ElCap Report 9/21/13

ElCap Report 9/21/13

By Tom Evans

Yo… I got up this morning to clear skies and figured the bet I had with Blake Burwell, that there would be no rain today, was safe.  I cruised down to the Cap to do my daily shooting and secured a good spot in the meadow.  Soon clouds started streaming in from the south west and soon the sky was overcast and had a bad look to it.  I had fun shooting as a cloudy day is the best to get details without high contrast shade and sun.  About 1:30pm it really started looking grim so I made a dash for the Bridge and shortly thereafter the sky opened up and it has been pouring ever since.  I am afraid to even go to my tent and am holed up here in the Mt. Room Bar, doing the Report.  Camp 4 will be a swamp of wet misery.. oh the humanity!!

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

Zodiac:  The Zod is looking pretty good as the route goes through  the Great White Circle and is protected by the huge overhangs above.

1)  The Great White Circle.





























2)  Saku didn’t top out last night like I figured he would but stayed 2 pitches from the top and topped out around noon today.





























3)  Lower down, in the Circle, Andrew, Mark, and Wade made good progress and continued climbing even as it poured rain. Here they are at the start of the Nipple pitch before the rain came.































4)  Yesterday on the Report, I wondered why they had such a fat haul line.  Now I know.  They have only two ropes… one for leading and one for hauling.  But they have three people… so one of them has to ride the bags out and jug the line.  I too would want a fat line if I were jugging with the bags, like in the shot below!!































5)  Lower down yet, a deuce team climbed to the top of the 4th when the rain came on.  I mentioned in the past that it was an important time saver to advance as high as you can in your slings immediately upon stepping into them.  Here we see the leader low in his slings.  He tried to hook the little ledge on this right, which didn’t work.  Then he tried a short pendulum to somehow reach the sling on the right.  Nothing worked.































6)  After a time he just moved one rung up and the placement was made.  He lost 10 or 15 minutes messing around.  Had he just stepped up he would have soon been at the belay.






























7)  Lost in America:  Jim Beyer, reached the top just before the rain came this afternoon.  Here he is at the start of the final slab to the top.  He is the newest "oldest person to solo ElCap" ...57 years 11 months!   Congratulations Jim!  Hudon...calling Mark Hudon... you're out bro!!





























Tribal Rite:  Kevin DeWeese climbed a pitch this morning and fixed it when the clouds began to threaten.  He was back in his secure ledge way before it rained… smart move.  Never wait until the last moment to set up your ledge and get inside.  Start dry and stay dry!

8)  Here he is finishing the pitch this morning.  Dawn Wall is off to the right.





























Nose:  We have had a zillion shots of the Nose over the past week so I am not posting any on this report.  There were two teams above the Grey Bands and both were from yesterday.  The upper team was around Camp 6 and the lower climbing into Camp 5 when the weather caved.  Both teams have ledges with rain flys.

Lower down two speedy teams climbed the Legs and the first was standing on ECT and the second at the start of the Jardine when the rain came.  Neither had ledges or flys and I sure hope they have good rain gear.  They are on the Nose, however, and could quickly descend if necessary.


Sunkist:  Matt and Keenan climbed onto the headwall in good weather this morning but were soon wrestling with their ledge to set it up as the rain came on.

9)  Matt, leading onto the headwall, while Keenan keeps a close rope.






























10)  Keenan takes an anxious look toward the approaching storm as they get the fly in place.  They should weather the storm just fine.






























Golden Gate:  Three guys rapped in from the top this morning, to work the route I assume.  They were a couple below the Tower to the People when the deluge struck. 

11)  They stopped along the way down to place a bolt at a stance.  The guy in yellow sure looks like one, Alex Honnold, no?






























Lower down Stefan Brunner, fresh from his solo of the Muir a few days ago, and partner Teno climbed from Heart ledge to the Alcove as I photographed.  Stefan was caught on the ledge, after the Monster, by the storm.  The rain was so hard I couldn’t see them any longer.  They have a ledge and fly.

12)  Here they are hauling kit to Hollow Flake Ledge this morning.






























13)  Stefan takes a break while climbing the nasty Monster Crack.































14)  Horse Chute to Horse Play:  I watched Pete climb about half a pitch this morning in the lull before the storm.  A couple of climbers reported seeing his ledge up with the fly deployed.  He is nothing if not a wily veteran of many EC ascents and will weather this blow just fine.





























In other news:  Rain is the news of the day!  It is still raining as I finish the written part of this report.  A clear day is in the forecast for tomorrow…sure hope so!

So that’s the way it is, for this Saturday, the 21st day of September, 2013.

Stay dry, my friends!

Capt. Tom



Amazing Stories

On 9/20 I was watching climbers for the first time through the telescopes on the bridge and learning about how it is done. That night I saw the headlamps on El Cap for the first time. Wow - they really do sleep up there at night! Saturday as I was driving back to San Fran to fly home, I found myself worrying about people that might be climbing when the rain I was driving in reached the valley. Glad to see that is handled too. At my age I'll never climb El Cap but I can tell you that my experience at El Cap, the things I've watched on YouTube, the things I read here so far and all the rest waiting to be discovered is a whole new source of interest and learning for me. I may only ever do a traverse wall at the local climbing gym but coming to El Cap, meeting some of the climbers, watching some of the others has added a whole new dimension to my life. Thanks to all of you who dare .... my hat is tipped for you.



Tom, Janet (Keenan's Mom) wants to know if you write comments to reassure parents..."they will weather the storm just fine". She also said we need to send Tom more donations. You are doing a fine job Tom we will send more funds soon. Cheers Scott (Keenan's dad)