El Cap Report 06/24/08

ElCap Report 6/24/08

By Tom Evans

Yo… the smoke was just about impossible here at the bridge today. I couldn’t even see enough to focus the camera. I shot anyway knowing that the processing program can take a lot of the junk out of the shot and I was amazed to get some fair shots. Also Doug was on his last day and I wanted to have some record of the end of his climb. The Tourons were as thick as the smoke and it was tiring to explain things over and over and to try to show them where the climbers were through the dense smoke. It is bad enough even on a clear day. Several climbers came by and relieved me for a time. There was some action on the cliff and more to come in the next few days.

Anyway today’s report is brought to you by Chris and Colby who just did a NIAD in around 15 hours yesterday and have agreed to go to the top of the Cap in the morning and help Doug get his stuff off the cliff…. Today’s report…

Born Under a Bad Sign: Seems that Kate is still in danger of having her house go up in flames so she is staying home for a few days more. So, to expedite things Pete has engaged a subie, Donnie, to help move things up the route a short distance. Pete is very appreciative of the lad, an experienced climber in his own right, and they seem to get along famously.

Zodiac: The Korean team of 6, (4 men and 2 women) at least the forward element, is probably standing on Peanut ledge as I write this. The subies are somewhere below waiting for orders to move up within a pitch or so of the main force. They have made a pretty speedy ascent. Interestingly enough, they dropped some things, including, what I will call a “personal enhancement device” that according to reliable sources at the recovery itself, glows in the dark! Base scroungers are having a field day below the route! They will be off tomorrow.

Subies waiting their turn on the Korean team of 6

Korean team on the Mark of Zorro pitch.

Korean climber jugging a long way out from the wall on Zodiac

Lower down, that party of 3 I mentioned previously, is now a party of 4 (3men and 1 woman). They spent most of the day hauling massive loads to the stance below the belay at the top of pitch three. They were in the process of moving everything up 20 feet when I departed. I am wondering if they will have the organizational skills of the Korean team, and if they are so well equipped!

Any room for another person around here? 

A really short pitch on Zodiac

ZM: Andy and Skyler are taking today off but assure me they will be on the route in the morning. I did have a serious talk with Andy about his color combinations and he says he sees the folly in his past decisions and will toe the party line in the future. He did bring his gorgeous girlfriend, Clara, to the bridge for an introduction, as she will be staying here some of the time when he is on the route. Brave man that Andy, for Clara is quite the beauty and will be the source of much attention from marauding bridge rats.

Tribal Rite: Well, my main man, Ottawa Doug, went over the top today around 4pm. I talked to him on the radio and he said the route was a stretch for him but he obviously made that stretch! He is looking forward to the lads coming up in the morning and helping him get this stuff off the mountain. Cobras and celebration at the bridge are the main order of business for the day tomorrow, hopefully after a long shower!! Nice job Doug!!

Ottawa Doug leading off a big ledge on the last day of Tribal Rite

Doug climbing the pillar to the cracks leading to the top on Tribal Rite

Nose: Wigball Zak and Holly climbed above ECT today doing all the usual stuff and were last seen in the Gray bands late in the afternoon… I think they may settle for Camp 4 tonight but you never know. Zak can be fast and some guys will do anything to please the little lady… they may be at camp 5 sharing those spacious ledges after all.

In other news: Hans and Yuji are going on a speedy practice run on the Nose Thursday morning (6am) and if necessary, will make an all out effort on Sunday morning to get the speed record back from Alex and Thomas, who I hear from reliable sources, are pulling for the men to get that record broken. You know this is one of the things I love about this sport. Climbers may be competitive, but they want you to succeed to the best of your ability and if they beat you it will because they have excelled and not because you have failed. Sort of like a golfer wanting to birdie the last hole to win rather than have a competitor double bogey the hole to give them the victory. Best of luck men!! I also hear that a team of three women is going to do a push on the 3D tomorrow with maybe a rest in the middle if they feel it is warranted. Good thinking… be realistic. Later in the week a SAR team is going to do Salathe in a push. Also a three man team (Two Belgians, Guy and Glen, and an American, Chris) are going to get on Magic Mushroom. Plus the other teams that are poised to start out tomorrow on the routes mentioned. So the action is heating up and the weather is expected to be more reasonable too. The fires are a problem all over the state and the smoke in the Valley itself is quite bothersome. Tourons are complaining that they only have a few days and can’t see much!

So that’s the way it is for this the 24th day of June 2008.

Enjoy the report as it is one of the very few left to be done. ECP’s