El Cap Report 06/10/08

 ElCap Report 6/10/08

By Tom Evans

Yo! Man this was one sweet day here in the big valley. The action has heated up on the Cap and the scene at the bridge was just all fun today. Since it is Tuesday the Touron population is down from the weekend. You have once again missed the perfect late spring day here. Temps…. Perfect…. Sky …. Clear…. The Cap… Brilliant… the Bridge rats… doing the bridge lieback all day! The beer was free, the food was free, the laughs were many. The Posse was in full force and there were loads of climbers just relaxing and having a good time. Hell, we even allowed the young Colorado climbers to hang with us, not to mention the heroes of recent ascents of the Cap who were here to try to extend their, “basking in the glory” time. Several have passed the usual one day limit on basking, but they continue to glow in victory anyway. As you probably know, if you are successful on ElCap you get a full day to receive congratulations and ego massage. But if you do the walk of shame then you get crap from everyone for two weeks.

Seems about right to me! Anyway today’s report is brought to you by Peter and Martina who have just arrived in the valley for a hopefully long stay. You may recall that these German climbers had a nice ascent of Zodiac last year and were in a tie for best dressed couple on the Cap with their smart white pants and bright yellow shirts. So buckle in, tighten all the straps, take a quick drink, and pay attention worker bees.. Today’s ElCap Report…

Zodiac: You know I mentioned that two person party on this route in yesterday’s report? They were at the Black tower yesterday when I left. Well they climbed the last pitch around noon and were gone! First real push of the season. Who were they?

Pitch above Peanut Ledge Zodiac in a push.

Mescalito: Simon topped out around noon on this long and strenuous route. Way to go lad!!

Simon on the last pitch of Mescalito this morning.

Nose: Well I got here at 9:30 to see a team heading out of camp 5. I assume it was the Celtic team. Lower down there was a team doing the king swing. The leader did it well enough but short roped his second who was stuck for a while until he saw the slinged flake on the toe of the boot and pulled to it and then lowered out from there. A good thing to remember should you suffer the same fate! Also I noticed a solo climber at Eagle Ledge. This guy was really fast. He free climbed everything it appeared and seemed to have been short on beta as he was doing some pitches where no one has done them before! He was rope soloing and I saw him lead and rap and clean 3 pitches in a little more than a half an hour! Rumor has it that is a DNC employee, living at Curry, named Andrew. Andrew who? No one seemed to have that last name. I left at 2 today and he was cleaning down from camp 5. Looks like a one day roped solo if all goes well. There were also some teams lower, one taking the Jardine, and two others heading for Dolt Tower. Suddenly the Nose is back!! All parties are moving well in the great weather conditions and it will of course be impossible to keep track of who is where, who is passing whom, etc. etc. But they are surely having fun!!

Hauling the bag off Dolt Tower in early afternoon.

The controversial Jardine Traverse, Nose shortcut.

Cleared for landing on the King Swing, notice solo climber above.

Nose Solo climber above Eagle Ledge

Nose Solo climber in the Gray Bands

Nose Solo climber finishing the Great Roof pitch.

Short roped on the King Swing

Nose Solo climber on Pancake Flake

Salathe: I did see a cluster of teams below and on the Headwall this morning. Also a team in the chimney above Hollow Flake. I saw them for a few moments at the base of the ear later in the day.

In other news: It would appear that the old standards, the Nose and the Salathe are getting the traffic on the Cap at the moment. The entire SE Face is empty at this moment. That’s right … from the East Butt to the Nose… no climbers to take advantage of the great weather and empty routes. From the Nose to the West Butt is also empty save for the Salathe. Hello!!! Spread it out!!! If not now, when?! We had a real crew of actual climbers all day at the bridge. Oh, a few Tourons did stop by and one actually believed that the lights at night were bats that had glow sticks glued to their bodies! Mostly we were very nice and I let anyone and everyone look through my scope with real explanations, but sometimes you just have to make a joke just to see if it would fly.

Bridge rats Matt Aaron Dave Alyson Nicke Chris Ollie hanging around the bridge.

Speaking of flying… An elderly Touron couple was walking across the bridge this morning when a gust of wind blew the man’s hat into the river. Chris and Ollie leaped up and ran to the railing and jumped into the icy river to retrieve the mans hat. Chris who was wearing swimming trunks at the time for some reason removed them and went over in the buff! The hat was retrieved and the man quite impressed, enough so to leave the lads a $20 bill in one of Chris’ shoes. Seems Chris had forgotten that he did indeed have swimming trunks on! It was a good laugh for all concerned. We let young Hayden Kennedy, just down from a NIAD, sit by the curb near the bridge sidewalk. The sidewalk area is reserved for the veterans and it is a considerable honor to sit in the street next to the curb. Of course one has to keep an eye out for the traffic! Our way of giving the lad props for his nice climb yesterday with Sam! All in all it was another great day. We had some good stories and a lot of laughs. The kids got to hang on sacred ground and learn a thing or two from the ElCap vets.

So that’s the way it is on this the 10th day of June, 2008.

Be safe and come on out! ECP’s