Yellow Bird is the second waterfall you arrive at on the right side as you meander through the narrow and pristine canyon of Valley of the Birds. You already have your crampons on from ascending the WI 2 short pitch that gains you access to the canyon. Continue past Dead Bird (which looked quite dead in March) and Yellow Bird will be hard to miss high up on the right side of the canyon. There are a few short steps, one of which had a log across it. Once you gain this one, head straight up on your right on some WI 2 approach ice that can be rapped on descent from some trees above. Continue to the base of Yellow Bird which is quite the broad curtain, by Valley of the Birds standards.
Route DescriptionMain Pitch/45m-
As with most waterfall ice, there are several line options. We chose the left line which leads directly to a cave that obviously forms consistently every year as there is fixed rock pro with cordellete that reaches out of the cave to serve as a perfect piece of solid pro for the crux move of the route. There is a decent dry flat piece of ground to the left corner that serves as a good belay at the base of Yellow Bird. Proceed up 30 meters of classic WI 4 ice to the cave. You can continue for one long pitch left or right of the cave. The left is thinner and steeper and the right is thicker and more varying in angle. If you want to clip the bolt in the cave, it will require that you enter the cave via an awkward move and thus commit to exiting the cave on straight vertical ice which can be the crux of the route for sure. I brought the 2nd up to the cave and we switched leads out left with a bomber belay in the cave. It is straight on vertical and somewhat hollow out of the left side of the cave, but it is a short piece that leads to easier ground and a tree belay/rappel station. One rap on double ropes gets you back to the base and one more rappel gets you back to the canyon floor to pursue more routes further in Valley of the Birds.
Two Ice Tools, Double 60 meter Ropes, 10-12 Ice Screws with draws and/or screamers (couple of short ones for the left side possibly)
, Crampons, Helmet, Warm Clothes (Valley of the Birds can keep out some wind, but does not get much sun)
, Full Shank Boots, 4W Drive (pretty much a must to travel far in the North Ghost), Shovel and Sleeping Bag, the Ghost can be full of surprises, particularly in February where the drifts have started to accumulate. Many climbers end up parking short of the Valley of the Birds and there is currently (2007) a ban on the river crossings (by vehicle) necessary to reach Valley of the Birds by truck. Poles and a possible 2nd pair of boots are handy for at least one river crossing you will have to make on foot.
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