El Cap Report 05/22/08

Break out your jackets, gloves and a warm hat... we are living the varied weather patterns of Yosemite. The night was cold and the day was pretty chilly too. Funny how I almost died just a few days ago in the heat and today folks were bailing from the Captain because they were too cold. Let that be a lesson to you. Be ready for anything, at all times. It was really windy in the valley today and at the bridge too, as the wind blew from the east, as it rarely does here. I got down to the Bridge around 10:30 and did a sweep of the face to see who was up and who was down. So without further delay here it comes to you straight from Eric's, the construction foreman, pickup truck. The road opens at noon tomorrow.. let the traffic jam begin!

Zodiac: The free climbing Aussey brothers Lee and Ben Cossey were seen this day climbing the first 5 pitches of the Free Zodiac variation. Nothing fixed, nothing previewed, no rapping in, no jugging out, no pre-placed gear. High standards these guys bring to the Valley from their native Australia... sort of puts our locals to shame and serves notice things could be different if the local talent adopted that style. Which BTW was taken from the early climbers in this valley. The Ausseys didn't invent it you know. Bivy at the top of 5 tonight.

Steve's ropes still drape the route up to 6.

Lost in America: The Belgians were seen on ZM where LA comes into it. They could be off tonight or really close. They climbed confidently the whole way and were a pleasure to watch.

Trip: I saw the "red shirt team" finish the last corner late today and assume that they are off the route as I write this. They did a good job and will get some nice pics too. Red rules!!!

El Nino: A team is poised to give this route a go in the next couple of days as they have mostly finished hauling loads.

Sea of Dreams: I saw the Curry Village local climbing team of Josh and Ian working higher on the route today. Josh had a nice colorful shirt on and Ian was sporting a sexy floral print which gave the a pink cast to his upper torso.. very modern and courageous for this Robert Redford look a like! Just love that pink Ian!! They may have blasted now as Josh's dad was here and left I think. Smooth sailing Swabbies!!

NA Wall: Saw the team I let slide by until the traversing pitches to the black dihedral, climb out the right side of the Cyclops eye this morning and onto the igloo later as I left. Don't know who they are. Lower down the party crew of 5 wisely bailed before even getting on the climb as they realized that time constraints would soon halt the climb anyway. They are shortening the partying by doing a much shorter route. I am sure we will hear about them later!

Saw Double E wandering around up there somewhere at the base ... I know that guy is up to something.. my spies are on it and is only a matter of time until I get this whole thing sorted out.

South Seas to Pacific Ocean: Our "local Canadian" PTPP stopped by the bridge with his partner, Mark, on the march to this classic Eastside start to the PO. Porters have been engaged, women, children, pets have been seen scurrying for cover. A comedown in difficulty for this captain of the Captain, rumor has it that he is just looking for a little fun for a change. Always a good reason in my book!

New Dawn Girls Team: Saw the ladies heading for the top of that long route this afternoon. They were on the last pitch as I departed the area at 4pm. Another feather in this teams headdress.

New Dawn Solo: Where did this lad go? I was absent yesterday and he slipped away... but where?

Nose: I arrived to find 4 guys bailing from dolt tower with their ropes blowing straight sideways to the west. They looked cold. Higher the American Alpine club belay testing team were seen crossing into the Gray Bands with the massive assortment of bags and ledges still intact. You go boys!! Above them what appeared to be a NIAD team was blowing by camp 5 early in the afternoon and hustling on up in cold and windy conditions high on the face. Around 1 I saw a team of 3 climbing the last pitch to the top. Lower down there were a couple of teams staging to sickle. It was cold up there today folks so if you have a mind to go then take the warm, windproof stuff.

Salathe: A rumored SIAD team was seen bailing from the top of the Ear early in the day with a rapid and orderly retreat. They stopped by the Bridge to chat and told of wind and cold. The climbing they did was fast and efficient. Warmer weather will return lads and I am sure you will too. A team was seen coming down toward ECS in the morning... maybe stashers for FR.

Higher up my British friends John and Rob were seen crammed onto Sous le toit ledge with another team who led off toward the roof first. I left as the leading group was half up the headwall and the Brits were at the start of the Roof pitch... better hurry lads or you will have a cold miserable night out in the open.

Out West: Don't know a thing about that place.

In other news: The Aussies had a contingent at the bridge watching Lee and Ben give the free zodiac a go. Included was Lee's fiancé Amanda who was voted "Queen of the Bridge" today. The regulars were here from time to time and Nicki hung out all day resting for his push up to half dome where he is set to solo the Queen of Spades, a difficult route with very few ascents last climbed 15 years ago... needless to say the lad isn't counting on much fixed gear!! Double E and partner, Pete and friend, the Party Crew, and many more came and went all day. Beers seemed to be growing right out of the bridge deck and many were held in reserve in the BB's. All in all it was a blustery day but nice in the sun. I have finished and posted the trip report on our Lurking Fear climb last week and urge all of you to read it... if bored then skip to the last 5 paragraphs and pay attention to the lessons presented as they could save your hide some day. Stormy weather predicted for the weekend so plan ahead.

So that's the way it is at the center of adventure land here in Yosemite for this the 22nd of May 2008. Stay safe.

Signing off for now Tom Evans