ElCap Report 6/30/09

ElCap Report 6/30/09
By Tom Evans
Yo… Well the day has come for the last ElCap Report of the Season.  It has been an unusual Spring here in the Valley in regards to the weather.  But that didn’t stop climbers from reaching deep into their dreams and making them come true.  Some of the world’s greatest climbers were seen on the Captain this season, and some of the most obscure climbers you never heard of got to share the spotlight, here on the ElCap Report.  For me it is always a rewarding experience to watch my fellow climbers as they express their passion and deal with their limitations on the greatest stage in all the world.  We saw speed climbers blazing their way up the cliff and we saw crawlers going at what seemed agonizingly slow paces.  Each climber had their own goals to reach and yet they were rewarded in quite similar ways.  That is one of the great things about our sport.  We congratulate all those who came forth with the courage and commitment to strive to be their best, no matter what the outcome.

1)  Today’s Report is brought to you by The Captain himself.  The object of our obsession....























Bad Seed:  Kate and Pete are almost done now and on this day got to visit some of the coolest places on the rock.  They bivied beneath an impressive overhang, and climbed one of the most perfect cracks you will ever see.
Off tomorrow for sure.
2)  A bivy to remember.

























3)  Pete cleaning out from the Devil’s Eyebrow.
























4)  Kate leading the “A1 Beauty”.




























Trip:  Stefan finished his solo of this route with only two bivies, a feat not matched by many teams of two!!  He climbed off around noon today as a shower came through the Valley.  Two friends are on top to meet him!  Sweet!!

Mescalito:  Josh finished his solo of this great route late in the morning.  He put up a good ascent of the route and never seemed to be having anything but the best of times.
5)  Josh topping out on Mescalito.




























Reticent:  The team climbed up to the nice ledge at the start of the business on this once feared, difficult climb.  Skyler got the crux lead and did it with style and competence.  They are most likely off as I type these words.  What a nice way to end the season.

6)  Dana leads the team, moving up to the good ledge at the start of the last pitches.



























7)  Skiy getting to the business, Reticent Wall, El Capitan.




























Nose:  All three teams climbed off at different times today.  First up was the NIAD team from yesterday who seemed to have had a pretty hard time of it in a nearly 30 hour ascent.  Tenacious bastards, these!
The Ranger clean up team came up next and topped out around 4pm.  They climbed well and we appreciate their efforts to clean up the messes of climbers not so considerate of the environment and the greatness the wall they climbed on.
8)  Eric “Grasshopper” Bissett leading the free climbing to the Bolt ladder at the end of the Nose route.



























Last came Thanh’s team who were not far behind the Ranger team.  They were not the fastest team on the route in the past few days but their determination made up for what they lacked in speed.  All three teams are to be congratulated.

Aquarian Wall:  Peyton put together a few more pitches and should be off  in a couple of days.  He has climbed in difficult conditions and has been up to the task. 

Blast from the Past:
9)  Yosemite Falls on a beautiful night in 1998




























In other news:  The bridge was awash in friends today who came by to close out the season.  We had a brief shower that settled the dust and raised the humidity.  I don’t think it did anything to settle the fires, to the south, down any.  Most of my posse has fled to higher elevations or distant ranges.  The heat of the summer is here and only a few of the most hardy are staying on to climb the great rock.  I don’t envy them, as I have suffered mightily, in the grip of summers heat. 
I have pretty much worn out my camera and tripods this season and will need to replace them for the fall season, so any funds you can donate to the cause will be appreciated.
10)  Bridge rats at the close of the season. 























So that’s the way it is for this the last day of June 2009, the last day of the climbing season.  I hope you have enjoyed your time in the Valley through my eyes.  Do take some time and go back and savor some of the images I posted for your pleasure and understanding of this great sport of wall climbing. 
I will see you again when the air is dry, the falls silent and leaves are turning.  Once again climbers from all over the world will be here to share in the spectacle and adventure that is to be found on the heights of El Capitan.
Later, Tom Evans


Tom, thank you so much for the reports and the views of the climbers on the Captain through your scopes. Bill

Thanks for all your photos, Tom!

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!! Of *course* it looks like "Kate led most of the route" - she's the one who climbs first in the morning while I'm still half asleep! You'll notice in Tom's photo she soloed the "A1 Beauty" - this was because I was cleaning the Devil's Brow at the time, two pitches I strung together the evening before, long after Tom had left the bridge.

Nice to see you, if only briefly, today on the bridge, Tom. See you in the fall, eh?

"Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok

I donated. Thanks Tom

Thanks for the pictures and the info, so fun to read about and see those amazing climbers. I learned some lingo and was thrilled to see via your pictures my son on El Cap. Thanks again.

Thanks Tom

See you in the fall!
Congrats to all the El Cap Heros of the season!

end of season TRs

Thanks man, thanks for sharing via ST. have a great summer. Hope to get a peep out of your scope some next Facelift.


That looks like a bad ass scene at the bridge~

... and I missed it.

Cheers Tom.

Take care until we meet again

Thanks for this season of reporting Tom!

Awesome pics, cool stories and tenacious bastards...all of them amazing! If you are a golfer and you think climbing is stupid, DONATE. : )



Tenacious bastards on NIAD run -- that's us!

Yes -- we *are* tenacious! (And sometimes Chris is that other thing you said...)

Dr. Chris Gonzales and I (nerdy professor Grant Horner) topped out on our 3rd speedy Nose together yesterday morning. I did it 10 years ago in 17 hours flat when I was a bit leaner and lot younger. Chris and I have done straight-through Nose pushes, with NO food or water stashing (which I call cheating!), several times in the last 2 years. We always end up just a bit over the 24 hours, and feeling pretty pooped on the upper pitches.

This time we were at Sickle in 80 minutes, Dolt in 4 1/2 hours, Camp 4 in about 9 or 10 if I recall. Things were looking very good and we felt great. On target for about 20-22 hrs total, and planning to climb the tough upper wall in the cool of the night. IF we kept the pace and had no screw-ups, we'd make it. We started with a little food and 4 liters of fluid each, and found no water on the route (probably thanks to the thirsty Korean mob that was just rescued by another NIAD team!)

We made it to Camp 5 at dark, maybe 9pm, and Camp 6 at about 11.30. We had started at sunrise, about 6am. We had four pitches to go, but they are steep and long, and Changing Corners pitch is always a bit slow for us as are any pitches involving aid. We short fix almost every pitch, essentially simulclimbing, and we carry a very small rack and one rope (170'). Chris has specially modified some of the gear to lighten it, and Hans and Yuji used some of his gear on their record ascent.

When I jugged to C6 Chris was just destroyed. He had led *EVERY* pitch! Can you imagine that? From the ground to Camp 6, about 2500 feet, in 16-17 hours! No breaks at all. He is super fit and quite fast but the heat had been draining us both (I was carrying the pack and my back was drenched with sweat), even up high, and we had used almost all our water by then -- 1 pint bottle between us left for topping out and descent. And we were terribly thirsty. Our mouths felt filled with gravel and lint. Without water you can't eat, and you start to cramp. If we had had 2 more liters each we would have felt far better. We decided to rest at C6, and we half slept on the ledge, dreaming of being trapped for an eternity in a port-a-potty. They should just rename Camp 6 "Camp 'can't hold it for four more pitches'"... If you are ever in El Cap Meadow and have a telescope, DO NOT aim it at Camp 6. You will have a very disturbing and very visual answer to the Yosemite tourist's most common question (the one about 'when you're up there, how do you...?')

Zoning out in the dark at Camp Crap, it seemed dangerous and foolish to us to try to push to the top to beat 24 hours in our condition; the climbing is fine and we knew the pitches well but since we short-fix with such a small rack, we run it out and leapfrog gear, constantly sending gear replenishment supplies up to the leader on a tag line and keeping a few pieces between us. We're usually 50-100 feet apart the whole way, both moving, rarely at a belay together, and we regularly have spooky runouts of 30-50 feet between nests of gear. Both our heads were getting a bit frothy and we did not much like the idea of one of us pitching off 80 feet into the darkness because of a stupid error. We were by this time very weak from dehydration so we finished our last sips and rested several hours and then topped out, moving at a moderate pace and in great pain. We made it pretty quickly down the East Ledges and down to the Valley floor... We did the Nose in about 22 hours of climbing, punctuated by a 5-hour nap at Camp 6. Technically, I'd call that a NIAD+NAP, or "NIAP" for short. Since I seem to have a lot of experience with the NIAP, having done it three times in 20 months, I think I'll start a cool website about it. I could have Tom Evans post pictures of NIAPers relaxing at Camp 4, or camp 6, or hey! even dangling from the last bolts just at the lip of the summit overhang. Why hurry? Who really needs to break 24 hours, anyways? Sleep is the bomb, dude.

Would any of you care to donate to such a site so I could raise the cash to buy a portaledge to make napping comfy and inviting in the middle of, say, the Jardine Traverse or under the Great Roof? I'm supporting a family of five, and a dog, on an Associate Professor's salary, and I assure you my Cap-Napping is a very good cause.

When I did the route in 1999 (17 hours) I led all pitches except three or four, and we started as the base went into afternoon shade, climbed through the night to Camp 4, then did the upper wall pitches, all West-facing and cool in the morning -- in other words, the sun was never on our bodies until the last pitch! We superhydrated the day before and carried three liters of water each and some bars and fruit. It was my first time on the Nose. The hard thing is that you need to take 2-3 days beforehand to reverse your sleep cycle. The only real problem, a real black mark, with that ascent was this -- we failed, utterly, to nap. I'm beginning to see this as the new "Yosemite climbing" ethics debate; sort of like bolting on rappel or claiming you led "The Edge" at Tahquitz Rock when in fact all you did was rope solo "Open Book."

By the way -- I am 45 and Chris is about 50 or 51. We're hardly even weekend warriors, and I climb just one day per week, but we have both been climbing 30+ years. As far as we're concerned, the Nose in a light/fast straight-push style is the greatest climb ever, and rapping off is only something you do shortly before you know you are about to die. Always -- to the RIM!



Hi...Tom....My Friend...

I arrived my home at yesterday....

I can't forget 2009 June,my seat on the bridge,in front of El Cap...

I try to do It for 2010....

Thanks Tom....

Stuck Behind A Desk

Thanks for making sitting behind a desk all day tolerable. The amount of work I get done each day doesn't even compare to the time I spend dreaming of El Cap!

Thanks for the great snaps and thanks for my sanity!

Bad Seed

It seems that Kate led most the route. Props to you Kate, I've lost motivation on that climb more than anything in my life...


if you enjoy el cap report, DONATE !
if you climbed el cap this year, DONATE !
if you checked on the upward progress of family or friends on el cap, DONATE !
if you're a golfer and you think climbing is stupid, DONATE !

Tom hooks it up all season, return the favor.

there's a yellow button at the top of the report that says "DONATE", click that sh#t.

have fun,



Thanks Tom,

You kept my motivation high. How do I manage until September without your reports?


Thanks Tom

These are fun to see.


many thanks for these reports. I love 'em. they're great!

to our man on the ground

thanks tom for this great report. it improved my mood on a number of rainy days. fortunately now my climbing season is about to start and i can take up where you left off. thanks again!!

What will I do...

Hours from climbing with only time to think, this is the only thing that kept me sane. I hope I can at least soon stand and marvel at the beautiful of The Captain.

Face forward, move slow, forge ahead.

I'm earning a reputation.
My conscience, mistrust, and regret.
Courageous, just like The Captain.
Marching forward, with no doubt in his head.

Have a good summer everyone.

A muerte.

Thanks Tom!!

Safe travels, Tom, you will be missed!! See ya in the fall!

Mescalito solo

It was awe inspiring to see Josh on Mescalito, first in person in the Valley and then later followed in on the El Cap report. Way to get it done Josh!!


Thanks for the always interesting reports. It is appreciated!


Go gracefully, Mr. Evans......& drive friendly.
Thanks for all you do..... Skully

Thanks for keeping us updated

Thanks for keeping us updated especially on the great ascents at the end of the season.