El Cap Report 09/23/08

ElCap Report 9/23/08
By Tom Evans

Yo… yep … you now know that the master of the most important grade separation device in the history of American climbing, the so called “ElCap Bridge” has returned to the scene of his past glory days of shooting and slander… So dump the pets into the yard, tell the old lady/man to get the hell out of your face, grab a cold one and settle in for today’s ElCap Report, the first in a long series of reports to come your way in the coming weeks.

The really good news is that I have purchased an 800mm Canon L lens that I will be using to take my shots with.  Gone will be the Meade ETX 90 telescope I have used for several years.  This should produce a noticable improvement in the quality of the photographs on this site.  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anyway… as Jim Madsen said when he realized that he had come off the rap line high on the Dihedral Wall and was doomed….
“Here we go”!!!
I got up and left my beautiful mountain retreat in SoCal at 1:30 a.m. this morning and drove to the Valley. I arrived, after an uneventful drive, around 8:30 this morning. The new traffic pattern is not a problem so don’t let it dissuade you from making the journey here. What beautiful weather we had today. Gone are the blazing hot days of the past weeks, replaced with cool breezes and warm sunshine. The bridge soon attracted the usual Bridge Rats, most of whom appeared to be searching for some free food and drink. Unfortunately none was to be had…. But tomorrow is the Official “Welcome back to the Bridge for the Fall party.” So come on by in the early afternoon and catch up on old friends and times… I hear that food and drink will be abundant.
Today’s report is brought to you by one Kate Robertson, who happened by on the way to blast on her and PTPP’s latest climb.

Zodaic: I did see a mixed team climb the 4th and 5th pitches of this timeless classic this morning and into the afternoon. A very nice red shirt was in evidence in this party and thus I was able to devote some time to shooting this team. Anyone know who they are?
Lower down I saw someone lead the first pitch but I departed before I could see if it was for real or just practice.

Kaos: I arrived to find PTPP at the top of the 2nd pitch of this difficult climb. He had his crab ledge out and was sorting various bags and such and later hauled a huge set of bags to the belay directly from the ground. Judging from their rate of climb I would guess he was going 2 or 3 to 1. In the early afternoon I did spot Kate jugging up the long lines (400ft for two pitches!!) way out from the wall… she look sparkling in a sweet red shirt and dazzling smile as she worked her way up the wall… made me tired just looking at her jugging (that's "jugging" not "juggs")!! Donny came by earlier and talked about going up to help with the hauling but I didn’t see him.

The Ranch: Solo climber, Canadian Alec, was seen hauling his business up to the first of several white spots midway up the wall. I didn’t see him lead anything but I was out of there by 4pm or so today. I hear he has been up for a few days so far.

Mescalito: There is a party of two who climbed up to the Bismarck ramp this afternoon after some difficulty past the rivet latter and over the roof to the small stance. Who are these guys?
Lower down I saw a team of two climb to Stork ledge (pitch 5) and go back down… I thought at first they were bailing but later caught a glimpse of them with some bags in tow headed upward I think. Who R they?

The Nose: I did see Steve and Cal Gerberding climb through the Stove Leg’s, over Dolt tower, past ECT and Steve was on top of the Boot when I left around 4:30 from the west side. Just out for some fun and wearing white shirts too… yuck! I will go kick their butts when they come down… well maybe not….. ;)
The rest of the route was swarming with parties… several in the upper dihedral who eventually topped out… some in the middle…. some more, lower down in the Stove Legs. Who they all are is anyone’s guess, but I can assure you the route is crowded.
However, a team of three did bail from ECT as Steve and Cal passed them, and a team of 3 also bailed from camp 4 while on the 3D and came down Grape Race instead of trying to negotiate the regular Nose descent. They were very orderly and were down in just a few hours and reported no problems on the way with any of the anchors. A very direct line down.

Muir: A party of three climbed the first half of the upper section above the traverse ledges and were moving very nicely… Who??
Lower down there was a team a pitch above Grey ledges that seemed to have 4 in it. Below them as another team that appeared to be just two climbers… where they are headed is not obvious at this time. Some nice shirts there too!!

Salathe: I watched a team climb the Freeblast and when I went out west I saw a guy in a sweet red shirt climb the infamous Hollow flake pitch without too much trouble… I left before he actually made the ledge but he looked solid.

Lurking Fear. I did go out west for a few minutes at days end and saw some teams lower on the route… maybe three teams??? Can’t say for sure…

In other news:  I used the  new 800mm lens today and the shots came out great but I am tired and need some sleep so I am not going to post up any pics this evening but will for tomorrows report. There were the usual suspects at the bridge from time to time today. Ivo, KFC, Lori, Mash and wife(?), Nicki and some of his friends from the Drop Zone, Mike Ousley, Aussie Garrath Luellen (sp?), Winky, Jeanette and Hubby, Tom and Theresa, Ed Whittle, Swilly Russell, a drive-by by Jo Woodford and several more I can’t recall in my tired state at the moment. It was nice… another thing… The ElCap shuttle is not operating now, so be advised. The plus side is that the hordes of Tourons usually infesting the area are absent!! There are a couple of lines fixed on some of the routes and I will report progress as I see it. Of course the annual Yosemite Face lift is now starting and has generated a lot of interest as it usually does… other’s will give the dope on it.
I need a shower!!! So I am closing this out …
So that’s the way it is on this the 23rd day of September 2008... Be safe and come on by the bridge…..
Bye Bye… ECP’s