El Cap Report 06/27/08

ElCap Report 6/27/08

By Tom Evans

Yo… The fires are not going away in CA and neither is the smoke in the Valley. The mornings aren’t too bad but the afternoons are really ugly. Today was nice enough if not for the smoke. The Touron traffic is down too. The Cap is pretty active all things considered. Photography was particularly difficult in all the smoke and it was difficult to see any one west of the Nose as the light conspired with the smoke to produce a screen almost impossible to even see through. Today’s report is brought to you by Megan McGahey, the wife of our own climbing ranger who is presently trying to sneak up Zodiac without telling anyone! Fat chance of that Jesse! The eye in the sky is on you Son!

Today’s report…

Born Under a Bad Sign: I did see Pete and Kate working upward over there in that ugly dark rock. The lower pitches are difficult to even line up from here and with the smoke and black rock the photos were not much. As they get higher I should be able to get some good shots, smoke notwithstanding.

Zodiac: Team Cain switched on the afterburners yesterday and did three pitches. I caught them at the bivy at the start of the Nipple pitch. They looked comfortable enough. Their man went out and was getting the job done when he took the plunge from the middle of the Nipple pitch. A nice fall it was too… enjoyed watching it! Of course it is so steep that one is perfectly safe falling and it is also a swinging fall so no damage was done. He recovered and lead the rest of the pitch without incident. I left around 3pm as the team was hauling bags to the start of the Mark of Zorro pitch.

Team Cane at the bivy in the White Circle on Zodiac

Leader moving out on the Nipple pitch of Zodiac

Leader at the Nipple on Zodiac

Maureen doing the Big Air jug on the Nipple pitch of Zodiac

Lower down our own climbing ranger, Jesse McGahey, dressed in an orange shirt, made good time today with his partner (?). I picked them up at the top of the 4th pitch which I understand they fixed to yesterday evening. I wouldn’t have known it was Jesse if his lovely wife Megan hadn’t told me. I can see why he married her but for the life of me can not figure the reverse! Just kidding Jesse! Anyway, he lead the bolt ladder and linked the short pitch to the start of the Black Tower. His partner dispatched that pitch without any trouble and I left as Jesse was cleaning the pitch. Who is he with?

Jesse cleaning the Black Tower pitch on Zodiac today.

Zenyatta Mondatta: Andy and Skyler did the beautiful pitches in the white circle today. I just love to shoot that section of the rock as it is so wonderful to photograph and look at too. Skyler did the 9 O’clock roof yesterday evening my man Gleason reported, while on a mission to see if his lady, Sako, had finished on the 3D. Anyway the shooting was a real pleasure early in the day as I had a good angle on the route early and the smoke was not too thick until after noon. Those shots made my day! Enjoy!

Andy Hoeckel leading in the White Circle on Zenyatta Mondatta

Nine O'clock roof and close up on Andy and Skyler, notice Sky's leg hanging off ledge on Zenyatta Mondatta

The Sun finds Andy out on the lead on Zenyatta

Skyler cleans while Andy hauls the bags on ZM


Nose: Empty


Muir: The team there seems to be a two man one so I guess one of the three who started left. Anyway it was really hard to see them and I only got a shot or two worth even looking at.. Sorry fellows but that is the way it is these days. They should be off this evening.

Muir Wall team high in the last dihedral.

Magic Mushroom: I did catch a glimpse of this team passing over the Tan Band but the light and smoke were difficult to shoot through. I saw two members of the team but thought there were supposed to be three.. ? Anyway they are getting up on the headwall portion and that is where the awkward aid and difficult free climbing really take their toll. Best of luck guys, wish I could see you better!

Magic Mushroom team through the smoke.

In other news: It was a slow day here as the monkeys were other places. A few friends drifted through and we offered them Jeanette’s home made chocolate chip cookies and some lunch fixings. We had a ton of drinks and food and no one to consume them!  Ottawa Doug was here and later Gene Malone showed up to hang out on Doug’s last day. Yuji wandered by and Doug and Gene got to meet and talk to him briefly. Nice guy that Yuji! Steve and Heather Schneider passed through as did Ken Yeager. It was a nice, quiet day for us and even the Tourons were few in number and well informed. Hell, we had been talking to these folks for days and they were up on the scene and were even asking about individual teams progress! Thanh came by and talked to some folks who were climbers in the past and hooked their daughter up with climbing connections in SF. Leo Burke stopped by and talked to them too. Mara brought more food and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon too. It was all good… Doug and I smoked some of his cigars, drank his beers and celebrated his success on Tribal Rite. Wigball Zak came by and got some beta from Doug about the route and is racking up for it, also solo. I left around 3pm and I assume Doug was not far behind as he flies back home tomorrow.

Heather and Steve Schneider Ken Yeager Ottawa Doug Gene Malone at the bridge today.

I did see the girls from the 3D one bivy climb as they returned. They came over after the east ledges descent earlier in the morning. Holly said it was a long go and they didn't make the ledge below camp 4 until 2am. They enjoyed seeing the speed team go by and didn't hinder them in any way. They all agreed the 3D is a long route and better climbed not so fast! Nice job ladies! I'm sure Holly will put up one of her great trip reports in the coming days. Get some Sleep!! Don’t forget the Hans-Yuji speed attempt on Sunday at 6am. It is a good show and we all hope they get their best effort done. They have one more chance later next week before Yuji heads home if tomorrow doesn’t work out for them. Best of luck men!!!

So that’s the way it is for this the 27th day of June 2008.

Later ECP’s