El Cap Report 10/22/08

ElCap Report 10/22/08

By Tom Evans

Yo.. So nice here today... a little on the warm side too. The Nose, Salathe, and Zodiac are loading up. The fall colors are absolutely stunning and I think this is the max day so far and maybe for the entire Fall. Today's report is brought to you by the Trees. Yep, those pesky rascals, trees... they make the Fall, Fall. Right now they are the commanding life form in the Valley. People are coming in from all over the place just to look at them. A lot more than come to see the climbers or to climb themselves. So here is to you my dear friends, the Trees... always be here, always shelter us, always inspire us, always remind us what we don't want to be reincarnated as!

Dogwoods, Oaks and Maples near the lodge.

Fall colors behind the Lodge

Sentinel Rx and fall colors.

South side drive near Fern Spring

Dogwood leaves.

Today's Report, right now...

Water Fall Route: Will and Jason have been over there in the dark rock of the upper east side working on freeing this route. They got about half way up by today and were turned back just below the double roofs. It looked to me like it was just too hot over there today for them to make serious progress on difficult rock. They headed down in the afternoon.

Will and Jason working it out on the Water Fall route.

Zodiac: Suddenly popular, this route has three parties with women in them at the moment. In fact the ratio is 3 to 2 on the distaff side. Althea is leading the pack and make it to the Black Tower ledge late in the day. She is doing some on the job training and seems to be catching on. Unfortunately she borrowed a shirt from Kevin, who is just behind her. I recognized it from the Trip last week... I hate it!!

Althea cleaning the bolt ladder pitch as Kevin and Sarah organize on the start of the pitch.

Althea at the start of the Black Tower pitch

Kevin and Sarah are just behind Althea. Sara lead everything they climbed today. These were her first big wall leads and she make steady if not rapid progress. You go girl!!

Sarah leading off on the 5th pitch on zodiac.

Below them is another mixed team who quickly climbed to the top of the 3rd and ledged up for the rest of the day. They should pass sometime soon.

The Trip: Andy and Jacob are moving rapidly up the route. They are sporting colorful shirts and a nice red ledge. More fun than adventure for big Andy. Jacob seems to be doing just fine on his first EC route.

Andy racing the bags to the belay, he lost.

Nose: The Swedish team topped out around 2 pm today. Below a mixed team was in the lead today. The woman went down to do the King Swing and that drew the attention of various Bridge Rats. She looked puzzled and never did run... in fact she sort of tensioned out and took a long look and we figured she was soon to be toast. We took a poll on how many swings it would take her. From 6 to 12 was the swing guesses, while I figured the guy would come down and replace her after she became exhausted!! After going a bit below the tan band, she just launched out on a tension traverse while climbing sideways across the nearly blank face. She went out and out and out and soon had it done!!! Never even ran at all!! We all had egg on our faces here at the bridge. In fact she climbed the pitch to the belay quite well and it was her partner who had some difficulty lowering out as he got short roped and had to re-lower off the toe of the Boot. She lead the next two pitches. We all fell in love with her!!! They were seen heading toward camp 4 as I left.

The mixed team on the Boot Flake.

Lower down several teams, some NIAD's, were moving up the rock rather slowly. It was a long day in the Legs!!

Muir: Josh and Kevin are moving right along up the upper part of the route and made the ledge at the bottom of the final dihedral by 4pm. No problems up there...

Salathe: Several teams were seen heading out from Heart Ledge this morning. Holly and Jeff Webb were in the lead and two other teams were in line behind them. None were moving with any real speed but it was hot over there and I am sure they were doing the best the conditions allowed.

Octopussy: This two person team is moving along well now.

In other news: Heroes of El Capitan assembled at the bridge today as they got down from their respective climbs. Alik and Nicki were first to arrive, having topped out early last night on Pressure Cooker. They reported the route wasn't "too bad" but did have some heads up free climbing and a couple of "interesting" aid pitches too!!

Nicki and Alik at the Bridge.

After a time Matt, Chuck,and James arrived from the Zodiac push. They had a good time and hit it exactly in 24 hours. Having just done the Trip wall style Chuck and James liked the push concept a lot better than wall style.

Matt Chuck James at the Bridge.

The Dihedral team of 3 Czech climbers was not to be seen on the route today so I assume they are off now. The weather is going to be stable for several days now so this is the time to get up on the Cap. There is room for many more of you up there. The fixed lines to Heart ledge have been removed so factor that in to any of your plans on the SW face.

So that's the way it is for this the 22nd day of October 2008.

See you around town... ECP's