ElCap Report 10/16/09

ElCap Report 10/16/09
By Tom Evans
Yo… Whoa!… Another sweet one is in the books here.  Perfectamondo!!  Spectacular weather and lots to talk about too.  The Big Trades are being flogged mercilessly by battalions of fresh meat.  The Captain is showing some mercy with this stellar weather, but in a strange coincidence, threw off two big rock falls this afternoon within a couple of hours of each other.  A large section of the 5th pitch on the Shortest Straw fell to the ground at 12:25 with a thunderous roar that must have scared the hell out of the teams at the base of and on, nearby Zodiac.  Scott  Deputy was at the base of LA and ran, like a flushed quail, for his life into a small depression in the wall, as the rock exploded nearby.  Huge slabs went crashing far down the scree slope in tumbling concussion.  A couple of hours later the west end of the ElCap Tree overhang cut lose with another thundering roar.  I took some after the fact shots that will be interesting to look at later tonight.  I may post some at a later time. 

Anyway … Today’s ElCap Report… written just for you… unique in all the world!

Zodiac:  Graham and Lorna moved into the White Circle today and were last seen hauling to the start of the Nipple around 4pm.  They have slowed a bit but that is to be expected as the Circle is the meat of the route.
Lorna Illingworth in the Jaws of Death on Zodiac’s 9th pitch.























Lower down a mixed team of two, David and Carmen,very sharply dressed, climbed from the deck with bags and were last seen finishing the Bolt ladder pitch this afternoon.  This team is pretty fast and seem to have it dialed.
“Dude, did you see that rock fall?  I’m sure glad we bailed on the Straw yesterday!”





















Lowest down I saw a guy link the first and second pitches in the afternoon and I am not sure yet if he is a solo or in a team.
Doing the Zodiac lie down on the second pitch.
























Lost in America:  A certain Moab/Missouri boy was seen climbing solo on the first pitch in the afternoon.  It will be a big step up if he stays on.

Trip/Virginia:  Althea jugged her fixed line to the top of the 4th in the morning and hauled her bags up in one long exhausting haul.  Later in the afternoon I saw her lead off on what appeared to be the Virginia variation.
She is decked out in a spectacular Fuchsia top with a yellow Helmet.  That outfit goes a long way toward assuaging my injured feelings from her solo of zodiac last year when she wore a gray shirt! 
Althea driving to Virginia.























Mescalito or what?  Yosemite Heavy Hitter, Tommy Caldwell and maybe Daddy, have fixed 1700ft of line from the top and were seen bolting next to the long rivet ladders Warren Harding put in on the pitches below Wine’o Tower.  I suppose there is really a line there, to work after it is equipped… if it doesn’t go after all, will the bolts be removed?  It is a vast amount of work and jugging, rapping all the while.  Only TC could undertake such a project and we wish him the very best of luck on what could turn out to be the best free climb in all the world!!

The Nose:  The team of Seth and Bryan stayed at ECT after fixing to the top of the Boot late yesterday.  They had done the KS before I arrived.  Bryan seemed to have gotten his shit together and climbed with much more confidence today.  They were on the pitch into Camp 5 when I left and just might get off tonight … I think maybe toward noon tomorrow, however.
Seth and Bryan on the pitch into C5 on the Nose Route.
























Below them the Swede, Olov, and the German, Walter, set out around 2am (Oh, the Humanity!) to make a run at doing a NIAD.  They climbed well all day and had turned the GR when I left around 4pm.  I think it will be about 10pm when they top out.  A concerned girl friend stopped by to watch the progress.
The Swede, Olov, can tell you why it pays to be tall!






















Tall Olov crushes the Grey Bands Traverse.























The Shield:  I looked for Mark and John on the Roof all morning but didn’t see them… they bailed later in the day…. Ha, got you didn’t I?  I saw them climbing to the start of the Roof in early afternoon.  They were poised to climb it as I left around 4pm.  Big Air a-comin boys!

Below, a solo, Walker, who climbed free blast yesterday and took a little whipper getting to the Half Dollar, was in the lead of a snarling pack of teams jockeying for position on the Muir approach pitches above Mammoth Terrace.  Where the Hell are these guys headed?  Tomorrow will tell the tale!  Walker is going for the Shield, solo, unless the allure of the 3D draws him over to its easier passage.

Salathe/Freerider:  The Big Swedes are still in the front of the line of climbers above ECS today.  However the Cap woke up, after they cruised the Monster so easily yesterday, and shrugged Petter off the Teflon corner time after time.  They spent some hours working it on a top rope and I never saw it lead with out a fall, but I don’t watch all the time so it could have been done.  I saw Stefan lead the pitch off the Block to Sous le Toit later in the afternoon so they either got the Teflon Corner or are just moving on…. Oh yes… the Headwall awaits lads! 
The Big Swede, Petter, off the Teflon Corner.
























Below the Gray team moved well enough and were heading to the Block in the late afternoon.
Below them the Swiss-German team crawled up to the Spire after a bivy on the ledge at the end of the long crack above the Ear.  They were climbing off the Spire when I left.  The teams above have no worries of being plowed under by these guys.  I didn’t see anyone lower on the route.

Lurking Fear:  I was out west late and did see a team on the 4th pitch late in the afternoon.

Feature of the Day:  Yesterday’s was the Quinlin Corner on Tempest.


























In other news:  The best days of the Season are happening right now.  The days are perfect for climbing and photography.  The waterfalls are busting, the river is rumbling along, the trees are turning now.  The South Side Drive is like being in a yellow tunnel and my tree is at max color at this very moment.  If you aren’t too far away you should make plans to get here within the next week or so… this won’t last forever you know!
Nice and quiet a the bridge today.  No Tourons to speak of really, just climbers hanging out and enjoying the day!
Tom Herbert and family have been seen in the Café over the past several days and this afternoon the patriarch, old TM himself, showed up too.  One of our great climbing families! 
So that’s the way it is for this the 16th day of October, 2009.
Later Tom

Thank for the report!

Thank for the report!

Feature of the Day

Thats Timbuktu Tower of course

Shortest Straw

Tom, can you be more specific about the rock fall on p5? Any close up photos? We should post a notice on the Supertopo beta page for SS.


update on names

I always appreciate any updates on the climbers names... glad to make corrections!!

Great report!

This seems like a really neat time to be there.

Prod sez!

Can't wait to see the rock fall pics. Great report as well.


they bailed later in the day....

yep, you got me Tom. Good one!


"Lower down a team of two sharply dressed men climbed from the deck with bags and were last seen finishing the Bolt ladder pitch this afternoon. These guys are pretty fast and seem to have it dialed."

If this is my son David and his "girlfriend" Carmen then you'll be in trouble when she sees this. LOL.

Nice photos of the day, as always.

Walter Rocks!

Whoa, Tall Boy Walter, makin' it look easy.
Cheers, Skully

Walter is Olov

Tall Walter on the pics is actually me. We made ok progress but bailed above the great roof after I had dropped our micro nuts ;-( We were afraid they would be crucial higher up. So we rapped off and were down by dusk. cheers / Olov (from Sweden)
From Tom Evans:  Thanks for the corrections Olov!!