ElCap Report

Welcome to the ElCap Report website.  Below you will find the reports I have written for the past several climbing seasons in Yosemite.  I use a 500mm and a 600mm lens for the images you will see below.  Many of the reports were written before I was able to post images, so don't expect to see images with all the reports.  Originally the reports were done on Supertopo.com so you will find references to that site in the writings.  I started this site in late April of 2009 and have been pleased with the interest you readers have shown.  Website design and operation by Chris Falkenstein of El Portal, CA.  Many thanks Chris!!

IF YOU SEE ANY SPAM IN THE COMMENTS SECTIONS PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON IT AS IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THE BASTARDS!

DISCLAIMER: 

THESE REPORTS ARE THE MUSINGS OF AN OBSERVER WHO IS FAR FROM THE ACTION AND ANY RELATION TO THE TRUTH IS THE MEREST OF COINCIDENCE.  SOME OF WHAT IS WRITTEN IS SIMPLY  A FABRICATION, WRITTEN TO MAKE THE STORY "BETTER".  SO DON'T TAKE THIS STUFF TOO SERIOUSLY.  IT IS MEANT AS ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE MOST PART ALTHOUGH I DO TRY TO GET THE CLIMBING FACTS RIGHT.  THESE REPORTS ARE WRITTEN FOR CLIMBERS SO DON'T BE SURPRISED IF YOU, A NON-CLIMBER, DON'T GET THE TERMINOLOGY.  THIS REPORT IS IN NO WAY "OFFICIAL" AND IN NO WAY REFLECTS THE OPINION OF ANY GOVERMENTAL OR PRIVATE AGENCY.  ALL CONTENT IS STRICTLY MY OPINION.

Read and enjoy the exploits of the climbers who take on El Capitan.  They are a diverse group with a common bond and each has a unique story to tell.

Many thanks to those who have made a donation to the site... all donations are really appreciated no matter the amount!  It is for all of you who read the reports, and for the climbers who are in them, that I spend the many hours it takes to keep this thing going. If you want to read about my life then click on the "About Tom Evans" box above.

A new feature of the site is the Photo Gallery above.  If you just want to see some pics from 2009 then click on this box or click on any images in the thumb nails grouped on the left of the page, or the Monthly Archive for April 2010.   Be sure to click on "original" to see a larger image of the shot.  Enjoy!!

Best wishes,  Tom Evans

  The "read more" for this section will give you additional information about getting pictures and processing, and comments.

ElCap Report 1/14/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 19

ElCap Report 1/14/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 19

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Spectacular weather continued to be one of the main factors in the “Climb of the Century” aka “The most difficult rock climb in the world.”  I got to the meadow this morning around 8am and the climbing didn’t start until 9am.  The team had spent the night on the “Ship’s Bow” and had 4 difficult pitches to do today.  I got word from Tommy that their intended ETA on the top would be pushed back from noon to about 3pm.  The world had also arrived at the ElCap meadow and massive media coverage, including, live streaming video, was beamed all around the world!  The crowd was large and a forest of “Big Gun” telephoto lenses put my little rig to shame!  A festive atmosphere soon developed as the sun came over the ridge to the south and the meadow warmed in the bright California sun.  The climb was far from over and by now you know the outcome.  Pictures of the event are everywhere, so mine will add little to the history of the event on this day.  But, I will post some of mine so you loyal readers can see what I saw and felt on this historic occasion.

ElCap Report 1/13/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 18

ElCap Report 1/13/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 18

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By Tom Evans

Yo..Unprecedented good weather continues to bless this climb.  We had another blue bird day, that was a bit cold at the start but warmed nicely in the morning sun.  Today was moving day. The men need to get 7 pitches climbed to make it to their chosen bivy spot, the Ship’s Bow, high above.  They haven’t climbed that many pitches in a day before and it would be interesting to see if, after all the two day pitches, they could saddle up and ride fast.  It started with the ascent of the photographer’s lines to Wino Tower, which took a long time.

ElCap Report 1/12/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 17

ElCap Report 1/12/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 17

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Today was catch-up day for Kevin.  A good effort would bring each team member’s high point to Wino Tower.  Since Tommy’s high point was already there, Kevin had to climb pitches 18, 19, 20.  The weather was kind of a problem.  The day was partly cloudy and, when the sun was out, it was really warm, but when clouds obscured the sun, it was quite chilly.  There is much talk around town, concerning summit day… when was the question?  Everyone has a different idea.  The media darling of rock climbing, Alex Honnold, said it will be Wednesday, mid day.  I think it will be a day later, perhaps two.  (EDITED LATER.. Honnold was right and I was wrong!)  In mid morning, the day after the summit day, there is to be a press conference, with the men, in the ElCap meadow.  Well…remember Captain Tom’s saying, “You never have it made, until you have it done.”  Climbing to start at 10am tomorrow morning!

ElCap Report 1/10/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 15

ElCap Report 1/10/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 15

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… Day 15 on the climb started out very overcast with rain lurking.  It was cooler too and conditions looked right for Kevin to catch up a couple pitches on Tommy.  Kevin had texted me that they were going to start around noon and I had some interviews to do for the media, so I went early.  By the time I arrived the clouds had thinned out and the sun was peeking through.  Soon the boys were set to climb.

ElCap Report 1/9/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 14

ElCap Report 1/9/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 14

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… Today's weather changed from sunny to cloudy, with a drop or two of rain, every now and then.  The conditions were better for climbing due to the absence of the direct sunlight on the rock.  It was humid and warm in the meadow but must have been pretty good on the rock, as Kevin had chosen this day to make his attempt on the notorious 15th pitch.  The crowd started gathering just after noon and grew with each passing minute.  It was a mixed group with quite a few Tourons who had been following the news and climbers who knew the significance of the climb and wanted to witness the historic event. 

For Kevin it was the day of reckoning.  In the last few days, Tommy had climbed way above Kevin’s high point, and he needed to get past these super difficult pitches, and catch up with Tommy at Wino Tower, and soon.  Kevin was feeling the pressure of all those days, months and years spent working on the route.  Success or failure, the die would be cast today, as he is running out of time and finger pads, so now it's fish or cut bait.

ElCap Report 1/8/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 13

ElCap Report 1/8/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 12

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor.

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Will winter ever come back?  I recall, at the start of this grand adventure, that I was freezing by buttocks off every day I was out shooting.  Today it was shirt sleeve weather in the meadow, until darkness came that is… then I scurried for the car like a flushed quail.  This sure beats a driving snow storm, but that’s about it!  Kevin had another day of not climbing, and belayed in support of Tommy’s efforts to climb pitches 19 and 20.

ElCap Report 1/7/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 12

ElCap Report 1/7/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 12

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… the unseasonably warm weather continues here, much to the delight of the Tourons and detriment of the climbers.  The men have been forced to climb at night, so the rock will be cold enough for their specialized climbing shoes to get maximum traction.  Tommy is really on a roll now and has past the major technical difficulties of the climb.  Kevin is nursing finger injuries, but with a little rest I think he too can get past the hardest parts.  They are a team, and each has spent many days and weeks over the past years working on this climb.  Late this evening, Tommy put the 17th pitch behind and as I departed was starting the 18th.

ElCap Report 1/6/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 11

ElCap Report 1/6/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 11

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. great weather for general climbing and watching the happenings on ElCap.  But, not so good for extreme climbing.  Way too warm on the Cap.  The men decided to wait until darkness was falling to start today’s climbing.  Thus the pics are a bit on the sketchy side… but pretty neat really.  For the past two days I have been handling media requests from all over the planet!  Wow!  What a ride that has been!  You may have seen the nightly news reporting on the climb and the use of my shots in the reporting.  Pretty cool for this old timer!  Suddenly I am an overnight success… only 20 years in the making!!

ElCap Report 1/4/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 9

ElCap Report 1/4/15  SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 9

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Today started out with heavy clouds, low temperatures, and a smattering of light snow.  I hid in the car until I could find out what the climbing plan was for the day.  Kevin was champing at the bit to go back on the 15th pitch which he worked without sending yesterday, late into the night.  So I was ready to set up at a moment’s notice. 
Around 11am the clouds suddenly disappeared, heading south, the sun came out and it was nice and comfortable in the EC Meadow!  Nice for me but not good for the climbers.  So they did a 180 and decided to wait for cooler temps around 4pm to start the climbing.  So I hung around talking to Erik Sloan and later the Big Up crew stationed in the meadow.  Around 4pm the action started….

ElCap Report 1/3/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 8

ElCap Report 1.3.14  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 8

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo … Big time climbing here in Yosemite!  This climb, “The Climb of the Century”, is getting world-wide attention, as Kevin and Tommy are seemingly riding the winds of success to what looks like victory.  The NY Times has the famous reporter, John Branch, here to cover the story.  The story is being carried by regular media, not just climbing related media.  Psyched to be here, in the thick of the action…albeit from a thousand yards away!  But, as you faithful readers know, distance is erased by my Big Gun, which zooms us up close to those micro holds and tic marks.  They have been on the wall 8 days so far… you can smell them from here!!

So … the holidays are over and most of you are back at work.. Cubicle Pukes.. arise!!  Take a break and come with me…your man at the scene of the most memorable climb in many a year.  Forget about those flash and dash climbs and all the hype they generate… this is the real deal and you are right there, up close and personal! 

ElCap Report 1/1/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 6

ElCap Report 1/1/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 6

Brought to you by "Adidas Outdoor"

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Beautiful day on ElCap after several difficult days of wind and cold.  It was almost warm in the sun today… but the long shadow of Middle Cathedral Rock soon dispelled that myth!  The guys had a big day today sending two difficult pitches of 13c and 14d.  If you come to watch them, be aware that they don’t climb until past noon.  Not because the conditions are better but because of logistical reasons.  Tommy and Kevin are responsible for the safety of the photographers so they spend considerable time arranging ropes and belays to keep everyone safe.

ElCap Report 12/31/2014 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 5

ElCap Report 12/31/14 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 5

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor.”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. The weather got a little out of hand last night with busting winds and falling trees.  Kevin and Tommy weathered the storm and when I texted Kevin this morning he said they were going to climb in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, the road from EP was closed for most of the morning, due to fallen trees.  By noon the road was cleared and I headed to the EC Meadow to set up and get what shots I could.  The wind howled all afternoon but I was able to hide behind my ancient SUV and shoot without too much trouble.

ElCap Report 12/29/2014 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 3

ElCap Report 12/29/14  SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor.”

By Tom Evans

Yo… Nice wall weather with crisp blue skies and little wind.  The team climbed today, even though they had planned a day off to rest and give Kevin’s two split finger tips a chance to heal a bit.

I pulled into the line-up around 9am and spotted Alex Honnold’s van, parked just behind Tommy’s Sprinter.  Mmmm … Honnold… what is he up to now?  Maybe he is going to flash up the fixed lines and give the boys a visit at The Camp!  I set up the camera in a spot where I figured the sun would soon appear, and looked to see what I could see on the wall. 

ElCap Report 12/28/2014 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 2

ElCap Report 12/28/14   SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor.

By Tom Evans

Yo… Split weather here … On the Cap it is springtime.. in the meadow it is winter!  The Free Dawn Wall, 5 years in the making, is in day 2 of the continuous push to complete the route.  I spend most of my days here standing in the environs of the EC meadow waiting for something to happen!  No other climbers are on EC now, so mostly I wait, and fight off the cold.  The meadow does get sun from about 10am until 12 noon and actually it is quite pleasant… but the moment the Middle Cathedral Rock shadow arrives the temperature drops 40 degrees… amazing really.  By dark… around 5pm, the cold is intense and I get the hell out of there!  With the temperature inversion, common in the winter, it is much warmer just 500ft above the valley floor than in the meadow.

ElCap Report 12/27/2014 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 1

ElCap Report 12/27/14  SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION!!

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”.

By Tom Evans

Yo… Nope, you are not seeing things, Cubicle Pukes!  I am here in the cold of Yosemite winter!  Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are making, what we all hope is the final, and successful push to finish the most difficult big wall free climb ever done!  I am here for several days, to shoot the climb, and provide some moral support for the guys!! 

So grab that eggnog, put the dog out, and tell your loved ones that you need a little “time out” to hang with the pros, on the Big Stone!  History is being made and you can see it as it happens, directly from the meadow, only on the ElCap Report!

ElCap Report 10/28/2014 THE LAST REPORT FOR THE FALL 2014 CLIMBING SEASON.

ElCap Report 10/28/14

By Tom Evans

Yo… What a beautiful day to end the shooting season on!  Great weather has been the hallmark of fall season, 2014.  I will be leaving tomorrow, so this is the last report of the year.  I hope you have enjoyed reading and seeing the exploits of all the climbers who came and climbed on the greatest climbing rock on the planet… our own… El Capitan.  If you got pics or have not donated to the site, I hope you will consider doing so, as the expense of doing photography and the report is great.  Many thanks to all who have supported the site, and what I do here.

ElCap Report 10/27/2014

ElCap Report 10/27/14

By Tom Evans

Yo… Another killer day in Yosemite, is in the books.  The Nose has regained its popularity, as has the Salathe/Freerider.  Libby and Mayan are making another run tomorrow, starting at 7:30am, so come on down and see the climbing for yourself.

ElCap Report 10/26/2014

ElCap Report 10/26/14

By Tom Evans

Yo… The rain came and went in an hour or so last evening with about 12 drops reported to have actually hit the ground!  Today was breezy and sunny.  The action on the hill was light, as the fearful cowered in their hovels yesterday, awaiting their demise by drowning.   Tuesday will see the girls back on the Nose for another run.  I was mistaken yesterday, as they didn’t start at 6 but 7am.  So their time was within a few minutes of their present record.  Their plan is to take an hour or so off the record, not just break it.  Stay tuned. 

ElCap Report 10/25/2014

ElCap Report 10/25/14

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Nice day here until some high wind and low clouds came in around 3pm and by 5 we had some showers.  Clear tomorrow they say.  Chantel was cooking along, in more ways than one, yesterday.  She had a great time going on her attempt to do the first woman’s solo NIAD, yesterday.   Unfortunately it was unusually warm yesterday, with little wind on the cliff, and she ran out of water at Camp 4 with still over 1200ft to climb.  She was forced to switch to survival mode and ended up a couple hours over 24.  She did run into a team high on the wall but as a solo decided not to ask for water.  It was a great effort on her part and she is disappointed for sure, but will be back in the Spring.

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