El Cap Report 10/12/08

ElCap Report 10/12/08 By Tom Evans Yo... It was a nice day here until afternoon when the wind picked up and it seemed much colder. The morning was nice enough and with crowd in the meadow watching the Hans and Yuji show were quite comfortable. They started later in the day so had the sun on them for the entire ascent. I heard that Steve Roper was in the crowd but never actually saw him. Steve was one of the original speed climbing guys and I remember him stating that if you could just nail a pin a minute then you could do the Nose in a day. Of course the key would become free climbing and not fast aid climbing. But who knew back then? So today's report is brought to you by Steve Roper who was one of the first of the old school Yosemite climbers to get on the speed wagon! Today's Report is here for you right now... Zodiac: The mystery team of two who have spent the last 3 nights at the bivy atop the Nipple pitch finally made up their minds and bailed. The bail from there is pretty interesting but they pulled it off without difficulty. Lower down a team, Gary and Nate, climbed to the start of the Black Tower pitch by the time I left around 3pm. Below them was a team, Bob and Omar, headed to the top of the 3rd and below them was a team, Gary and Eric, climbing the first pitch with bags in tow.

Hauling bags to the end of the first on Zodiac


Trip: The three man team of Kevin, Charley, and James climbed the first pitch on the direct start and bivied there last night. Today they were last seen climbing the classic 5th pitch as I left. The belayers looked bored and the leader looked cold! There was another team at the top of the first pitch of the direct start.

First pitch Bivy on the Trip


Leader and hangers on the Trips classic 5th pitch


NA Wall: When I arrived this morning I watched Holly Beck climbing the pitch above the Continental Shelf but after a time she down climbed and cleaned the pitch back to the Shelf and after that they ledged up for the rest of the day... Up or down Girls?

The Nose: The sharp dressed team of three was seen this morning climbing the great roof and were above camp 5 when the speed climbers caught them. I later saw them a couple from the top. Down low Roger and Eric climbed the Stove Legs to Dolt in good time and I assume they passed on to ECT later in the day. Attractive young women came by inquiring about them and wanting a peek at them. Must be nice!! They were putting some distance between themselves and a lower team who would most likely be happy to make Dolt tonight. Can I haul now?

Roger waiting on Dolt tower to haul loads



The big event of the day was the speed ascent and new record put up by Hans and Yuji. While most people see these speed climbing events as a lot of fun, I always have a knot in my stomach when I watch them. That kind of climbing is easily the most dangerous climbing on the Captain, as one broken hold or a slip due to haste could be the end of some really fine people we all hold dear. So it was a relief to see them for what I hope is the last time climbing in this manner. They started around 10:20am and thus had the benefit of warmer conditions. It was nice for me because for the first time I could shoot them in the sunlight over then entire climb. They went well with the only noticeable glitch being a missed first try at the King Swing by Hans. But that only cost a few seconds. They were faster to the Grey bands and to the great roof. The route was empty from just above Sickle all the way to the Glowering spot so that was a definite advantage they have not had in the past. By the time they reached camp 5 they were ahead of schedule by a fair amount and the record was theirs to lose. They climbed well in the upper dihedrals and by the time they reached the last pitch they were easily going to make the record. The crowd got into the spirit of the thing early and often and when the time was announced of 2:37:05 a great cheer went up. They came to the rim and held their arms up, hopefully for the last time. They have set a record that no one of their generation will most likely beat and that is really all one can ask. There will be others who come forth from a younger generation to perhaps take up the challenge. I wish they would forget about it myself because the danger far out weighs the reward. But come they will and I wish them all the best and a safe climb.

Yuji in the Stove Legs


Hans in the Stove Legs


Yuji climbing above Dolt Tower. What pro?


Hans climbing above Dolt Tower


Yuji running it out on the Boot Flake. What pro?


Yuji climbing on the Great Roof


Yuji on Pancake flake


 Hans on Pancake flake


Climbing to Camp 5


 Hans and Yuji on top of ElCap


Shield: Narek topped out this morning after his solo ascent of the Shield. He hauled all his kit up the freeblast too!! Awful stuff that!

Salathe: I did see a team go over the roof in the afternoon and up the headwall. Below them were the Montana Boys, a team of three, who were headed to the Block as I left. They wanted Long Ledge but I don't think so!! Below them was a team of two who climbed to the Alcove in the late morning and another team lower down yet. The route is seeing some action.

Never Never Land: I did see this team doing the 4th pitch today. They are local girl Lori and two guys named Paul and Tim. They looked a little cold over there...

In other news: Well October 12th turned out to be a good day here. For me it was also the anniversary of a childhood hero's most famous exploit. On Oct. 12th 1947,  (actually it was on the 14th of Oct) Captain Chuck Yeager flew the Bell X-1 past the speed of sound at Edwards AFB in the high desert of California. Test pilots were a big deal to us kids BITD as we all had heroes of various kinds. To me Chuck was the man! He still lives on a ranch near Ridgecrest. There is supposed to be some good weather for a time here and climbers are getting back up on the Cap for the last routes of the Fall. This is a wonderful, quiet, time here in the valley as the beautiful colors of fall are coming into their own now. Come on out if only to see the Valley at a wonderful time of year. Soon climbers from this great place will be leaving for destinations of adventure all around the world. Many of our locals are heading to South America and with the skills they have honed here will do well in the big mountains. Climb safely and come back when the waterfalls are booming and the trees are leafing out once again in the Spring. So that's the way it is for this the 12th day of Octobe 2008. Later ECP's