El Cap Report 10/20/08

ElCap Report 10/20/08

By Tom Evans

Yo... Oh Man, another killer day here in the valley of adventure! More climbers are making the right decision and getting on the big stone. Nose is still practically empty with only one party above Sickle. Today's report is brought to you by Aaron (KFC) Jones who, as my partner today, dragged me up a couple of climbs at the Pile. Thanks Aaron for being a good friend and a great climbing partner. So, sell the house, divorce the spouse, click the mouse and come with me to the Cap on a great fall day to see all the action up close and personal.

Today's Report, right now...

Pressure Cooker: Alik lead off on a long, mostly hooking and beaks pitch this morning. He stayed calm and even had the presence of mind to turn around and look toward the bridge when some monkey calls went up. When I came back from climbing around 3, Nicki was leading the next pitch which looked just as sketchy as the ones before it. Klaus, you are still screwing with peoples minds!!!

I see hooking in Alik's future!!

Alik responding to monkey calls from the Bridge, while standing on a big hook.

Zodiac: I did see Althea, a young woman with no EC experience climb and fix the so called "direct start" near this route. This stack of whale dung is an affront to the route and should be erased from the rock. Minerals, was this your creation? Going to do Zodiac??? CLIMB THE ROUTE!!!! Later in the day I did see someone climb the real first pitch, which, BTW, is really nice and a good introduction to the climb. I hear that a push is on for tomorrow too.

Trip: I did see Big SAR Stud Andy, and partner Jacob take off on this route today. Andy is wearing a black shirt and his partner is almost invisible. I would kick both their asses upon their return but I am, if anything, a realist and want to live out my last few years without a full body cast! The two speedy guys from the last couple of days went over the top early in the afternoon.

Andy working the lines on the Trip's 4th pitch

Nose: The only team I saw on the route was the team of 2 (not 3 as reported yesterday) who stayed the night at DT. They climbed to and crossed the Jardine Chip Traverse using the usual aid techniques from bolt to bolt. Supposedly, they are a Swedish couple. The woman is very well dressed with a nice red, long sleeve shirt that comes off, when the temps rise, to reveal a very stylish and well fitting electric blue camisole top. Very nice!! I haven't had time, nor inclination, to look at his outfit!! (Oh .. I see from the photo that he is dressed in gray and black... sucky, but the helmet saves the outfit, and he appears to be a lot bigger than I am!!) She lead the Lynn Hill Traverse with some little whippers but ended up making the moves in good form. NIAD's ... where are you?? The conditions are perfect!! Hello?!

Swedish team on the Jardine Traverse

Smartly dressed Swedish woman leading the Lynn Hill Traverse

Muir: Local boy, Josh (formerly of the Josh and Ian team who we loved to kid about "walks of shame" which I could never get to stick!!!) and his newbee partner (?), climbed the lower section over a couple of days and were last seen this afternoon heading for the Gray ledges. Beauty awaits you guys higher up!

Muir team heading to Gray Ledges

Salathe: I did see a team swing over to the Hollow flake this morning and had the horrifying experience of seeing the leader, smartly dressed in a red shirt, aid the entire pitch with huge cams. That must have been frightening for him, as he left nothing in and just leapfrogged the whole way. If one of those babies had pulled.... OUCH!!! By afternoon they were just a pitch higher in what looked like pretty warm conditions. Their chances look slim at the moment.

Dihedral Wall: The "practice crew" went away and left the route to the real wall climbers. This Czech team of 3 is putting on a clinic about utilizing the 3 man system to go faster. I saw them this afternoon above the Flake, high on the route. They are moving right along.

Czech team high on the Dihedral Wal

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Octopussy: A team of two is on this route and are just right of this really cool looking arch nearby that has a remarkable resemblance to Half Dome. (They appear to be bailing) It is known as the Octopus Head. Thanks to "Lunchbox" for setting me straight about the route and feature. Still looks like Half Dome to me!!

Half Dome on ElCap

Lurking Fear: I normally don't shoot or record anything about this route but, since I was down there to check out the Czech crew on the Dihedral, I took a look and saw two teams on the route. One at the Traverse pitch high on the route and the other doing the Window Pane Flake.

In other news: The leaves have suddenly exploded in color now and the South Side is really looking fine. All the gullies are sporting yellow Aspins too. The weather is splendid and the forecast good. The water falls are booming... Ha Ha! The route you are jonesin for is now open and awaits your ascent. It doesn't get any better than this folks!!! Where the hell are you? Do I have to come out there into the World and drag your butts here?

Maple leaves

Maple leaves in their fall colors

So that's the way it is, for this the 20th day of October, 2008.

I am out of here for today... ECP's