El Cap Report 05/11/08

Yo... all right... inquiring minds want to know... others just want vicarious entertainment at the expense of others. This report is brought to you by Bob and Chris just in from Montana and bearing the promised Cobras to the bridge this afternoon.
Mothers day is winding down and you deserve a few moments to yourself to indulge in your ElCap fetish. Nice day here at the bridge with a full on scene developing by later in the day... tons of climbers came to relax and watch the dazed and confused parties on the Nose battle it out. The weather was quite nice and it was nice to be able to lounge around on the bridge deck and not get run over. A few routes seem to be getting all the action, the usual ones of course. So without further fanfare here is the bilge from deep within the ElCap Bridge, amassed by your loyal, remorseless correspondent on the scene.

Zodiac: The two solos high on the route are off by now I think... they never did join forces wanting to claim the coveted "I climbed ElCap solo" award. The lads finished strong and one was off by 3 and the other close behind as I departed around 4.
Lower down: The guys in the middle of the route climbed into the white circle this afternoon in lightly overcast skies that must have been a godsend for them. They are moving along nicely now and are in the heart of that great Porter route.
Lower down yet: A party of 3, the ones fixing to 2 yesterday got it going early and were all at the 4th belay when I left, flagging a blue ledge.
Even further lower down: A party was seen leading the heap of dung "direct start". I think it was Heather and Steve Schneider with a friend to come tomorrow. They should have a good time up there as the weather seems to be solid now and the route is a casual affair for them.

Tangerine Trip: The higher team from yesterday were past the bolt ladders and heading for the final corner when I left this afternoon. The sharp dressed team from yesterday (red shirt) was way up in the middle of the route and must have put in some good climbing late in the day yesterday after I left.

Sea of Dreams: Josh hoofed by this afternoon on a water run up to the base... confidence seems high... but the hot line to SAR was checked and is still in order.

Mescalito: Turns out that the "Swedes" are not Swedes but a German and a Dutchman... put them together and what do you have? Swedes! Anyway they were moving along a little slower than their stellar start yesterday and were on 8 when I left.

Nose: Ah yes!! The most famous climb in the world, or so some say... Well the top team of 3 from yesterday, lead by a Frenchman whose favorite expression seems to be "Fuck" screamed at the top of his lungs at this two hapless partners who according to reports directly from my listening spies on the wall, are not quite sure just what is going on up there and need to be told everything. But this Frog is a really good climber and is dragging the others up at a good clip. They were leading pancake flake as I departed.
Lower down... I at first thought that the 101st Airborne was on a training mission but it was just ALL THE OTHER TEAMS from yesterday bailing... the highest from dolt tower reached in the depths of the night. A party that was low down yesterday was seen spending most of the day at the top of the Sickle with other teams stacked up behind them unable to move upward. My man Nanook was up moving some water to sickle for his climb tomorrow with Chuck who is coming in late tonight I gather. He regaled the bridge rats with reports of the actions of the other suitors low on the route... too funny to report! Several other teams are lurking around the base waiting for bailers to clear out so they can replace them in the bailing line.

Shield: Looked cold up there this morning as the two guys climbed the Groove pitch to the triple cracks this afternoon with a cold wind blowing at a pretty good clip. They should get in another pitch today.

Salathe/FreeRider: Lucio and James were up on the FreeRider late yesterday working on some pitches... their haul line practically disintegrated before their very eyes but fortunately had a long lead line and were able to use it to rap down.. they came to the bridge late in the afternoon and that static line looked really bad with numerous core shots... almost like the sheath had some kind of chemical or radiation damage. Scary

Party Time: A couple of teams trekked up the perma-fixed lines to heart to spend the night partying in the bosom of ElCaps heart. A safe return was made by all .... rumor has it that one was a gun carrying midget and his new wife.. will grill the others for more information.

In other news. Nanook, who can spot a walrus at 10 miles distance, did spot someone in yellow way over on the west side, probably on Lurking Fear. I was not able to get down there today so anyone on those Western routes got past my eagle eye.
We had a nice day at the bridge. All the usual posse members and a load of other folks came by to hang out and chat for a while. Lee Cossey, from Australia, who did the fine free climbing on the Cap last fall, was back with his fiancé, Amanda Watts, and spend some time at the bridge. He is waiting for his brother to arrive in a few days before attempting another ElCap route, free. The lad is a smooth climber and I have tried to direct him to the Salathe, which has yet to have a free ascent from the ground, all pitches included (no fair using the Monster crack to avoid the 13D pitch, as so many others have done while making the bogus claim of a free ascent).
But he has his eye on another line at the moment. Honnold! Where are you? You need to get on the Salathe this season and put all the bogus ascents to bed, yours included.

So that's the way it is, direct from the most famous bridge in climberdom on this Mother's day, May 11 2008. Those of you not here have another week to drag yourself through before you can get a few hours off... we feel your pain here so will redouble our efforts to enjoy the valley and cruise around doing all the things that you can't....
Later ECP's