El Cap Report 10/03/08

ElCap Report 10/03/08

 By Tom Evans

Yo… Very cloudy and cool here today with higher winds this afternoon. Today was “bail day” on the Captain with the lower parties hitting the lines and the higher parties heading for the top. The forecast is for a pretty quick and powerful storm here tonight and out tomorrow night. The cautious have hit the deck by now and those not in position to do so are hunkering down. Ranger Jack Hoeflick stopped by the bridge to assess the situation and see what parties need to be watched with a sharp eye. By now all climbers should know to carry a cell phone or at least a two way radio to communicate with the ground and keep current on the changing weather. In Yosemite, wet weather can be a death sentence so the wise head down if close enough to do so. Jack, as you probably know, is a very knowledgeable climber and an expert in rescue techniques on the YOSAR team. He has participated in numerous life saving rescues at great personal risk. For his efforts to help climbers in distress, today’s ElCap Report is brought to you by Jack Hoeflick… thanks Jack!!! So turn off the damn TV, close the door, take a deep hit and settle in because you are coming with me to the face of El Capitan to watch the climbers deal with possible adversity…. Today’s ElCap Report is right now…

Zodiac: Conn lead the parade of bailers on this route today. He and client made an orderly and rapid descent from the start of the BT pitch. They pulled their lines and thus won’t be jugging back up. Lower down a team of two bailed from the top of three but left bags and fixed ropes. I talked to another team of two, Andrew and Catalin, who have ropes fixed to the top of 4. They were headed up with some bags and may actually head up this evening. This route, like many on the SE Face, is quite steep and mostly protected by the overhangs above for all but the most severe blowing water.

 Kaos: Kate was on the sharp end this day and pushed upward but I don’t think they can make the top in time this evening. But both are experienced climbers with vast resumes and even vaster amounts of gear. I don’t expect them to have any problems no matter where they are when the storm hits.

Zenyatta: Lambone and Brian were on the 5th pitch when I left and are going upward. They have the overhangs above and the necessary equipment to continue. Good luck guys!

Matt Lambert leads the 5th pitch on ZM as Brian belays. Notice the colors!!!

Trip: The solo was just past the last bolt ladder when I last saw him. Not a good spot as the wall is very low angle there and fully exposed to the weather. He is pretty fast and seems competent so I think he will either top out and hide or ledge up and wait it out. Lower down Sean O’Neill, Ivo and Ammon were seen retreating from the start of the 8th pitch. The overhanging descent didn’t slow them down and they efficiently make the ground late in the day. No lines were left.

Ivo raps with the bags to the belay at 5 as Ammon and Sean guide him in.

Sean about to meet the Black Cat on the Trip raps

Reticent: Davito Hammack has worked his way up to Wine Tower this day and is getting his rig in order there. A good place to stop if the weather caves in.

Mescalito: Pavil and Maciek moved off Stork ledge and climbed the Seagull this afternoon. That move makes it very unlikely they will be coming back down without some difficulty. They are in the water zone now and hopefully are prepared for every eventuality.

Maciek and Pavil doing the Seagull pitch as the Stork looks on.

Cleaning the Seagull pitch on Mescalito

Nose: A team bailed from Dolt Tower this afternoon. Higher up on the route, Mash and Chantela did the Great Roof as I departed. They are sporting two good sized bags so I figure they have the stuff to keep them warm and alive. Chantela lead the pitches I saw today as Mash lounged at the belay. He has made a mini career of doing the 3D so I think they will be just fine. I did see a team high in the final dihedral this morning so they are surely off by now.

Shield: My man Narek, not one of the cone-heads, was seen this afternoon established on Grey Ledges. He is in the wet zone there but he is one tough Polish dude who described a storm on SSPO as being “good weather” where he comes from!! It would have been nice if he could have gotten under the Shield Roof.

Out west: I did see a team out there in an exposed position but both are very, very experienced climbers and, somewhat ironically, one was in a storm there 4 years ago! They should be fine.

In other news: The weather has dampened the Touron population and the bridge was quite quiet today. We have a problem on the most famous climb in the world and I will open the discussion tomorrow. It seems somewhat doubtful that Hans and Yuji will actually climb on Sunday so they will postpone, if necessary, until Monday to make a run at the Nose record.

Jay and Jeanette stopped by the bridge today to bask in the glory of their climb on the Nose. They related to me that some German climbers on the route were rude and obscene toward Jeanette. Listen up Euros and any other rude climbers… climbers here consider themselves a part of a brotherhood. And as such expect to be treated with respect and dignity when on the wall. Vulgar language directed at females, or any climbers, is totally unacceptable here. If you were injured these members of the brotherhood would face death to help you out… so don’t forget that!! When you disrespect other climbers you are disrespecting yourself and are undeserving of the privilege of climbing the greatest pure wall climbs in the world. So man up pukes and do the right thing or else stay home, as we don’t need or want your kind here. Enough said? If not come by and see me and I will make it very clear to you. On that happy note….

That’s the way it is for this the 3rd day of October 2008.

Stay warm and dry and head back up when the weather clears. Bye Bye ECP’s

Update... It is morning now and it rained pretty hard for a long time last night. I am headed to the cafe now and will be heading down to the rock in a little while to see what is up and I will get back to you .... later Tom