El Cap Report 09/27/08

ElCap Report 9/27/08
By Tom Evans

Yo… Wow! what a fine day here in the Valley of Adventure.  Lots of sun, breezes, and the company was the best!  The Cap saw some good action and sent a couple of the aspirants wheeling off the face.  More about that below. 
Today’s report is brought to you by Mike Ousley who showed up late in the day with a fresh supply of cold ones to keep the party going… thanks Mike!!
So rack up the gear, check your knot, and tighten your shoes because you are going on climbs from Zodiac to the Salathe and will be right there when some of the gambles pay off and others go bad…
Here it is, just for you… right now… Today’s ElCap Report

Zodiac:  This mixed team made the top from Peanut Ledge late in the morning.  I got some shots of them on top and I could imagine the smiles on their faces and pride in their hearts.  Well done team!

Kaos:  I did see Pete head up to finish off the difficult lead that Kate did most of yesterday.  This is the pitch up to the left side of the 9 o’clock roof on the west edge of the White Circle.  It must have been pretty hard as it took forever for Pete to get some serious progress made.  I left for a while to go out west to shoot and when I returned I learned that the lad had taken a whistler off the pitch but that some ratty gear had somehow stopped him from a nasty result.  He was back on it in a flash and had almost finished by the time I returned.  Just a few more pitches until it joins Zenyatta.
Piton Pete leading to the belay on Kaos from way out west.

Tangerine Trip:  Seems as though we have a solo on this steep, recently maligned upper East Side route.  The lad was sporting a sweet bright yellow shirt that was sure to draw the photographers eye.  He climbed the 2nd pitch late in the morning and I figure he will be blasting soon.

The Ranch:  Alec is way up on the cliff now and has merged with another route.  He climbed with confidence and competence today and I suspect just might make it off tomorrow sometime later in the day.  Proud Canadian ascent in a good style, something other Canadians might want to emulate!

The Sea of Dreams:  I had heard a party of two had fixed three pitches a while back and today they made their appearance to start in earnest.  I took a few shots of them but they are still below my line of sight and I will give you the straight dope as they progress.

Atlantis:  I did pick up this team just after Richie went a little too high and missed the left cutoff over to the Tempest corner.  Fortunately Rich and Manly had radios and Erik Sloan was able to talk to them about the line.  Seems as though DT had missed putting some information on his topo and Richie paid the price.  He had to down climb a few placements and then decided to take a “shortcut” across the outside of the corner to save time.  It looked a little sketchy through the scope but Richie managed to get up on a hook, way out to the left and looked pretty confident getting up on it….  Right up until the thing blew and off he sailed for a 20-30 footer and a hard slam back into the rock.  I could see that he was favoring his left foot afterward and soon the word came down that it was bad enough to halt the climbing.  Unfortunately, they are 7 pitches up on one of the steepest parts of the face, with no easy down.  He dialed up KFC and Bobo on the cell and they came down to the bridge with descent instructions.  They decided to wait until morning to try the technical and difficult descent.  We will keep a close watch on them and I will keep you posted.
Richie Copeland about to depart from Atlantis.

Richie after the fall on Atlantis.

Richie posing for the camera on Atlantis.

Mescalito:  The guys did the Molar traverse and seemed to have some trouble getting up and left to the start of the corner pitch but by later in the afternoon were headed up the next pitch.  I did get some killer shots of the traverse and am interested to see how they process out later tonight.
Lower down there is a rope fixed to the top of the 4th pitch and I await the owners return.

The Nose/3D:  Mmmm where to start…. Ok I got it… The team that spent the night on or surely near the top of the boot was over to the end of the King Swing when I arrived and were last seen doing the GR at around 5pm.  The party of three who nighted on Dolt tower were seen to climb to ECT and on to the King Swing.  The swing went in a typical fashion but they, like some others, decided to bring the entire party, with bags, down to Eagle Ledge.  The second guy down got stuck in the bottom of the “V” for a time but finally managed to make the ledge.  The last guy came down with the bag and the other two hauled him over the ledge like a dead walrus. 
The team behind them climbed to the top of Texas flake late in the day and then lowered off , bags and all, back to ECT.  They pulled the line and were last seen sitting on ECT.  Tomorrow?  Maybe up, maybe down.
The lead team of today’s aspirants was seen climbing over DT and immediately headed to ECT late in the day.  At the rear of the column was Jay and Jeanette.  They moved along slowly doing mostly aid climbing.  I went out west late in the day so as to get a better angle on shooting them.  I left as they were a pitch short of DT and I imagine that they will stay the night there, I sure hope so, as ECT is full!  Jay’s orange shirt and Jeanette’s sweet blue shirt looked great in the photos.  They are pretty much on the schedule we had talked about earlier in the week. 
Higher up were a couple of parties who came over from the 3D and there was a jam up at the start of the GR.  Then Alex Honnold and partner Chris Who, on a one day ascent of the route, showed up and everyone fell into line and patiently waited their turn.  Honnold had promised me he had a killer red shirt that would look great in the pics…. Yeah right!!  He showed up in white!!  Anyway, they all got past the GR just in time, as the teams from lower on the Nose showed up.  It all came off pretty well and I last saw Alex and Chris heading above camp 6.  I think the other parties are going to stay on camp 5.  So the route is crowded but it seems everyone is cooperating.
Alex Honnold cranking on the Great Roof.

Just making the reach on the King Swing.

Hauling the Walrus across the King Swing.

Jeanette with the bags on top of Sickle Ledge Nose Route.

Jay hauling hard in the Stove Leg Crack Nose Route

The pitch to Camp 5 Nose Route

Ledges at Camp 5 Nose Route.

Salathe:  I did see the team who were late on the Ear yesterday, climbing 3 pitches above ECS.  I assume they ended up on the block.

In other news:  Many Tourons and even more climbers were hanging here today… too many to mention here.  It was a mellow scene and a good time was had by all.  It was a on the warm side on the SE face today but that didn’t seem to stop anyone from moving up.  I did go out west but saw no one on the Dihedral or LF.
On a personal note… I have been doing these reports now for 4 seasons and taking photos for the past 12 years.  I have decided to take some time for myself and do some climbing and just enjoy my time in the park.  This has turned out to be an expensive and time consuming hobby that I can no longer afford to pursue so obsessively.  I am getting along in years now (64) and need to get more exercise and take better care of myself.  So I have decided to cut back on the photography and also the Report.  So, in the near future, you will find days when there is no Report and no photographs of climbers.   So be warned.  Sorry if it cuts into your pleasure but it is time for me to be more considerate of me!!
Come on out to the bridge and enjoy the friendship and fun… I may not always the there but I am not the reason people come to the Bridge.  Keep the spirit alive friends!!
Giving a shout out to my Son, Thomas Jason Evans, on this, his 36th birthday!  I love you Son!! A father could never have a Son he is more proud of than I am of you… much love to the wife and son.
So that’s the way it is for this the 27th day of September 2008. 
Remember, it is much more fun to be nice than nasty, well most of the time ;)
Bye Bye ECP’s