El Cap Report 06/06/08

ElCap Report 6/6/0

By Tom Evans

Ok… here it is …. I just got back from the exhibition of climbing photos and museum artifacts that Ken Yeager has put together. Nice little party to kick off the showing. Lots of climbers in evidence. Many of the “Old guys” were there too and it was nice for a “never was” striving to become a “has been” to get the chance to mingle with greatness. A good time was had by all…. Many thanks to Ken for putting on this event. A beautiful day at the bridge it was too. Perfect conditions brought out a lot of folks. The action on the Big Stone was good too.

The report is brought to you by Mike Graham and his lovely wife Wendy, who came by to say hi on the way to the museum event. Ok .. Time is short and I still have images to do and it is past 8pm so here is the dope for all you computer dopes!

Zodiac: Big Matt Thomsen is continuing to send on this excellent route. He climbed the Mark of Zorro pitch late yesterday and by the time I was out of there at 4 he was heading for Peanut ledge… the lad is not coming down unless he falls off!

Matt lowering the bags out Mark of Zorro pitch Zodiac

Matt cleaning the Mark of Zorro pitch Zodiac

Aurora: Ken is making really good time now that he is out of the wet conditions below the Finger of Fate. He climbed several hundred feet today and is now on the upper third of the wall. I wish the lad had a red shirt… Mo Bo you will have to take charge of the dress with more authority… you are in charge, right?

Early morning for Kenny Aurora

Early moring for Kenny Aurora

El Nino: I saw the young team of three, with the old man, Spaz, at the helm, heading for the last pitch early in the afternoon. I didn’t shoot them as the light was awful and I have gotten several of them already. Word on the street is that they were sending it. Proving that Spaz has the knack for picking rope guns! Nice job lads!

SSPO: Well I think that maybe Pete and Mark have topped out by now. Pete’s girlfriend, Brenda, showed up this morning and issued a stern series of marching orders and with a gulp Pete replied… “Yes Mam!” and headed for the top! So it is now safe to return to that part of the wall folks!

Mescalito: Ollie and Chris did the Bismarck this afternoon after lounging on that great ledge for the morning. It was pretty dark shooting them in the deep shade but it looked like they make the off width section without incident.

Resting on the deck of the Bismarck Mescalito

Chris in the thick of the off width on the Bismarck Mescalito

Lower down Simon was racking up the pitches and was heading within two pitches of the Bismarck when I left… mmmm … it would be cool if he managed to catch up to Ollie and Chris!

Simon heading up later in the day, he is bundled up for the cold.


Nose: I did see the “Russian team” have a go at the King Swing late this morning. Alexj went down and gave it a go. It appeared he was not convinced that one actually had to run to make the swing, trying instead a series of sideways hops that proved unproductive. He then compounded the situation by going lower than the correct place he was originally. He tried and tried and finally got the picture and made the right moves. Jim came along after a time but they were now behind schedule. However they were making it toward camp 4 as I left. Great Roof in the morning and off the next day. They are fine and doing some good work up there…

Jim heading off the Texas Flake toward the boot. Nose Route

Alexj in the right spot hitting the King Swing Nose Route

Lower down Beat Camalander and a buddy worked their way up the stove legs to Dolt Tower this afternoon. They are most likely ECT bound for the night. Beat is easy to recognize due to his wild red hair and the sporty orange shirt he was wearing. Thanks Beat. Plus his partner was flashing some nice red in his backpack and shirt. These are Euros with some style… Italians, take notice!

Beat waits for his partner in the Stoveleg crack Nose route

Looking for a helping hand on Dolt Tower. Nose Route

Higher up a mini drama unfolded as the day went on. OK Tony and partner Clay had done Half Dome yesterday and last night headed to the Nose for the highly vaunted in a day ascent of both routes. However they didn’t show up at the top when expected and Tony’s beautiful wife, Lori, was worried. Fortunately I was there to lend a shoulder to lean on and got to hang the entire day with her, a pleasant time for me if not her! Anyway something was up as they had done this famed link up before with no problems. It was close to 4pm, many hours overdue, when I spotted them heading for the last pitch. With that spotting I was no long of use to the beautiful lady and retired to my truck! I am sure they will have some story to tell… but all is well that ends well!

Shield: Rats, the Holly and Lorna team snuck one in on me as I left yesterday early and didn’t see them on the route. So this morning there they were doing the triple cracks, high on the headwall. Nice lighting too. This hot woman’s team has been doing the business on the Cap of late and are once again making a good showing on this strenuous and demanding route. I think they will be a little short of Chicken Head ledge this evening. Sweet!

Lorna leads the triple cracks while Holly tries to keep warm. Shield headwall

Salathe: Well the place was again packed. I saw Mook working the Headwall this afternoon and word from the other team on the face with them was that he didn’t get it done. A strong lad with much talent. Sometimes the old Cap just won’t give it up! There were swarms of others in the upper third of the route. I did see the notorious “Gang of Four” heading down from ECS in an orderly manner. I was particularly hoping these guys would get it done but they had waited a long time at Lung Ledge a few days ago and that might have done them in, with the late morning start and all. I did see Lucho and Chilli turn the corner on the Salathe roof and disappear onto the upper part of Free Rider. Hope it went well for the lads! The Belgians were last seen jugging out on Mook’s fixed line up the headwall.. Best guess is that they just wanted off the crowded wall.

In other news: A very nice day today. Victorious parties from the Salathe and other routes were in evidence at the bridge, and in the meadow too. Such a nice day that Werner and Merry even showed up to hang out for a while as they were sick of working all day at the SAR cache. Most of my posse were there to cheer on Matt and we all gave a loud shout and rousing cheer to the Russian when he make the King Swing! Good stuff!! Mike and Wendy Graham came by and visited for a half hour of so… great folks and always a pleasure to see. Mike has a new line of clothing now and the pants he was wearing looked great and were well make, as was his style with the old Gramicci line that he is no longer involved with… I think it is called Stone wear… so check it out! The Yeager show and party was nice so get by the Museum to see the exhibit. Glen Denny, Peter Hann, Steve Grossman and many others from the old and new days were there having some good times telling stories and meeting old and new faces. Very nice! So that’s the way it is for this the 6th day of June 2008. Remember the men who gave it all on this day so many years ago at the Normandy landings in WWII. Just watch the first 15 minutes of the battle scenes in “Saving Private Ryan” and you will never forget these men and what they did for world freedom! On a personal note, when I was with Mara in Modesto when she went to the hospital. I stayed at the Motel 6 for the night and made the mistake of paying for it with a credit card. The clerk, double swiped my card and now a $1,600 airline ticked and $600 in clothing charges have appeared on my account! Damn it! I should have paid in cash. Note, in the future, when in the wrong side of town… always pay cash for a hotel room. Fortunately BofA caught the airline ticked and didn’t pay it and the rest is being removed. I hate bastards like that clerk.. Bad Karma bitch… Bad Karma on you!!! I’m off to do images … later ECP’s