ElCap Report 6/21/09

ElCap Report 6/21/09
By Tom Evans
Yo… All right… Listen up Pukes of all stripes… this was a way sweet day to be here in the Trench.  The weather was perfect… the climbing was perfect… the bridge was chocked with perfection… and where were you?
I don’t want to hear about it… if you weren’t here, then you blew another day of your life and some of you, by the laws of statistics, don’t have too many days left to blow.  So change your plans, take a break from your consumption based existence, lie to your boss, tell your friends you are going to rehab for a few weeks and by all means …. Get your sorry ass with the program, and come to the Valley of your dreams….. Yosemite.

I am here and so are all the climbs you ever wanted to have your mug photographed on.  Imagine that 20X30 print of you leading the Roof pitch on the Salathe, or the North American Wall, or the Nipple pitch on Zodiac… hanging over the fire place!  I am waiting for you with my charged camera batteries and high gig memory cards.  Don’t worship those posers in the glossy mags… be your own hero… do it for yourself.  Hell, I’ll buy the beers for your after-climb, glory bask at the Bridge… I’ll put your pic on the Report… you will be famous…. it doesn’t get any better folks.
Today’s report is brought to you by me… yes that’s right… me.  An old broken down climber with eye for the artistic shot of you on the Captain.
If it wasn’t for me…. I wouldn’t be here… perfect logic that.
Here it is … the answer to your boring day… Today’s ElCap Report…

Waterfall route:  Ammon and Cheryl have started on this upper east side route that was in poor condition recently due to excessive rain this spring.  But it has dried out a bit and this team is ready come hell or high water… which just might happen if we get a dumper thunderstorm.  Kia carried a final load up to the route with them this afternoon out of the goodness of his heart and to have an excuse to stay another day.

Bad Seed:  This rarely done Bill Russell, Troy Johnson route in the black rock of the far east side has come under siege by the compatible team of Kate and Pete, with support by Sonya.  They have fixed two and from what I hear, blasted this afternoon.  They have years of experience and are quite knowledgeable about the shitty rock in that area, having done Bad Sign last year.

Zodiac:  The two man team that I thought might be secretly part of a 4 man team yesterday was seen about to top out around 4pm today.  The other half of that supposed 4 man team, left them in the dust late yesterday and topped out ahead of them.
Lower down, Grover and friend Matt(not Lambert), who climbed the pitches yesterday to the start of the White Circle were in the circle today and Grover took the sharp end and lead the initial circle pitch and the Nipple too.  Nice leads Grover!
1)  Grover leading in the spectacular White circle.

























2)  Grover turning the famous Nipple on Zodiac.
























Lower down yet, a Lithuanian mixed team, Gediminas Simutis and Salule Zukauskaite, climbed from the top of two and were headed toward the Circle as I left.  The woman lead the Bolt ladder pitch, the 5th on the route, in a way I haven’t seen for years… She lead the old Porter rivet ladder, ignoring the shiny bolt ladder put in by the route fixers a few years back.  She went along quickly and then lead the short lead to the start of the Black Tower pitch.  He lead that pitch easily.  They have been by the bridge a couple of times and we all have enjoyed their youthful enthusiasm and charm.
3)  Lithuanian girl, Saule, leading on Charles’s old rivets.
























Way lower down a team was fixing on the first pitch when I departed.

Lost in America:  Charlie and partner, Loring, are slowly making their way up the route a couple of pitches a day.  They have flagged a ledge, thus making them my prime material to answer the Touron favorite, “how do they sleep up there?”

Virginia to the Trip:  The pushers pushed and pushed and I caught sight of them this morning going over the top.  The guys came by and had a beer and chatted for a while about the 26 hour effort.  Both looked surprisingly fresh.

North American Wall:  I guess I missed the highly photogenic traverse pitches they pulled off before I arrived this morning.  Both climbers were dressed in very dark colors and the shots of them climbing the famous, “Most spectacular lead in North American Climbing”, were anything but.  Their two lovely wives stopped by to view them above the Roof pitch and I suggest some fashion tips for the lads.  Know this men, women have the power and most likely these guys will show up dressed very differently next time!!
4)  Roof pitch on the North American Wall.


























Mescalito:  The solo did make the Bismarck ledge last night and I picked him up as he lead off on the notorious pitch above.  He cruised it and had no visible problem with the upper, off-width section.  He was sporting a nice collection of Big Bros to soften the lead somewhat.  I last saw him heading up the next pitch as I left.

Nose/3D:  Seems like the 3D is getting all the traffic as bailers continue to bail from low in the Legs on the Nose.  There has been, of late, traffic jams at the Great Roof and today was no exception.  A 4 man team, from the seemingly endless supply of 4 man Korean teams, once again was at the head of the line today and the resulting jam had 4 two man teams settling in for a long wait to get to the Roof.  Fortunately, none of the held up teams was a NIAD.  The procession moved slowly upward in the hazy afternoon sun.
5)  Hanging in the line at the Great Roof.


























Lower down a couple of teams appeared in the Legs late in the morning and one soon was downward bound, leaving a strong team of three to make DT in the early afternoon and most likely press on to ECT later in the day.

The Shield:  The two man team on the headwall moved smartly along in the normal wind and cold that persists there.  They were nicely dressed and climbed like they wanted to get the hell out of there!  They were well on their way to make Chickenhead ledge by nightfall.  I hear that another party is headed up from Grey Ledges but I don’t get out west much anymore due to my position at the bridge these days, so I can’t verify that.
6)  High in the thin cold air of the Shield Headwall.

























Blast from the Past:
7)  The Heavy Metal and Tinker Toys team of Bridwell, Tyson and Bulous in this 1997 shot taken just before the start of the climbing.




























In other news:  Chilly at the Bridge today with a strong, steady wind coming hard from the west.  The air temps are nice but I stay jacketed all day.
Aaron (KFC) and Hayden make a Half Dome Reg/Nose link up, while I was gone, in a very respectable 19 hours.  Sweet!!
That’s about it from here for now… and that is the way it is for this the 21st day of June 2009.
Later Tom

Sending good thoughts and support to Ammon and Cheryl!!

Have a great climb!!! See ya in the fall!


Hey, I know those guys.....

Love that blast from the past.

Thanks Tom.


reticent wall

Any news on the SAR boys that had the first few pitches fixed? did they get up? start or what?


You make my day, Tom!

How can it get any better than to see pics of people up on El Cap, everyday, from the comfort of my own home! I know, I could actually be there and maybe be one of those bum up there climbing! Maybe soon, eh?


oops, Hey Tom....

That's not me with Grover, that's another Matt. Grover is leading the charge this time. OOHHH!




Thanks Tom! I think Brian Law

Thanks Tom!

I think Brian Law replaced the original bolts on the fifth pitch of the Zodiac in '04, but today's ascent may be the first time anyone has
climbed that way since.