El Cap Report 10/09/08

ElCap Report 10/09/08

By Tom Evans

Yo... A chilly day here with some light winds. The rock was fairly empty and the Bridge was fairly full. They are predicting possible rain soon but some sites say not.. typical! Today’s Report is brought to you by the Geologist Greg Stock who I met today for the first time. Nice guy! We are going to look at and photograph the rock fall origin area tomorrow if of course I can remember the appointment! Thanks for all you do for so many people and for your courage in being lowered down from mid-height on the Cap... many of us would have had a heart attack if we were in your place! Today's ElCap Report in your face right now......

Eagles Way: Nico and Sean worked the upper part today doing some wild pendulums and some sketchy looking leading. I am not sure if they are off yet and will know for sure in the morning.

Reacting to a call from below the guys are moving off the bivy

Zodiac: Andrew and Catalin should be off as I type these lines. They stuck to the task and got the job done. Nice work men.

Pitch to peanut ledge on Zodiac

Pitch above Peanut ledge

The team below is famous for its slow pace of about a pitch a day and they didn't disappoint!! They got up at noon and lead the Nipple pitch for most of the afternoon. Maybe Pete's retro style is infecting the masses!!

Nipple pitch

There was a team working on the first pitch this afternoon.

NA Wall: I team of three climbed to the end of the 6th pitch and hauled bags this afternoon.

Moving the junk show on the NA Wall

Reticent: I saw Davito Hammock climb the supposed crux pitch this morning and afternoon. I left before he actually finished the lead. He will be the oldest person, or so I hear, to solo the face of ElCap at the age of 52?!! Well managed ascent in good time.

Davito on the last pitch of Reticent

Mescalito: I arrived at the Pile parking area this morning to see what I could see and low and behold there was my man, Ranger Jessie, about to start the notorious off width at the end of the Bismarck pitch!! Yes!!! So I settled in with my lens and camera to watch the unfolding drama. I can tell you that I have seem a fair amount of angst and air on that short section! Plus all kinds of tricks to avoid having to free this section. Everything from lassoes to wooden pins to Big Bros and cheater sticks. Very few climb it well and most are quite relieved to just have it behind them. So you can imagine my interest at seeing our "climbing ranger" give it a go. What would he do? Whip out a long stick? Toss a hook and hope it catches on something?

Well I was ready with the a fresh memory card and supply of batteries! Anyway he inched up on his last piece of big gear and I knew it was Show Time!!! He fiddled with the rope and went through the rack. After a few moments I saw him reach his left and then right hand behind him into the chalk bag to get a good dose of the white courage. He was going to try it free!!! Ha! This would be good and I prepared to shoot the plunge that was sure to happen! I spoke out loud even though I was alone... "You're going to die Son!!". He reached up with his right hand and grabbed the left edge of the crack while steadying himself with his other hand on the face to the left. He cranked his right leg up and leaning left just went for it. Sometimes, in moments of desperation, climbers will just get so amped that they can't stand it anymore and will just go for it hoping for the best.

Well... he moved up a couple of moves and soon had both hands on the lieback and then shot his right foot out on the face to keep his balance. No going back now!!! Not unlike the smoothness of Hans himself, he calmly made a series of moves bing, bing, bing, and had his hands on the solid ledge and was up in a flash!! I couldn't believe it!! He cruised the thing with style and confidence!! But even from a mile away I heard his "YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" In that moment I gained a new respect for the little fella and I had a smile on my face that surely matched the one on his!! He lead on for the rest of the day that I watched and they are, I think, a pitch or two from the top now. Maybe they climbed off but I doubt it. The NPS team put in a very nice job on this classic line. They put on a clinic. If you had doubts, I can assure you that we do indeed have a "Climbing Ranger"!!

Jessie busting the crux on the Bismarck

Lincoln on chillin on the Bismarck ledge.

Jessie leading above the Bismarck

Nose: I did see a couple of teams top out today and none on the rest of the route. Hans you picked the wrong day!!!

Last pitch of the Nose

Shield: My man Narek was at the end of the triple cracks and rumor has it that he took a pretty big plunge off the pitch late in the evening yesterday. He looked confident today and took some time to take his own picture and several down the route too.

Narek above the Triple cracks Shield

Narek rapping to the bleay on the Shield

Salathe: A couple of teams were low, around the hollow flake and I saw one team do the regular pitch above the Ear later.

Dihedral: The route was empty today, guess the father and daughter had a change of plans.

Lost World: Yep, I think that is the name of the route that Nanook and Alec were on today. Obscure to say the least, and Erik's 66th climb up the Cap too. They were moving fast as Erik always has some time constraints and needs to be down from work. In other news: The weather has turned much cooler now and some clouds were seen driving in from the NW early in the day. The cafe is jammed in the morning as the food place in curry is closed at the moment and so everyone comes to "our" place. I hear that some climbers have moved on to other places now. Well I don't know why anyone would. It is fall, the leaves are just starting to look sweet, the cliff is in great shape, the air is cool and the sun warm.... perfect!! Hello!!??

Sunday or Monday the Hans and Yuji show is rolling up the Nose again... Record insurance!! Alex Honnold and Sean Leary are racking up for Golden Gate and the action in the valley is far from over... so come on out from behind those cubicles you pukes and live a little!!

So that's the way it is for this the 9th day of October 2008.

Later ECP's