El Cap Report 06/21/07

ElCap Report 6/21/07

 By Tom Evans

Yo... Well, Thursday is fading fast and you are getting antsy about the approaching weekend... unfortunately you will, at best, be going to your local dung heap of a crag to swelter with the rest of the weekenders who bring their stupid dogs out and tie them to a tree so they can crap up the place and slobber all over everyone... sounds great, No?

But maybe you will get lucky and have a real plan and come here to the valley of light to hang with the bridge folks at the glory hole. Wouldn’t that be fine? But if you fit into the first category then that is why I am here ... to whisk you away through time and space to the world of your day dreams... the world where you are the one doing the king swing and listening to the roar of the distant crowd praising your heroic efforts, or perhaps pulling it together and sending the monster crack while the cameras click and then come back to the bridge to revel in the glory, or maybe make a push on the Trip and do it in 10 hours... Ah yes... those dreams, those dreams... Well forget about those dreams because those dreams are someone else’s reality and you are just the dreamer...but because we all have dreams I am bringing you something to dream about.... the.....

ElCap Report... straight from the hands of the Chuck Pratt look-alike who is just down from Sickle ledge and getting ready for the big Push, or more likely the big Shove, on the Nose with Nanook, and Tim.... So settle in, turn off the tube, and throw that daily paper aside... because here it comes... The ElCap Report for today..

 Zodiac: Peter and Martina did spend the night on Peanut ledge and I shot them climbing the pitch above around 9am... later I got them about 30 feet from the top but had to leave for that haircut I so desperately needed... nice climbing friends!! Zak and what’s her name (well it is actually Holly, but a different, calmer one than you may know)were seen in the great white circle this afternoon and may stay at the Mark of Zorro or go a pitch higher and try to be off tomorrow.. this is of course a cake walk for the very experienced Wigball, but a new and exciting one for Holly.. Lurking around the first pitch was a team that did the heap of crap, the so called .. "direct start" who are they? who knows?... I did speak, sort of, with the Koreans who had been formerly known as the Lost in America team and then formerly the Zodiac team, this morning... they introduced me to the "Leader" of the Aurora climb, who was an impressively built man who did speak some English.. I complemented him on leading the climb. He told me that there was another Korean team about to jump on Zodiac and one on the Nose. How many climbers are involved is unknown... but it appears to be a vengeance climb for the shellacking they took last week on LA and Zodiac. I was instructed to take "many pictures". I once again tried to explain the necessity of wearing the proper colors on the wall so as not to insult the Captain...


The Trip: Well, I looked this morning and didn’t see Todd... that means he got kind of sick of the whole thing and climbed off late yesterday... Phew.. I can finally rest easy about the man and assume that he has by now gotten down and is ok... it was not much fun watching him with everything that was going through my mind ... gad he make it!!!


The Ranch: Did see the duo working on the route and answered the 10,000 inquiry from the Tourons about that Canadian flag on the bottom of that cot... of course we know it is a crab from some distant and probably troubled time in Pete’s life...I don’t know the story and am trying hard never to find out either.. Someone had lead a long pitch that went all over the place and must have had horrendous rope drag.. I thought one or the other of them might have used solo technique to avoid the rope drag, as both are proficient at it... another day on the ranch..


NA Wall: With the lead team gone yesterday the only ones left on the route are KFC, Lance, and WHN (what’s his name). When I arrived they were 24+ hours into the contest and were doing the traverse and pendulum to the Black Dihedral.. I hear they slept on Big Sur ledge, so making the classic Shove maneuver. Saw them on the roof pitch when I left a little after 3pm.


Nose: I did see the Cheese heads at the last pitch late this morning after a night at the much maligned camp 6. Shot Dan leading over the top to the tree.... they are up!! All the wives and relatives of both members of the team were in good spirits and Dan's lovely wife, WHN, was very proud to be telling all the telescope viewers that that was her hubby up there from Minnesota, not Wisconsin! They are planning on a triumphal parade across the bridge in the morning. I have requested the Mariposa High School Band once again but they are a little gun-shy after the New Dawn team didn't have to do the walk of shame.

I arrived this morning in time to see SAR stud and Little Biscuit leading toward the boot and was settled in when Biscuit, to the surprise of many, slid down the Boot and took on the King Swing. The general scuttle butt was... this is going to be interesting!  Well, she just piddled around doing little hops and girl running, not the required technique, and we all started shaking our heads and muttering under our breaths. Then she decided to hurl herself at the thing and did a few trips and spin-arounds and some face plants onto the granite. It was looking pretty grim for Little Biscuit and her chances were diminishing with each passing minute...then she sort of got the idea and made a Jr. High run at it and planted herself about 20 feet from the corner and we all waited for her to peel off and be flung back to the boot... but by some strange freak of friction and body position, she managed to actually stay there... and then slowly she started climbing across that 20 foot gap of slippery granite... 15 ft... then she was only 10ft away from the corner and everyone stopped and just stared... then it was 5ft and suddenly she had the flakes in her hands and had mastered the King Swing without actually doing the pendulum in the standard manner!! OK we all said back and forth.. she did it... well... yeah.. she did it... some monkey calls went up in appreciation of her success.

This brings up and interesting thing about climbing... not everyone does things in the same way and yet they succeed at completing the same task. Biscuit wasn’t a strong runner and yet she got the job done because she used her strengths of balance and free climbing where others used brute force... a good lesson to anyone... utilize your strong points and don’t always try to do things the other persons way. After a time the bag came down to her and SAR stud (Andy) joined her on the ledge... then cute little biscuit (Anna Phaff, of recent Salathe fame) lead off toward the gray bands and they were last seen at Camp 4. They left the bags on the traverse pitches below, leading to speculation that they were going to the great roof and would haul from there.. so Camp 5 for them tonight. I left too soon to see them do the great roof. Lower down a team with an orange bag was seen climbing to Dolt and then to ElCap tower and had time to go to Camp 4 if they hurried.. Don’t know what they decided. Tim and Logan(our Chuck Pratt look-alike) went up to sickle to iron out the bugs in preparation for the push (more likely a shove) they are planning for Sat. with Nanook from the frozen north. Nanook was by today and said he was just along for the ride and would see what went down.


Salathe: I didn’t really look over there today much... anyone over there?


In other news: We did have a distinguished visitor at the bridge from back in the day. Charlie Row and his darling new wife came by to hang out and see what was up at the bridge and on ElCap. He was on the FA of South Seas and ZM among others. We had a nice chat about the old days and the new days and I got an autograph in my ST guide book.. nice!! Many other climbers were there including NIADs Chris and Clay and two guys who had just done the NW of Half dome. Tourons by the zillions, and Wigballs dad were there too... Scott Stowe made a flyby as did Dean Potter. All in all a nice day at the bridge in nice weather with the Captain still wanting more climbers to recon with. Come on out. So that’s it from here... the van was packed and Clay said he would pick up the trash for me as I had to do the hair thing. So that's the way it is at the bridge to adventure for June 21st, 2007 the longest day of the year...

signing off for now … This is ElCap Tom