil Right Bridal Veil Left in less than favorable conditions.
To 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. Bridal Veil Left is the major flow to the right of the main falls. Be aware that the climb DOES NOT actually follow the right edge of the falls closely, as the ice here is incredibly rotten and unstable. The climb is almost certainly further right than you might assume—starting near the start for Bridal Veil Right, but trending slightly left rather than slightly right as you ascend (see photos for more detailed information).
A Word of Caution
The 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. Climbers on Bridal Veil Right AND Left will almost certainly be hit by and killed by any avalanche coming down this gully while climbing or hanging out. Do not spend time in the terrain trap below these climbs if avalanche conditions are unfavorable. Better options in these cases is Stairway to Heaven, Pipe Dream/Kitty Litter Wall, Scruffy Band in Little Cottonwood Canyon, or Maple Canyon further south.
Standard ice climbing kit: two technical tools, a rack of screws, helmets. A 60m rope and V-thread material or two 60m ropes. Avalanche beacons, shovels and other gear would be well-advised, though searching for your partner will almost certainly be futile if an avalanche comes through this area, as they are massive.
Guidebooks and Conditions
Some 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