El Cap Report 10/26/08

ElCap Report 10/26/08

By Tom Evans

Yo... It is getting late in the season folks so get it together and bring it here. The routes are still open and the weather looks good. This weekend was splendid and many people turned out to see the end of fall. The leaves are falling rapidly but the Indian Summer continues. There are still a precious few days left to enjoy before the winds blow heavy and the cold days settle on the land.

Sentinel Rx from MPB turn in.

Today's report is brought to you by the Bridge Rats themselves. Who are these people? They are all climbers of some level. Some are the greatest of the coming generation, and some are middle aged but still psyched about climbing. Some are quiet and modest and some are loud and boisterous. Some hang out at the fringes of the community and some fly in, climb for a week and then fly home. All share the common spirit of Yosemite climbers. The great cliffs are magical to them, the relm of exciting adventure, to be found no where else. So here is to them, the rats you see leaning on the railing, talking about everything and everyone in their sport. To me they are friends, and each is a special gift that enhances my life and makes me work all the harder to be worthy of their friendship. Bridge Rats!!! Live long, love life, climb on!!! Today's Report right now...

Zodiac: I spotted Althea climbing above Peanut Ledge this morning after staying too long in the cafe. She had put on a clinic yesterday, climbing 3 long pitches before stopping to spend the night on Peanut. It was the most she had climbed in a day yet. She took a bad turn on the 15th pitch when she went left instead of right at the end of the lead. There is a fixed pin with a sling out there which lures the unknowing to it. I remember back in 1969 when I was here for 6 weeks with my first Yosemite partner, Bob Williams. We thrashed our way up to Quarter Dome over a brutal 8 hour approach and climbed on the route the next day. But alas, we got off the line and ended up at a fixed pin with a sling on it. We bailed. I went to Pratt and told him our sad tale... he quietly replied... "Why do you think the pin and sling were there?" Yes Chuck, a clear marker of the way not to go! We, at the bridge, were getting concerned as she wasted valuable time and energy. I kept thinking... "read the topo girl, read the topo"... after a time she stopped and came back and found the belay. I left before she started the last pitch but a friend was up there waiting to help and I feel certain she is off now. An impressive ascent for a first time ElCap climber.

Rapping back to Peanut Ledge.

Lost on the 15th pitch.

Lower down the team of 3, Ryan, Eli, and Collin were moving smartly along as they have done the entire time. They were dusting off the Nipple pitch when I left this afternoon. Looks like a 2 bivy ascent for them.

The not so nice Nipple conforts another leader.

Cleaning and chilling on the Zodiac.

Team of three in the White Circle of Zodiac Also if you know the cliff you can just see Alik at the top of 8 and his bag at the top of 6 on the Trip

Even lower down a team of two blasted off the deck with bags in tow and were at the top of two when I left. Leading the 2nd on Zodiac.

The Trip: The climber who, to me, is the "Climber of the Season" Alik Berg from Canada, climbed solo on this route today with just a small back pack, and 2 70m ropes he used to string pitches together. By the time I left he had done 8 pitches in 9 hours. He is doing it in a push and seemed to be completely comfortable on the route. Previously he soloed the Ranch, make the 4th ascent of Pressure Cooker with Nicki, and climbed the Water Fall Route with Dan Oppenheim. So this was just a "for fun" outing! I wish I could have stayed to watch the entire climb.

Aliks bag swinging above the Black Cat as he cleans 4,5,6 in one shot.

Alik getting back to the start of 6 on the Trip

Alik cleaning 5 on the Trip

Alik leading 7 on the Trip

Mescalito: As promised, Formerly Famous Emily, and Skyler were climbing on this great route. I picked them up as they climbed to Stork ledge later in the afternoon.

The Nose: I saw two Euros climbing on a NIAD pass the mixed team from yesterday at the Great Roof this morning. Later in the day I spotted Mash and his partner going up the last pitch. These teams are all who inhabit the route. So!!! Now or never folks!

Albatross: The 24 hour mark came and went for this three man team. I had predicted 30 hours and it was pretty close to that when they topped out around noon today. Jon, Ben and Nate were seen climbing above Chieftain Ledge around late in the morning on their way out. Wish they had done the upper part in daylight as I have never gotten shots of anyone on the Canoe. Nice push men!!

In other news: Don't forget the 50th anniversary celebration, on the 8th of next month, of the first ascent of El Capitan. Check the YCA site for all the details.

So that's the way it is for this the 26th day of October 2008.

Thanks for your support of these reports over the fall season. Come out if you can and stop by the bridge for some good cheer.

Later ECP's