The Angel Wings is the beautiful 1,800-foot granite wall standing as the northern sentinel to the Valhalla Cirque. The sheer south face is the largest rock wall in Sequoia National Park and host to a number of dramatic climbs. The first ascent of this face (V 5.8 A4) was made in August of 1967 by the team of Allen Steck, Dick Long, Jim Wilson, and Les Wilson. On the first ascent of the wall, the team ran into a scary section of fractured rock in the upper reaches of the wall and graphically named the pitch “House of Cards.” Galen Rowell wrote, “Angel Wings is an alpine El Capitan, cleaved out of massive granite and rising 1,800 feet above [Valhalla]. Unfortunately, we didn’t climb the biggest face. Not because we were content to leave such difficulties to a future generation, but rather for the reason that it had already been ascended by a past generation. In July 1967, a disgustingly energetic party of mule-supplied, middle-aged men (Steck, Long and two Wilsons) walked sixteen miles from the road head and spent four days on the face. They had the audacity to break all traditions and ascend the most formidable face on the mountain before any other routes had been made. It was one of the most outstanding rock climbs in the United States outside of Yosemite.”
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