ElCap Report 9/26/09

ElCap Report 92609
By Tom Evans
Yo… Perfect weather and cooler in the near future too.  Still a tad warm on the Cap today but that didn’t seem to be bringing them down.  Today was kind of slow, both on the Bridge and the rock.  The show at the Face Lift last night was a good one with Dean Fidelman’s (Bullwinkle) photos and commentary and a reading by John Long.  An interesting walk down memory lane, with the sometimes rowdy Dean energizing the large gathering.  It was especially poignant as Long is seldom seen in person and most of the audience have never laid eyes on him.  I don’t think he really knows the impact he has had on so many climbers over the years.  I consider his writings to be the best of the genera.  My favorite is “Rats”, the one about big wall climbers in Yosemite.   I often recommend it to friends who know little to nothing about our sport.  I have read it many times and it never fails to bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eyes.

There was a certain melancholy generated by Dean’s photos, as some of the principals have died and the others have passed into their later years.  It was a time that will never come again and the memories are bitter sweet for many of us who were here when they were. 
Today’s ElCap Report is brought to you by John Long.  May his writings  continue to inspire climbers, far into the future.  Thanks John!!
So clip in and lock off because you and I are magically zooming right up to the face of El Capitan itself, where the ageless climbers continue the search for adventure and self-realization.  Get a cold one ready, because you will be thirsty!
Today’s ElCap Report… written just for you…. unique in all the world.

Zodiac:  Well, it seems that the Italian’s, who set a blistering pace up to the Black Tower a few days ago, are back on the route, this time with shirts and a small provision bag.  I missed seeing them early in the day and a Touron’s question brought them to my attention as they were climbing the Nipple pitch.  By mid afternoon their momentum began to wane in the withering heat.  As I left, they were leading the pitch above the Mark of Zorro and will be pushing for the top in darkness.  Talented climbers, these Italians.

1)  Sometimes you just have to let go!  Italian cleaning the Nipple pitch, Zodiac.


























2)  What?!  You dropped the weed?!!   Belay below the Mark of Zorro, Zodiac.


























Trip:  The Italian team continues to climb upward at a fearsomely slow pace.  I don’t know what motivates these guys, as it appears impossible that they can succeed.  But that is what makes adventures and hardens the character.  By the time I left today they had done one and a half pitches.  Jerry is on his first EC climb and Silvestro is an EC veteran of Zodiac and ZM.
I’ll keep a close eye on these men.

Iron Son:  Yes, this three man team is on Iron Son and not Iron Hawk.  They climbed above the Spoon today, heading for the junction with Native Son.  They are running the three man system with a leader always out but were making tenuous progress as the long shadows of afternoon crept toward them. 
3)  Getting up close and personal on Iron Son.



























4)  Starting the traverse off the Spoon, on Iron Son.



























Nose:  The cluster of several teams climbing past the Great Roof yesterday, were gone from my view, as they climbed above Camp 5, in the great dihedral, today.  I never did get a glimpse of them and assume they topped out late in the day, or stopped to bivy, at the much maligned, Camp 6.
Lower down the three man team I photographed on Dolt yesterday, climbed above ECT and stumbled a bit on the King Swing but eventually getting it. 


These guys are decked out in colorful outfits, so got a lot of attention from my camera all day.  I last saw them climbing to Camp 4 in early evening and assume they will push higher to C5.
5)  Cleaning gear above Texas Flake on the Nose.


























6)  Hauling loads to the Boot Flake on the Nose of El Capitan.




























7)  Catching some ZZZZZ's on top of the Boot Flake.























Below them two teams, of two, climbed up the Stovelegs and over Dolt on their way to ECT.  One team did some pretty good free climbing, advancing  rapidly, while the other languished in their aid slings as the long afternoon wore on.  The latter team came up the fixed lines to the start of the Stovelegs today, as they had come down for a rest a couple of days ago.
8)  The boys about to get the shade while climbing above Dolt Tower.





























I didn’t see much going on around Sickle and there are no fixed lines at the moment. 

Shield:  I did see Scott and Amanda starting the last pitch around noon today and they are off by now for sure.

Albatross:  I saw Kevin’s kit at the start of the long corner pitch to the roof about the same time I spotted Scott and Amanda.  He should be off this evening.  9)  You’re rockin it Kevin… good job!!

Salathe:  I noticed a team high on the face at Sous le toit in the early afternoon and a leader was climbing the long corner to the roof as I left. 
Lower down I spotted a team of two, a couple of pitches above ECS, in the morning and heading to the Block.
Lowest on the route was a team of two who quickly climbed to the Ear and up the pitch above.  Looked like the leader, above the Ear, was trying to do some free climbing on the oft neglected pitch… maybe a “real” free ascent of the route is in the offing?

Free climbing above Hollow Flake, Salathe Wall Route.





























Octopussy:  Kate and Pete finally got schedules coordinated and marched off in the late morning to start on this route.  Late yesterday, KFC hauled the last load, a load of pillows, to the base. 

10)  Just for you:  Bleeding hearts, Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite California.






























In other news:  Rather sedate at the Bridge today but livened up by Russ and Denise who brought a nice load of liquid and solid consumables.  Not many Tourons to divert me from shooting.  There is supposed to be a cooling trend early in the week with temperatures in the 70’s.  So if you are waiting for cooler weather then this is the time to act… get your sorry asses out of those cubicles and make a run for the Valley!!  I can’t hold off the storm gods much past late October, so be warned!  Your most precious memories are still be made!
The big question on everyone’s lips is, “Where the hell is Leo Burk?”  Someone said they spotted him in the high country sometime in the summer, but that sounds a bit fishy to me. 
Leo Burk, call the Bridge!  We can’t have a Fall season without you!
So that’s the way it is, for this the 26th day of September, 2009.
Later Ansel

Your the man Tom

Keep it up. When ever I get out of the hospital Im Gonna bring down some ColdOnes' and come hang with ya and the other Rats... Great Stuff.
Doug and melissa AKA (Scout2)

Nice hanging with you!

Tom....glad we could provide you with suds and grub!
Keep an eye out on my boy! Hope to see you in October!
Thanks for a great time!
Princess of the El Cap bridge!


Hi, Tom....Thanks for the fix.

the Fish on Wings of Steel?

Did I read that right yesterday? We must have pics of this!

Just exceptional report, Tom.

Just exceptional report, Tom. Thanks...