El Cap Report 06/02/08

ElCap Report 6/02/08

By Tom Evans

Yo… very nice day here with warm temps and a nice breeze. The Nose was completely empty below Camp 5 and I assume anyone above got off today. The other routes were busy with the SE Face getting the bulk of the attention. So without further ado here is the report you have been waiting to read all day. It is brought to you by one, Dean Potter, who’s VW station wagon cut me off at the lodge this morning… the lad looked in a hurry, perhaps late for a Monday morning meeting of the Valley safety committee. Today’s ElCap report, in color, with all the slander you expect from the Sultan of Slander himself, ElCap-pics…

Zodiac: Team Muse spent the night at the top of the mark of Zorro pitch and were up early with T2 once again on the sharp end of the line. He made fairly short work of the next pitch and by the time I left, a little after two, the next pitch, the one to Peanut ledge was underway. Reports from those who have talked to Steve, via cell phone say he is in good spirits and having a good time. Off tomorrow late, if all goes well. Lower down, Matt left this afternoon to get on the route for good with his lines fixed to the start of 4. He seems relaxed and confident…. Little does he know what awaits him!! Best of luck Matt and we fellow bridge rats will keep you in view. Steve Schneider and company jugged their lines 6 pitches and were in the white circle this afternoon. They are hauling bags so I don’t think this will be a push.

Tommy Thompson leading pitch above the Devil’s Eyebrow, Zodiac

Steve, Tommy, bags, waiting for Dave to finish cleaning. Zodiac

Heather Schneider on the Black Tower, Zodiac

Tangerine Trip: The four man Italian team was seen slowly approaching the bolt ladders this afternoon. When this is done we may have the record for the worst dressed teams of any nationality to climb the route within a single week… something to remember! Lower down the sharp dressed French team continued to make good time up the route and were on the middle corner systems when I left. Lower down there is a fantastically dressed and outfitted team of two on the start of the 2nd pitch. God please don’t let them bail!!!!

French leader moving off the belay, Tangerine Trip.

Aurora: There is a solo starting on this route, Ken Bokeland, unfortunately wearing a white shirt. Remember folks, white and black shirts suck! His lovely wife has contacted me and wants full reporting on his climb…. God I hope he doesn’t bail!!

ElNino: Chris VanLuden aka Spaz, and some rope gun buddies, Hayden Kennedy and ? all dressed by the foundation for the garbage workers of America, are on this route… they look so bad that I am not even going to take their pictures unless they have a change of clothing with them. They are supposedly Hot Dog free climbers… so let’s see what you guys got!

North American Wall: The last of the 4 team parade from last week is reaching the end of their climb. I spotted them above the Cyclopes eye in early afternoon. Off tomorrow?

South Seas to Pacific Ocean: The Bearing Straits have been some slow sailing for this team of the supposed “master of disaster” and his unfortunate crewman Mark the mangled. They will make Island in the Sky by evening and are, I hear, going to break out the wine and cheese and hang out there. Their ship continues to be quite tidy and I have gotten some good shots of them this afternoon. Mornings are just the same shot each day. Two ledges with sagging bottoms until around noon… onward and upward mates!

Mark breaking down the belay, Bearing Straits, Pacific Ocean Wall

Mescalito: A suddenly crowded route it appears. Team Lambone and Shipman have made the highly regarded Bismarck ledge this afternoon and I hear are planning a rest day there… they had better because above lurks the infamous off width that is the key to getting off this extended route. They both are climbing well and making good time. Nice shots too. Lower down the two man team is moving along at a better pace than the team above and just might catch the higher lads if they push it some. They were doing the chimney after the Molar traverse when I left. Lower down yet, I did see young Simon who is going it alone. He was on the third when I spotted him. Ollie and Chris are starting tomorrow and will most likely pass him the day after.

Team Lambone arrives at Bismarck Ramp, Mescalito.

Cleaning the Molar Traverse, Mescalito.

Climbing off the belay at the end of the Molar Traverse. Mescalito

Nose. I team was seen fixing to Sickle where Scotty Vinchec was waiting. Scotty injured his wrist and was not able to haul a bag to ECT in support of Adam Stacks team who want to climb the Nose without having to haul a bag… but alas they have resigned to haul now and surely they will be the better for it…. Not enough suffering makes the climbing too much fun!

Salathe. The various parties going for one day ascents yesterday made it off last night. A couple of “Wall style” teams were seen in a gaggle at the Headwall roof this afternoon … take a number please!

Lower down I did spot some free climbers in red who were moving along… several teams have come by and made claims of starting but you never actually know who will show up. I did see a team with a young woman, dressed in a nice little powder blue camisole top with a yellow helmet and a smart, stylish, hydration pack. All the rats at the bridge had to have a look see at this fashionable female. She was leading a couple pitches below the Ear when I left around 2 pm. A few other teams are jockeying for position and have stopped by in advance to secure an ElCap-pics T shirt for the climb. Smart!!

Waiting at the belay, Salathe headwall.

Leading the last pitch of the headwall, Salathe wall

In other news: Jody Langford spent the day here at the bridge shooting the action on the Cap. He came up to kick some asses, but alas, the combatants never showed up. He was dressed in his college, lycra, Greco-roman wrestling outfit that fit a little too tight. He warmed up by hurling a Touron over the railing of the bridge and into the river below. After a time he changed into regular clothing and had a relaxing day shooting. Turns out that the whole Bachar incident was a hoax fabricated by the pair, and most fell for it! Thanks again Jody for bringing me a replacement telescope for the one that crashed the other day. KFC and Matt spent most of the day lounging at the bridge. KFC did another run up and back from Half Dome yesterday in 3:56 round trip. Julia showed up and stayed out of pure boredom for a time. I did talk to Dan Oppenheim, yesterday, who was down here for the Coiler wedding. He is living in Portland OR and is enjoying working and the scene there so much so that he hasn't even had the urge to climb for months! He looked pretty cool in his Tom Cruise, Topgun sunglasses. Lots of other climbers and a fair amount of Tourons make the scene. I think Jody’s sensitive nature was somewhat offended by the low level of the conversation the Bridge rats engaged in… Expect the worst and you will get it!! All in all it was a day spent well. Other teams we watched were making progress up the wall and were getting it done in nice conditions. No one bailed within our view so there is no picture of “BAIL OF THE DAY!! RAP OF SHAME!”  So that's the way it is, on this the 2nd day of June 2008.

Your man on the scene, guardian of the gate to the ElCap adventure, ECP’s.