ElCap Report 10/27/10

ElCap Report 10/27/10
By Tom Evans
Yo… Hate to tell you but… today is the last day of the Report for the year 2010.  You knew it was coming…I warned you… so the day has come.  It has been a strange climbing season this Fall.  The weather was awful, but we saw some great climbing and some not so great climbing, but mostly we saw people up there battling it out on the greatest climbing rock in the world.  They were stretching their limits and many reached their goals.  We had a new free route climbed on the Cap…read about it below.  We had people from all over the world come to test their skills… they came from England, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and other countries too.  A Swiss team of brothers, Simon and Samuel Anthamatten were easily the team of the season, for all the ElCap climbs they did, and in the best of style too.  

Of course, a large number of climbers came from the good old USA!  Yeah!!
Anyway, while it seems much more like a job these days than a hobby, I feel fortunate to have been able, once again, to be your man at the center of the action, here at the ElCap Bridge.  I have assuaged the fears of husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and friends in general.  I have talked to thousands of Tourons during my time here and tried to present our sport in the best possible light, while giving them the “real deal” about how climbing is done and what it means to us.  Thanks to our man Ken Yager for all he does, and has done, to keep our voice heard here in the Park.  Thanks go out to our climbing rangers for all they have done to help keep us informed and represented.  So another season closes out … but not so fast, breath of a thousand swine!  Tommy and Kevin are still here, getting ready to have a go at what just might be the most difficult pure rock climb on the planet!  Our local team of speed climbers is here too and working toward a record send.  Some other climbers are staying on through November, hoping for a good spell of weather.  But for me, and the Report, it is time to shut down and head for the barn.  I have done the best I could,  with just a few words, and some pictures, each day, to convey to you the trials and tribulations, joy and humor, of climbers as they have put forth their best efforts to climb ElCap.  My efforts were, of course, inadequate, but better than nothing.  So I close out the season with one last Report…

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

The Prophet:  I got down to the meadow a little late today but saw that the boys were still ledged up.  So I shot some other climbs, until about 12:30pm when Leo started from the portaledge, sporting a blue shirt, for a change.  Jason was out of the ledge and focused on belaying.  So it was show time for Leo Houlding.  How many days and nights has he spent, over the years, working on this climb?  He was down to his last day, flying out tomorrow.  This was it.  They had just endured one on the worst storms in memory and spent two nights with water pouring down upon them…they were soaked, cold, buffeted by strong updrafts and yet they stayed in the fight.  No going down for the lads…not this time.  
Yesterday, the climb dried out enough for them to give it a try. See yesterday's Report.   Leo climbed well but fell and fell again at the crux section.  He must have really been disappointed, to say the least.  Would it be different today?
He started well, moving in his smooth, measured style.  He squeezed his finger tips into the narrow crack, the so called, A1 Beauty.  He stemmed and liebacked, crimped and stepped high with his great footwork.  Soon he was at the spot he used to rest, for some time yesterday, before trying the hardest part.  This time he chalked a couple of times and went to meet his fate.  He rose to the challenge and moved smoothly past the rounded arete that had sent him flying yesterday.  He made an outrageous dead point lunge and just grabbed a key hold that allowed him to move left, off the arete and onto some more positive holds.  Another wild move left and soon he was at the belay.  Tommy, Kevin, Becca, and others in the meadow, sent up a loud roar of approval and Leo called back.  It couldn’t have been sweeter!  But not so fast... there was another hard, 5.13a, section that stood in the way to total success.

























 Leo throwing down a  "DaVinci Rest" on the Prophet!

























Leo looking to lunge!




























Difficult climbing off the Arete.


























Outrageous crux move, away from the arete.


























Leo, relaxing after sending the crux pitch.

After Pickles came up, Leo put on, of all things, a black shirt!  Well, it was getting cold and he earned it, I guess!  There was that one tricky section, of 5.13a, left and it came after he and Jason dusted off a short pitch.  Leo rested a bit and then went off to finish the job…. But somehow, he looked a little awkward to me… his feet weren’t looking so positive and he was jerking around a bit and obviously having some difficulty.  Ten feet above the belay he came flying off and just missed Jason on the way by.  Suddenly it wasn’t in the bag anymore, and Pickles put a hand on Leo’s shoulder and had a few words with him to settle him down.  Shortly Leo returned to the fight but the result was the same… off he came again.  Well, it started to look a little grim, as a determined Leo shook out and took some deep breaths.  I guess he was getting real tired of this shit and jacked up his energy level and gave it another go….. This time he was way smoother and back in form.  It was only a matter of a few minutes before he reached the top!  It was finally done!  I’m sure he will never want to go back to that route again!  The unsung hero here is Jason Pickles.  He was there with Leo every step of the way, a solid climbing partner and friend to share the hardships as well as the success.  Congratulations are in order for Leo Houlding, and Jason Pickles, for putting up our newest ElCap free route.  The Prophet!


























Leo with bad feet, bad balance, and really bad colors!


























Look out below!  Leo is off!  Must be that damned black shirt!!



























Like a manager in a prize fighters corner, Jason calms his man down and instills confidence for the next attempt.

























Leo, happily on top!

Zodiac:  As advertised, Logan and Dave showed up, on this great climb, to push it in a day.  Logan lead to the top of the Black Tower pitch, which was reached about noon.  Then Dave Allfrey took over the leading.  They climbed well into the Circle and were finishing the Nipple pitch as I departed around 3pm.





















Logan Talbot on the Black Tower.





























Logan and Dave on the Nipple pitch.

Salathe:  The two guys from yesterday, Russians I hear,  have a little harder bark on them than I thought, and didn’t bail.  They bivied on top of the Ear and continued upward today.

Below them, Casey and Todd climbed from Hollow Flake to the Alcove as I watched.  So there are two wall style teams on the route at present.  The weather forecast has improved and they just might not get wet!
























Casey climbing, while Todd belays atop the Ear .



Air Force One did a fly over today to officially close the climbing season!  I tried to get the Blue Angles but they weren't available, so the Prez said he would be their subie.   Air Force One really did fly over the Captain today and I saw it coming way off to the east..... so I got the shot!

























In other news:  The leaves are far from done turning here in the Valley, so fall continues.  The waterfalls are a real treat too.  Last night was the first night that produced frost in the meadows and ice plastered on the Falls Wall.  Still some nice days left here, so if you can, come on out and enjoy the extended fall.  If you have not donated to the site and feel that you would like to… then by all means… donate.  All donations are appreciated and put to good use.


























Frost in the ElCap meadow this morning.

So that’s the way it is for this beautiful Fall day, the 27th day of October, 2010.
This is Tom Evans, signing off and hoping to make it through the winter, to return when the leaves are starting to pop and the falls are booming again.  Go safely my friends and make the most of your life… a precious thing it is too!   I'm out of here... back into the World!

PS  Arrived home 6pm 10/28/10

Thank you. Goodbye 2010.

Thank you. Goodbye 2010. Uncle Tom Please enjoy the winter, I'll see you next year. ^!^

insu IM, Team Extremriders, s.Korea

Thanks for the hard work Tom.

Thanks for the hard work Tom. Wish you were there to give us the blow by blow on Dawn Wall though!

Lee Cujes, Australia.

Tom, Get back there. Get back

Tom, Get back there. Get back there soon pleeeeeease. :-) We need you to witness this. You left too early. Looks like the man of the season, well 2 seasons, is Stanley. 2 h 36m 45 m on Nose on November 6, 2010. More to come soon as he is teamed with some dark tall strange guy. A man who is not likely to feel satisfied after this little... "play off,... play full,... fore play,... that's the one!" (Voice of Johnny Depp- Jack Sparrow- 1st Pirates of Caribbeans) Anyway, you don't have to sleep in a tent. You can sleep in your van. Come on Tom, go back. Your burgundy 1966 GTO can wait. This is important. :-) Go go go. Cheers Sabine

Thank you Tom! Amazing

Thank you Tom! Amazing indeed!

Thank Tom 감사 합니다. 세상 대부분의

Thank Tom
감사 합니다.

세상 대부분의 사람들이 삶의 의미를 돈에 두고 살지요!
그러나 아마도 당신이 하는 일만큼 의미있는일은 없을 것입니다.
전세계에서 당신의 사진을 보고 꿈을 끼우는 이들이 많으리라 생각합니다.
또한 시간이 한참 지난뒤에 당신이 한일들이 얼마나 의미 있었던가를 더 잘알것이라 생각합니다.
내년에 또 볼수 있길 바랍니다.

감사 합니다.

Sitting here in the sunny

Sitting here in the sunny Southern French Alps, Yosemite, my spiritual climbing home, seems and feels a long way away. Your reports have reawakened many memories of when I used to climb in the Valley in the 80's and 90's. Its a world class venue and it is lucky to have a world class reporter covering its day to day climbing history at such an exciting and fast happening stage in its evolution.
Have a great winter Tom and I am looking forward to more rich prose and pictures in 2011.
A bientot!
Jerry Gore

Loved following the report

Loved following the report over the season. Thanks so much - great photos and commentary! Cheers!

Dank je wel Tom!!!!!!!!!!!

Dank je wel Tom!!!!!!!!!!! Very nice to have a little view on the captain from the lowlands across the atlantic ocean! Awesome pictures, especially the ones of Leo climbing the Prophet, the sharp pics blew my planned onsight though :)

greets Niek

Good one Tom.

Good one Tom.

Thanks heaps Tom a great job

Thanks heaps Tom a great job as always!
 Nice to be able to at least live vicariously through your stories while being consumed with study down here.
Cheers mate! Lee C

Thanks for all the hard work

Thanks for all the hard work Tom! It wouldnt be the same with out ya! Have a good winter...

Skiyler D.

Thanks for everything, Tom!

Thanks for everything, Tom! We'll miss your report so much! Have a good winter. Ciao from Italy

Thanks again Tom for another

Thanks again Tom for another season of spot on reporting. The El Cap report sure ended with a bang. A new free route with the outcome in question right up to the end, and a tight time schedule for a flight home awaiting the sender. Congrats on the one day send of Zodaic guys. Awesome pic of Air Force One! Very cool shot.

Thanks for all you do for climbers in the valley Tom.


Doug Pratt-Johnson

Good work Tom! It is always a

Good work Tom! It is always a pleasure to read the reports and see such beautiful and abstract photos of my favorite subject. Props to Logan and Dave with a 13.5 hour Zoadiac send. Leo is rad too! See you next year Tom.


Tom, from one of many readers

Tom, from one of many readers you do not know, thanks for the reports!

Many thanks for the report!

Many thanks for the report! It's nice that you got to finish off the season with a bang. Cheers from Spain!

So crazy to see Leo just

So crazy to see Leo just sitting there in his Blue shirt at the belay, making that spot look so "friendly". Its the same belay where I sat in the rain for 36 plus hours suffering a year ago and glad to see it in a different better light. So glad he got his project! Congrats Leo and Jason!

Proud Moments in

Proud Moments in Sports!!!!

Cheers Leo

Thanks Tom

Hey Tom, Once again, a

Hey Tom,
Once again, a terrific series of reports to help me get through the months of Marching Band season! Your report keeps me stoked until I can get to the Valley in the Spring. Now...time to sharpen the ice tools!

Tom, Thanks so much for all

Tom, Thanks so much for all your effort. Your a godsend to people all over the world. Have a great winter and keep lurking and posting on ST.

As for Leo, man, that dude is something else huh? Good grief, what a great climber. That in itself was a worthy season's accomplishment, much less a great way to end the season! Great read and pics... it's almost as if I were there.

Thanks to you Tom,
Doug Smith

Thanks for all your hard work

Thanks for all your hard work Tom!

Have a great winter and come back refreshed.

We can't imagine you not being here with your reports.

A true public service.

Jan Sacheerer

Hi Tom.. I was very happy

Hi Tom..

I was very happy Last several Months because of your great report written just for me...unique in all the world..

Now,I am going to sleep like bear,and expect next season....Hope to meet you with Cobrasssssss and Cigarsssssssss...

Take care about your health....


Hello, Ramón from

Hello, Ramón from Spain
Thanks Tom for your work and passion, thanks to you keep the flame alive for many people around the world.
Hello I hope next year in person, after 4 years since the last trip to the valley the desire to spend a small portion of my existence in the cap is irresitible.
Thanks Tom.

Tom you da man! We are so

Tom you da man!
We are so lucky to have you.

Thanks For all the great


For all the great pictures and words. it is always a pleasure to see you in person at the bridge
and although winter may be coming upon us. Spring once again will be here and we will all once agin converge at The Center of The Universe.


Thank you Tom for the amazing

Thank you Tom for the amazing pictures and prose! Its how I start about every morning, before its off to the office. But it ain't all bad, my office is in the trees! And for sure, another day for myself in the grandest Valley of all!


Excellent to see logan

Excellent to see logan cranking! If you read this bro, Monterey misses you! Call the gym and get my contact info!


Thanks Tom! You are

Thanks Tom! You are amazing!

Peter Haan

Leo and Jason ROCK!

Leo and Jason ROCK! Excellent job guys:)
Love the meadow and the AirForce One shot! It was a fantastic season Tom!
Thanks for all you do to keep us entertained. It is a sad day but we will
see you in the spring...if not before!!

Tom, Thanks for everything


Thanks for everything this year! See you next June.


Thanks, Tom. Winter's comin',

Thanks, Tom.
Winter's comin', man.
We will abide, like our guy, The Dude. Good travels. Skully