El Cap Report 05/18/08

Yo... put on your sunglasses and settle back with a cool one because most likely where ever you are it is cooler than it is here. The weather these past days has been blazing hot. Parties are wisely delaying starting or have fixed and come down for the duration of the hot spell. Valley temps are in the 90's on the floor and there is little wind up higher. If you have some time please consider a few days off. Tuesday it is supposed to dip back into the seasonal 70's. We sought shelter in the shade of the east side of the ElCap Bridge to watch what action there was up on the wall in sweltering conditions. The river is really high and flowing fast ... the falls are busting big time. I got to the bridge a little late this morning after doing the walk of shame for my buddies in the Cafe. Several of the posse showed up to lounge at the bridge today.... Lance, Aaron, Dave, Matt, Nickie, Julia, Lucho, Brits John and Ron and some others were there kicking it back with cool cobras.
So here it comes... the ElCap report for today brought to you on the back of DT bringing the last of our gear down from LF in the blazing sun this afternoon.

Zodiac: Saw a party of three with a lot of bags climb from the top of 4 to the end of the Black tower pitch in the sweltering heat. Hopefully those big bags were full of extra water as they will surely need it... They have gotten the work on the "proper" ElCap dress and were sporting nice colors for the photos.

Tangerine Trip: Did catch sight of a party of two heading toward the long bolt ladders high on the face. I missed most of their climb as I was absent for a while... They looked solid today.

Lost in America: A team of Belgian climbers were on the route today finishing the 2nd as I departed around 4. Another crew dressed in worthy colors.

PO Wall: I am guessing these guys were on the PO to start with but don’t know for sure. They were in the Bearing straits and making good time up to Island in the sky.

New Dawn: Got word the other day that the dynamic female big wall climbing team of Holly and Lorna were going on this route and sure enough they were seen climbing onto ECT. They had the shade all afternoon after what was surely a baking morning.. This team did some really nice ElCap routes last year and are back for more. At this time they are the best female team of valley locals.
Lower down was a solo in an orange shirt. good luck man!

Nose: Did see a team with a big yellow bag heading up toward Dolt Tower late in the afternoon, and photographed them a bit. Lower down there was the usual scramble on the first 4. Ropes are set to sickle ledge and it remains to be seen who will emerge into the Stovelegs tomorrow... Take extra water!!

Shield: Saw a team high on the route above Chiefton ledge heading up the corner... sorry to have missed shooting them on the headwall.

Magic Mushroom: Saw some stuff that is most likely Tommy's and Justin's but no sign of them... someone said they were seen walking to the car yesterday... they wisely came down in the heat or have done the route free... Anyone know if they did it yet?

Salathe: I picked up a flash of gear a little below the block on this classic line. It must have been hot over there...
Also heard rumors that the Aussy Lee Cossey is going over to take a look at the pitch above the Ear and maybe try for a free ascent of the REAL Salathe. The pitches have all been done before and although they are hard I think that Lee just might grab this plum out from under the locals eyes.

Out West: While Dave and I were sweltering on LF there were some climbers above us and I am wondering how they faired in the heat. Anyone know? We encountered a man and women team as we rapped off and I warned them about the afternoon heat up higher. Dave was up to the base and said he saw them coming down... The conditions over on that side of the rock are close to impossible right now so if you are planning a shot at something over there be sure to take gallons of extra water and better yet put it off a few days.

In other news: Big rescue on the Nose a couple of days ago... we could hear and see the choppers flying for most of the day from the west side. Rumor has it that a guy fell from above camp 5 and smashed his face and lost a lot of blood. They sent a team down and hauled him out then flew him off... YOSAR RULES!
Werner... details please!
The Northside drive was open today for the last time for a week and then it will open for good. It was really hot and most of those in the know holed up in the shade or took to cooling in the river... like late July here.
Anyway I am on my way to dinner and will try to finish up my trip report on our recent climb out West... I am shooting climbers now so get out those bright colored shirts and if you need one see me at the van and I will give you one free to use on the climb... Can't beat free you know!
So that's the way it is here in the cooker called the Yosemite valley for 18 May 2008.
Signing off for now from the Heart of the Action as seen from the ElCap Bridge... come on by!!!
Tom Evans