ElCap Report 9/29/09

ElCap Report 9/29/09
By Tom Evans
Yo.. As promised the temperature plummeted today.  The clouds were pretty solid when I awoke and the wind was up.  By the time I got to the bridge it was blowing a gale and threatening to rain.  But the wind soon backed off and the rain never quite materalized.  However, I did count three drops at the bridge and someone else reported seeing five actually hit the ground!  Scary stuff!!  That said, it was a gray, dreary day on the Captain.  I wouldn’t have traded places with any of the wall rats up there, as it looked pretty grim!  As I type these lines, here in the café, I can see a mostly blue sky with some patchy clouds and a strong breeze rustling through the trees.  Just yesterday the Italians on the Trip came down due to the heat!  A good lesson to learn here.  It can go from blazing heat to numbing cold in just a few hours on the Captain.  The forecast for tonight gives temps in the low 20’s…Burrrrrr!

Without further adieu here is today’s ElCap Report… just for you…Unique in all the world.

On the Waterfront:  I did watch Steve Gerberding climb the second pitch on this Corbet, Bosque pile, on the upper east side, this afternoon.  He had that damn white shirt on too… I told him… but didn’t want to get physical about it, as he is 6’4” and I am 5’8” and I hate to make the tall guys look bad by kicking their asses!  He is fixing a few pitches and may come back by the bridge, so don’t tell him I was looking to teach him a lesson.  I wouldn’t want to shake his psyche before the big climb… you understand, right?
Later he was sporting a nice looking little orange number,  a windbreaker I assume.  Lucky for him too.  I used to play High School football you know!
Wakefield High, class of 62.
1)  Stevie G and that Damned white shirt.   Old School soloing.

























Eagles Way:  Maybe?  Two guys are over there fixing the first several.  One of the climbers had a nice matching shirt and helmet, in international orange.  Must be a really good climber!

Zodiac:  The Canadian Mafia is on the route for good now after allowing the three man team from Flagstaff to go ahead on the route.  Smart move it was too, as the Mafioso took hours to do the 4th pitch, which is not exactly the crux of the route, if you know what I mean.  Not to worry because they have massive haul bags, stuffed to the splitting point with 30 days rations.

2)  Canadian Crawlers on the move, don't blink or you will miss these guys!



























3)  The Flag boys left the Ottawa Crawlers to eat their dust as they did 5,6, and 7 by the time the Canuckians had finished the 4th.



























A solo started the first pitch and looked a bit tentative. 

El Nino:  A solo, for the moment, climber is fixing a couple on this excellent free route up the North American Wall.  He phoned the bridge for some reinforcements so Brian and Sandra went up to give him a hand.  Auspicious beginning?  You make the call.

Nose:  While One of the most exposed routes on the face, the Nose still has teams willing to climb into the teeth of uncertain weather to make the ascent.
I did see a team climb to the base of the last pitch as I was leaving at 3pm.
The three teams in the Stovelegs yesterday were all in the vicinity of ECT when I arrived this morning.  The team of two Brits did the KS and were moving into the Grey Bands as I set up to shoot.
Behind them, another team of two climbed the Boot and did the KS, well sorta… they did some funky tension traverse utilizing gear out left of the toe of the Boot, and eventually ending up at the correct spot  … would have been faster to actually do the swing, but to each his own, as they say.
4)  The team of three, who bulldozed up the Legs yesterday, were entrenched on ECT and didn’t move an inch all day.  With two teams above and uncertain weather ahead, it looked like a good plan to me!  Ez off if necessary and it gives the guys above a chance to clear out.






















Shield:  Callum and Neil were setting a blistering pace today as the cold and wind set upon them high on the route.  They were a pitch from Chickenhead when I departed this afternoon.  Off tomorrow for sure.  I told those boys it could get nasty cold up there but I didn’t see anything but some fleece pullovers on them. 

5)  Running for the top on the Shield.


























Salathe:  I saw a team hanging around the Alcove and another bail from the same place this morning.  I think this weather is not threatening enough to bail yet, but those on a tight schedule may not have the option to wait it out another day.

Octopussy:  I did see Kate climbing another pitch this morning as Pete was organizing the tonnage at the belay.  She seems to be getting the good leads  thus far.  But like I have said in the past, Pete is an evening climber and Kate likes to hit it early and hard. 

6)  Pete and Kate, way out west. 


























7)  Sunset from Home:























In other news:  The Bridge was a cold, windswept, desolate structure today.  A bare handful of Tourons got off the bus and quickly returned to its warmth.  I braved the horrendous conditions, while suffering in silence, because I am willing to risk it all to get the vital information that you demand.  God bless….. Me!! 
The last couple of days have seen some of our regular crew abandon the Valley for other climbing areas.  Hayden bailed to Kentucky… yes Kentucky!  Imagine, leaving Yosemite to climb in Kentucky!!  Logic would dictate the opposite!  Not that there is anything wrong with Kentucky….. the Arkansas of the East…..if you don’t count West Virginia, that is.  Chuck (Logan) headed to Moab for some guides test and to grind some sand off the cracks in IC.
Well good riddance I say… a bunch of boulders and sport climbers is all they are… we need the genuine article here… Big Wall Climbers!  Yeah, Big Wall Climbers Rule!!
Too much diet cola this evening….
So that’s the way it is for this the 29th day of September, 2009.
I need a nap…
Tommy is tired.  Bye Bye…

photo cd? sure!


Yeah, I think I stick with the way I first did it, even it there might be a better way! Ditto on the East Ledges Raps!

Sure, a photo CD would be great. Always nice to have the full res ones - I know you don't have space to put 'em in your report! I'll share with Ben, of course. Last time you sent a CD it was Chris Chan and I on the Salathe'; now she's the wallmaster!


Clint the man

Yeah Clint.... all you touch turns to gold... Chris is a sweetheart and sings your praises.  Send me your address and dates on the Nose and I will send the cd along.
Thanks Clint for all you do for the climbing community here.

Clint king swing

Yep it is done a lot of different ways and it seems that the now "standard" way puzzles a lot of climbers!  When I did it in 71 there was a fixed pin and I did the double swing which was way easy. 
BTW do you want a cd of your climb of the nose the other day?
later Tom

King Swing via tension traverse

That's my preferred way to do it, and it's shown that way in the 1982 topo, although the fixed pin is no longer there, so I placed some tiny wired nuts instead.
A lot faster than some people I've seen try it!
Plus, I have spasticity due to an old spinal cord injury, so I can't even run across the street.

The 3 guys at El Cap Tower are Andy, Adam, and Rob from the UK. They were indeed wise to take a rest day, as Ben and I didn't want to climb through the night in coldish weather to Camp 5, so we stayed at Camp 4 and it would have been crowded there with 5 people!

Clint Cummins

Come visit me too

YO, i miss the scene, oh and the rock alot these days. Hows about you guys visit oregon for a change! ha ha,

Great Report

Thanks Tom, I'm looking forward to seeing more shots in the next few days on some of those routes.

Going East

Yo Matt, how is school going Bro?  No I have enough to do here and my energy level is slowly dropping so by the end I will just crash at thome.
Would love to go back and see the fall colors... maybe next time.... Take care Bro... See you next year.


Yo Tommy are you coming out east this fall???

Matt Thomsen

Prod sez!

You're keeping me entertained in great style.


No bail for me

Ohhh i wont be bailing on the valley. not for some time!

Im takin' this bitch right through the winter baby!


for the news tom

Another Canadian Junk Train....

The Ottawa Black Hand Tong seems to rival their countryman Pete in the junk train category. Do they start before 3pm?

Thanks for the update. You are the MAN!!!!