El Cap Report 06/23/08

ElCap Report 6/23/08 By Tom Evans Yo.. So you may have heard that the Valley is pretty smoky these days, well it is Way Smoky. But, I know that my audience of cubicle pukes, and tied down worker bees in the in the crush of capitalism don’t give a rodents rectum about my working conditions and just want the news right from the rock directly to them. I set my alarm and got up early, so you would have a front row seat to all of today’s action on the Captain. I was in the Café by 6:30 and had my usual heart attack special, the Breakfast Burrito! Then I went down to the big stone to see what I could see.


The report is brought to you today by Kenny Bokelund’s refreshingly beautiful and articulate wife, who was kind enough to bring me some home made cookies for my efforts, on her husbands behalf, while he was soloing Aurora a few weeks ago.So let the dog out, send the kids to their room, and tell the old lady to bring you a cold one, because you are coming with me, ElCap-Pics, right to the center of the greatest climbing arena on the planet, to see, through my eye in the sky, all the hot dog climbers and the regular Joes and Janes do their thing. So here it is, direct to you from the only man you trust to tell the tale….

Today’s ElCap Report…

Zodiac: Well the men with the stick are doing really well today, perhaps I was a bit quick in yesterdays report in sending a little sarcasm their way. They did the Black Tower quickly, in good style, early in the day and the logistics they are employing seem to be working. They are not slowing anyone down on the route and in fact, most likely, will not get caught by any lower parties. So my bad on that one! But just between you and me, sticks do make a little nervous! Lower down a party of three lead and cleaned the first pitch this morning and are blasting in the morning I hear.

Korean bivy on Black Tower belay.

Korean leader climbs into White Circle.

Korean climbers into corner pitch in White Circle

Zenyatta Mondatta: I love this route! Andy and Skyler did in fact appear, as they said they would, on this Bridwell Classic this morning. They quickly dispatched the first two pitches and were on the third when I left quite early today so as to get this report to you as soon as possible. But my man Andy seems to be sporting a white shirt, a serious breach of ElCap photographic etiquette.

Skyler and Andy on ZM’s first pitch belay.

Tribal Rite: Man, the smoke was so thick that the top of the Cap was almost visually inaccessible but with my powerful eye I was able to peek through the smoke and haze and zero in on the man with the plan, Ottawa Doug. I saw him lead the Rurp pitch that he dusted off by 1pm. So he just has one more pitch on the Tribal part and two more to the top via WEML. He should be down by tomorrow evening. Sweet!!

Ottawa Doug at his bivy early in the morning on Tribal Rite.

Doug at the bivy on Tribal Rite

Nose: I did see Chris and Jonas doing a one day of the this route. I picked them up in the Stove Legs and watched them right up to the Great Roof as I left. The kids are moving right alone.

Chris leads Jonas off Dolt Tower on their NIAD

Chris climbing above Eagle Ledge


Lower Down Wigball Zak and his partner Holly were spotted at the top of Sickle ledge and I watched them all the way past the pendulum into the Stove Legs. Casual stuff…

Oh let’s see, what else…mmmm ..well… OH Yeah! That’s right!! You probably want to know if Hans and Yuji were climbing on the route today as advertised on his site, Speedclimbing.com. Well they were and you have come to the right place to get all the pertinent dope on the climb. I picked them up in my scope as they were in the middle of the Stove Leg crack at about 7:33am. Yuji was wearing an ugly gray shirt and was almost invisible in the haze and smoke. But that didn’t stop me Bro… I always get my man and Yuji was no exception. Hans, on the other hand ,was dressed like a real EC climber should dress. Red shirt and yellow helmet! I was lovin it!! Yuji lead everything. But those of you who mistakenly think that Hans just juggs are totally misinformed.

They simultaneously climbed most of the route. Hans climbed just like Yuji, but had the added burden of keeping the rope and systems in general from getting too far out or too close in. It appeared to me that they were moving very slowly. There was no rushing and racing up the rock. Yuji, in fact, stopped several times to look at sections of the rock and fiddle with equipment seemingly in no hurry whatsoever. This was to be a recon climb and they climbed in that manner. Yuji arrived at ECT just as the sun broke through the smoke and Hans was about 120ft lower down. They were together on the top of Texas Flake and Yuji was soon leading to the Boot Flake. He took a little whipper just below the Boot when it looked like a cam departed from the crack. He quickly recovered. He then lead the Boot, placing about 3 pieces of gear on that part of the pitch. Once on top he immediately lowered down, removed the protection, and did the King Swing in one run with Hans following right behind. They were almost invisible now as the smoke was really getting thick.

I did see Yuji do the Great Roof and he took a considerable amount of time with the upper section, fiddling with various pieces of protection, trying to find the perfect piece so as to do it quickly on the record attempt coming up. He then short fixed at the corner of the Roof and took off on the Pancake Flake, climbing it effortlessly. Hans jugged the roof but climbed the Pancake Flake smoothly and effortlessly as well. At Camp 5 they joined up and sat down for a while to take in the view and I suppose discuss the previous pitches. After a time they went up the next pitch and out of my view. I did see Yuji leading over the top a while later.

When they returned to the ground I talked to Hans and he said they did about a 4:30 or so for the route. It looked way more casual than that to me!! Hans felt really good about the practice run, especially considering that Yuji had just flown in from Japan. Arriving last night, he had only gotten 3 hours of sleep before the climb!! Hans said that Yuji felt they might get down to 3:30 next run but he is known for modesty. Hans felt the record is possible on the run coming up this Thursday at 6am. So set your clocks and get out here to support a team of great climbers doing the greatest rock climb in the world. You just might see a new record!!

Hans climbs off Dolt Tower while Yuji is out of sight above.

Yuji climbing the Boot Flake

Hans and Yuji on the Great Roof

Hans and Yuji going over the topo after today’s climb.

Muir: I didn’t get out west as the smoke was way thick and I needed to knock off early today… I will check on the lads tomorrow for sure.

 In other news: As mentioned above, Maureen Bokelund came by with the cookies and family in tow. Ken was showing the kids where the climb went and they all hung out for a time and then went off to see the sights of Yosemite. Steve Schneider stopped by and hung out talking about his recent climb of the Nose with a British buddy, who showed up after a time with his wife to get the cd I made of their climb. Erik Sloan showed up to sit and chat for a while. He has been out of town for several weekends and is just back for a more extended stay. PTPP and friend Donnie came by on the way to BUABS with loads. Kate is still defending her place near Oakhurst against the brush fires raging in the area, so the climb is on hold for a while. The German and American teams just off the Nose came by to look at the route and swap stories. My German friends Peter and Martina passed through on their way to the meadow. They have no plans for the Big Stone this season. I talked to many Tourons but generally it was quiet as the smoke obscured the cliff for most of the day. All in all it was another day well spent here in the Yosemite Valley. Try to come on out on Thursday to support Hans and Yuji if you can. Be here around 6am and you will see the whole show. I will be at the bridge too.

So that’s the way it is for this the 23rd of June 2008.

Stay calm, be happy.

Bye, Bye… ECP’s