El Cap Report 06/12/08

ElCap Report 6/12/08

 By Tom Evans

Yo… Well it was a beautiful and ugly day all in one here at the bridge. The weather was wonderful and there were many climbers hanging out at the bridge. For a lot of the day we had a great time watching as new action unfolded on the Cap. However, around 1pm a young climber who had just fixed on the Trip came up to me very upset and told me he had seen a body, at the base of the face, of someone who had fallen off the cliff. I talked to him for a few moments and then called 911. Rangers were immediately dispatched to the scene and the lad was interviewed and the location of the body ascertained. You can imagine how we all felt here at the bridge. It was like someone had sucker punched you in the stomach. Speculation was rampant of course. The young climber was quite upset and somewhat confused as to exactly what he saw. Was it a climber, a base jumper, a hiker? No one knew of course and all sorts of theories were proposed. Fortunately our SAR and LEO’s are the best in the business and knowing that it was in their hands and that a full and through investigation would follow was, in a way, a relief. But for several hours it was a grim scene here.


I talked with several of the SAR and LEO’s as they left the scene and they told me it was not a climber and not a base jumper. They know who it was and being the professionals they are were not about to release any detailed information until it was all sorted out and the investigation completed. They did say however that it was not anyone I would know most likely. It was a relief for all of us but still a sad situation knowing that some family, we didn’t know, was going to have a really bad night tonight and many days of sadness. Strangely enough, as I type these lines the Dylan song, “Knocking on Heavens Door” just played on the radio… Other than that terrible news, the day was quite nice and we got to watch some good climbing which I will describe below in the report. Today’s report is brought to you by Nicki who is finally off Half Dome, bail completed. His hand is on the mend and I am glad to seem down here instead on some obscure route on the Dome. Today’s Report:

Zodiac: Emily and Pat were seen today climbing up to the 4th pitch in the afternoon. Both were dressed to the nines and even had a bright rope. They had gone in last evening and fixed two pitches in the cool temps. They looked solid today and should have a great adventure in the days to come.

Emily and Pat hauling to the 4th as the shade comes on.

Higher up the Cossey brothers climbed the long corner early in the morning in deep shadows which was actually perfect for photography as the sun is now so high in the sky that it makes everything it shines on look way harsh. So shooting into the shadows is actually better, if of course one can get a good focus through the scope. They were working on the section up to the Nipple pitch belay when I left around 4pm.

Ben Cossey stretching it out , White Circle Zodiac

Ben cranking hard on Zodiac

Ben and Lee doing the ElCap salute on Zodiac

Cossey brothers waiting for the shade to cool the rock

Ben finally working in the shade on Zodiac

Tangerine Trip: I did see these lads fixing some yesterday but forgot to mention it. They are fixed to the top of three now. They have work to do so are coming back later, assuming they can overcome the shock of finding the body at the base today.

Mescalito: My spies have told me that there is a solo starting this route and is working around pitch 3. I will try to find out who it is….

 New Dawn to Tribal. Ottawa Doug has made the jump from hyper-Canadian Space to Yosemite Space and was seen late yesterday in the car line up and later at camp 4. I have not seen him at the bridge as he always wants to avoid this black hole until he has done his work on the wall. I did manage to go west a ways and get a shot or two of him around the 4th on this long and demanding route. Go Doug Go!!!

Nose: Mook and partner made a fast NIAD of this popular route today. I just managed to watch them make the king swing early in the morning and saw them pass what I hear is a party of women at the great roof. They were seen going over the top around 3pm. They were behind a party from yesterday as they got to the top. The woman’s team was well dressed and making good progress to camp 5 when I left. Rumor has it that it was Holly and Lorna but when Holly stopped by this afternoon I knew it couldn’t be her. I saw no one lower on the route.

Mook gets big air on the King Swing Nose route

Womans team on Pancake Flake Nose route

Magic Mushroom: Word on the Supertopo site is that Tommy got his one day free of this route with wife Beth a couple of days ago. Good for you guys!! Hard work and persistence always pay off! Throw in some talent and anything is possible.

Salathe: I did see a party going over the headwall in the morning. Don’t know who they were but have been shooting them along the way.

In other news: Spectacular weather has renewed interest in the Great Rock. New parties are starting to move out. It is supposed to warm up the next few days but with a nice breeze and elevation gain it should still be good climbing for quite a while. Countless climbers at the bridge today. Tourons were in evidence and seemed to be enjoying seeing so many fit climbers and having chats with them. Many of the climbers were helping out by showing them climbers on the wall and explaining things to them taking some of the work off my shoulders so I could shoot more. All in all it is good to be a climber in the Valley these days. The monkey’s are sending and I haven’t seen a walk of shame in some time. I did see the guy who did the solo of the Nose but he didn’t stop his bike for a chat with us… I would like to meet this illusive climber and hear his story. So with the exception of the lost life today, the valley continues to meet all expectations and send positive vibes to all who seek the adventure it stimulates.

Railing Rats at the Bridge today.

So that’s the way it is for this the 12th of June 2008.

Seek peace and humility my friends. ECP’s.