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.  The early reports were written before I had my own website, so don't expect to see images with the early 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 THEM!

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.  A SMALL PORTION OF WHAT IS WRITTEN IS SOMETIMES SIMPLY A FABRICATION, WRITTEN TO MAKE THE STORY "BETTER".  DON'T TAKE THIS STUFF TOO SERIOUSLY.  IT IS MEANT AS LIGHT 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 GOVERNMENTAL OR PRIVATE AGENCY.  ALL CONTENT IS STRICTLY MY OPINION.  IF YOU DON'T WISH TO BE MENTIONED IN THE REPORT, OR PHOTOGRAPHED, JUST SEND ME AN EMAIL (CLICK "CONTACT" ABOVE) TO THAT EFFECT, OR COME BY THE BRIDGE, AND LET ME KNOW AND YOUR PRIVACY WILL BE RESPECTED.  NO ONE IS REQUIRED TO READ THE REPORT.. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT THEN DON'T READ IT.  

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! The costs of doing all this far exceeds the amount of donations received, but without donations, the photography and Report would not be possible.  It is for all the readers of the report, and the climbers in it, that I spend time and money to keep this thing going.

Best wishes,  Tom Evans

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

ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/17

ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo… The great fall weather held up to the end of the season. The hallmarks of the season were the huge rockfalls of late September, early October, and death and injury as you have read in previous ElCap Reports.  However, along with tragedy came the triumphs of climbers who fulfilled long held ambitions and dreams.  Lots of free climbs were attempted on ElCap as a wave of European climbers swarmed over the great rock.  We also got to watch some, rarely done, wall style climbs too. This is the last report of the fall season.  Remember to let me know who the climbers are in the shots, if they are not identified, so I can put their names with their shots.  I received word (11/15/17) that Keita Kurahami who worked the Nose this fall did make a free ascent!  Congratualtions! 

ElCap Report 10/18 to 10/25/2017

ElCap Report 10/19 to 10/25/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo…Unprecedented solid weather seems to be the trademark of this Falls climbing season.  It is too warm for some of the free climbing on ElCap, yet several teams are forging ahead.  Most popular is, of course, Freerider which has been plagued by drop-ins, bailers and fixed-line jumpers.  El Nino, El Corazon, and Golden Gate still have parties on them.  The big free climbing news is the finishing of Rob Miller and Roby Rudolf’s new route on the Muir Wall, just two days ago.  Big wall aid routes are going down in good order too.  Recently we have seen the NA, Aurora, Native Son, Mescalito, Wall of the Early Morning Light, Sunkist, Never Never Land, and Aquarian get climbed, to mention some of the notables.

ElCap Report 10.21.17 New Nose Record

ElCap Report 10/21/17 New Nose Record

By Tom Evans

Yo… It was a cold and dark morning in Camp 4 and I didn’t really want get up… but Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds seemed to be on the cusp of finally sending the Nose, in record time.  This was to be their 11th run up the route and since their last run had broken the 2:30 barrier I figured this just might be their day… so I went to the café around 6:30, gagged down a greasy breakfast, and headed down to the meadow.  I arrived to find that …the story continues below…

ElCap Report 10/12 to 10/18/17

ElCap Report 10/12 to 10/18/17

By Tom Evans

Yo… Great weather, albeit on the warm side, prevails here in Yosemite.  Unfortunately, so does the smoke from the Empire fire, up behind Glacier Point.  So, most of the day shooting is a waste of time as the shots come out very strange looking until the smoke drifts off later in the afternoon.  The roads are a total mess too with paving going on in the camp 4 area and other projects making for lots of waiting in lines.  I had considered leaving this week but some friends are here and we are having a good time in spite of the distractions.  We had a big rockfall off the first half of the 5th pitch on ZM, so that route will have to be reestablished there.  The big rockfall area continues to dribble a rock or two now and then but nothing substantial.  

ElCap Report 10/5 to 10/11/17

ElCap Report 10/5 to 10/11/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo… The great weather continues to bless this fall climbing season.  However, we have a lot of smoke in the valley most days and that tends to put a yellow cast on my photographs.  Due to recent events on ElCap I have fallen behind in the regular weekly reports… so I am trying to catch up.

Today’s ElCap Report..written just for you..unique in all the world!

ElCap Report 10/11/17 Special Edition Texas Flake Rescue

ElCap Report 10/11/17 Special Rescue Edition Texas Flake

By Tom Evans

Yo.. The day started as many do these days..the valley was full of smoke and I was not able to get any useful shots until late morning when the smoke drifted off to the east.  Just past noon a friend came out and we chatted while I was doing my usual morning shooting.  At about 12:30 a man quickly approached and asked if we had seen the big fall off the Boot Flake.  I hadn’t seen it happen as I was conversing with friends at that moment.  He described the fall to me.  The climber had fallen from near the top of the Boot and the story continues below…

ElCap Report 10/5/17

ElCap Report 10/5/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Splendid weather now dominates the climbing season.  Warm days and cool nights are making for perfect climbing conditions.  You need to come on out and get on the great rock as it doesn’t get better than it is now.  The big trades are getting a lot of attention but some interesting climbing is going down on the not so popular, but deserving routes.  This report covers the climbing from 9/27 to 10/5/2017.

ElCap Report 10/2/17

ElCap Report 10/2/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. this report will cover climbs up to the 27th of Sept 2017.  The weather has been solid for some time now but the Big Three are not crowded at all…so this is your time to get going on the route you have always wanted to do.  The news media coverage of the big rockfalls has pretty much gone away now and things are sort of back to normal for everyone but the people involved, of course. 

ElCap Report Rockfall Rescue Edition 9.27.17

ElCap Report Rockfall Edition 9/27/17

By Tom Evans

Yo…The weather has been really nice for the past few days and big wall climbers are back in force.  Today was one of those perfect days that everyone had a nice comment about while hanging in the meadow.  However nice the weather was, the rest of the day was ruined by a huge rockfall that came thundering down the SE face of ElCap, just right of the Waterfall route.  The rockfall struck at 1:51pm with a loud cracking sound and then billows of dust rose from the base of the rock.  Fortunately, there was a strong west wind blowing the dust rapidly to the east, so we were able to see the cliff right away. 

About half an hour before the fall, three people were seen walking among the remains of the last rockfall, from two years ago.  We watchers immediately scanned the base in hopes of seeing three people fleeing the area.  Unfortunately, I was only to see a woman, helped by someone, slowly moving to the west.  Immediately after the fall many people called in to report the rockfall and the possibility that there were people struck by it.  YOSAR quickly arrived on scene, with all their resources, to evaluate the situation and help in any way possible.  The shots below will tell the story, but not in the detail that would do justice to all those responsible for the rescue effort.  Many people, you will never know about, made important contributions to the rescue.  YOSAR continues to amaze with their efficiency and outright courage...dedicated professionals willing to risk their lives to save others... proud!

ElCap Report 9/23/17

ElCap Report 9/23/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I have been here three days thus far and we have had rain, hail, sleet, snow, and wind…with a couple nice mornings and afternoons thrown in, but not together.  The extended forecast looks promising.  The bad weather has not kept climbers off the wall, unless they were low enough to rap to the deck when the weather came in strong.  The Nose has been pretty loaded but has slacked off a bit with the cold weather.  Some interesting routes are being climbed at the moment, so I will keep you posted.  I haven’t been here long enough to get any scenic shots so this report will be just climbing shots.  If see yourself or anyone in these shots that you know please let me know, in the comments section below, so I can add them in the appropriate shots.  Thanks!

ElCap Report 6/30/17

ElCap Report 6/30/17

By Tom Evans

Yo… This is the last Report for the Spring 2017 ElCap climbing season.  I would like to thank all those who have supported the Report with their donations this season.  If you have not yet gotten the shots I took of your ElCap climb then be sure to send me an email (use the contact button on this page) telling me what climb, when, colors of shirts and bags.  When you get your shots you can use the Donate Button, on this page, to make a donation to the site if you wish.  Many thanks!

This has been a strange season with all the varied weather, crazy road conditions, massive amounts of water raging through the Valley, rockfall closing roads and such.  There was not a lot of crowding on the Cap, as the population of wall climbers was down this Spring, most likely due to the heavy winter snows isolating the Valley until the Tioga Pass opened in late June.  We did have some “firsts”, including the first nude ascent of the Nose, done in a snappy 12 hours, and the first free solo of ElCap via Freerider, done in an awesome 3:49.

ElCap Report 6/13/17

ElCap Report 6/13/17

By Tom Evans

Yo… Strange weather has dominated the last week or so. Storms and cold have kept the Captain pretty empty, but a change in the weather is in progress and teams are heading back up on the great rock.  The hoopla has died down about the free solo of Freerider by Alex Honnold and he is off to Alaska for some serious mountaineering.

ElCap Report 6/3/17 SPECIAL EDITION HONNOLD FREE SOLO OF ELCAP

ElCap Report 6.3.17 SPECIAL EDITION HONNOLD SOLOS ELCAP

By Tom Evans

ElCap Report 5/31/17

ElCap Report 5/31/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. The horror show of Memorial Weekend has passed and calm has returned to the Valley of Light.  Considering the time of year and the present weather conditions, the Captain is relatively empty.  The Big Three are still the major draws.  A few parties are climbing on some of the more interesting routes, as reflected in some of the photos below.  The Merced River continues to be right at the top of its banks and we get overflow in the ElCap meadow daily.  Wake up Cubicle Pukes!!  The season is now… the place is El Capitan… so where are you today?  You know where you should be!

ElCap Report 5/25/17

ElCap Report 5/25/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Great weather is the prime motivator these days.  The traffic is at best discouraging and at worst static.  The season has taken off with the big three still in high demand but other interesting routes are going on too.  In the past my reports have been highly organized which take some time to arrange… so now it will be more random.  I keep reading that the ElCap Report is back... no... I only do a report once a week now, unless something special happends... before I did reports every day... every day...every day was just too much for me to do anymore so I have stopped the daily reports.  Expect one a week about climbing on ElCap.  Thanks for your support!  If you see yourself in any of the shots below make a comment showing the shot number and who you are and how your climb went.  Contact me to get the shots I took of your team.

ElCap Report 5/23/17

ElCap Report 5/23/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Great weather abounds as does the traffic here in Yosemite.  Still the Big Three are the scene of most of the action but we have parties on the NA, El Corazon, Muir solo, and Adrift.  So, the season is picking up.  As for the traffic… it is easily the worst I have ever seen.  There is so much construction going on that you can never tell what roads are open or closed when you arrive!  The NPS is doing the best it can with a bad situation and are working night and day to get the roads ready for the summer season.  If you need to go from the ElCap area to the Lodge you best go early in the morning or after 7 pm in the evening… otherwise you will be in lines of cars for hours…HOURS.  I will be writing a climbing Report in the next couple of days but this one will deal with the recent rescue practice, with a few scenic thrown in.

ElCap Report 5/16/17

ElCap Report 5/16/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I have been here almost a week and have found the weather to be pretty mixed.  The nice days are really nice and the not so nice days have been windy, cold, and sometimes wet.  The spring climbing season is tuning up now with lots of action on the big trades… you know the ones… Nose, Salathe/Freerider, and Zodiac.  Some pretty strong teams are due in town soon, so there will be some interesting routes for us to see.  I had decided to go back to dirt-bagging, around the valley at night, to save the expense of driving to and from the Ranch each day.  I made it three nights until the banging on the van awoke me at 11pm with the familiar, “Park Ranger, step out of the van please.”  So that was the end of my dirt-bagging at night in the valley! The Valley is a fresh spring green now and the river is higher than it has been in many a year.  Don’t even think about going into the river…or you will die! Any and all donations to the site will be gratefully received as my gas bill alone will be around $700 for this season. Thanks for your continued support.

I will not be writing a daily report, as I did in the past.  I expect to do a much more general report once a week or so.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a shot of someone you are following, as there are many shots and few spaces to post them.  I am still photographing all the teams I can see, so come by and get your shots.

Last late season shots for ElCap Report

Really late season photos from ElCap 10/24/16

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Storming in the Valley this week.  Lots of climbers are patiently awaiting the return of good weather but this just might be the end for many.  Interesting things going on, or trying to go on, I should say.  Adam Ondra, the famous CZE climber, is here with entourage, to try to repeat the Free Dawn Wall.  Jorg Verhoeven, is here to try to free Dihedral Wall.  You may remember that this accomplished Dutch climber made the 4th free ascent of the Nose last year.  An Austrian mixed team is working on freeing Zodiac and another European team is working on El Corazon.  Rob Miller is back to work his new route up the Muir, as are several others.  Plus, all the regular wall climbs are going on too.  I am out of here in a couple more days to head home to get ready for a cruise in early Nov.  Here are shots from the last several days.

ElCap Late Season Shots 10/16/16

ElCap Late Season Shots 10/17/16

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Torrential rains, riding a wild west wind, swept into the Valley last night.  The water falls are once again booming!  ElCap is pretty empty, except for two parties on SSPO and a solo on PSD.  I have not had a chance to go down to the Cap since last evening and we now have a thick fog in the valley. So it may be some time before anything more is known about the teams up on the Cap. 

Later...4 in the afternoon... went down to the hill and saw that Regan was under the Devils Brow with a huge waterfall going past him a few feet away... still raining as it has done all day.... it is supposed to go all night too.... too much water!!!

But all this weather gives me a moment to post some shots from the past few days… so here they are..taken just for you…unique in all the world!

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