ElCap Report

Welcome to the ElCap Report website.  Below you will find the reports I have written for the past several climbing seasons in Yosemite.  I use a 500mm and a 600mm lens for the images you will see below.  The early reports were written before I had my own website, so don't expect to see images with the early reports.  Originally the reports were done on Supertopo.com so you will find references to that site in the writings.  I started this site in late April of 2009 and have been pleased with the interest you readers have shown.  Website design and operation by Chris Falkenstein of El Portal, CA.  Many thanks Chris!!

IF YOU SEE ANY SPAM IN THE COMMENTS SECTIONS PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON IT AS IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THEM!

DISCLAIMER: 

THESE REPORTS ARE THE MUSINGS OF AN OBSERVER WHO IS FAR FROM THE ACTION AND ANY RELATION TO THE TRUTH IS THE MEREST OF COINCIDENCE.  A SMALL PORTION OF WHAT IS WRITTEN IS SOMETIMES SIMPLY A FABRICATION, WRITTEN TO MAKE THE STORY "BETTER".  DON'T TAKE THIS STUFF TOO SERIOUSLY.  IT IS MEANT AS LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT, FOR THE MOST PART, ALTHOUGH I DO TRY TO GET THE CLIMBING FACTS RIGHT.  THESE REPORTS ARE WRITTEN FOR CLIMBERS, SO DON'T BE SURPRISED IF YOU, A NON-CLIMBER, DON'T GET THE TERMINOLOGY.  THIS REPORT IS IN NO WAY "OFFICIAL" AND IN NO WAY REFLECTS THE OPINION OF ANY GOVERNMENTAL OR PRIVATE AGENCY.  ALL CONTENT IS STRICTLY MY OPINION.  IF YOU DON'T WISH TO BE MENTIONED IN THE REPORT, OR PHOTOGRAPHED, JUST SEND ME AN EMAIL (CLICK "CONTACT" ABOVE) TO THAT EFFECT, OR COME BY THE BRIDGE, AND LET ME KNOW AND YOUR PRIVACY WILL BE RESPECTED.  NO ONE IS REQUIRED TO READ THE REPORT.. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT THEN DON'T READ IT.  

Read and enjoy the exploits of the climbers who take on El Capitan.  They are a diverse group with a common bond and each has a unique story to tell.

Many thanks to those who have made a donation to the site... all donations are really appreciated, no matter the amount! The costs of doing all this far exceeds the amount of donations received, but without donations, the photography and Report would not be possible.  It is for all the readers of the report, and the climbers in it, that I spend time and money to keep this thing going.

Best wishes,  Tom Evans

  The "read more" for this section will give you additional information about getting pictures and processing, and comments.

ElCap Report 10/20/21

ElCap Report 10/20/21 

By Tom Evans

Yo… This is the last report of my abbreviated late Fall season.  The weather is threatening to end the season within the next few days.  As a result, I bailed for home on 10/20/21 as did many other people who took a hard look at the weather forecast.  For me this has been a really short season as I only got two weeks of shooting. The permit system seems to have been no big deal as many teams signed up.  It was nice to get back to Yosemite after an almost 2 year absence.  If you missed getting your pics from me while I was here, then use the contact button to contact me.  I need the climb and dates you did it and any identifying information you have .. like bag colors or clothing colors etc.

ElCap Report 10/16/2021

ElCap Report 10/16/2021

By Tom Evans

Yo… Several days of sunny and warm weather have been drawing climbers to the great wall.  Strangely enough, the upper east side is seeing more climbers than the Big Two these days.  Shortest Straw has been very popular, having women’s teams, solo’s, and men’s teams lining up for a shot at it.  There have been some free climbing attempts on other routes as well.  The season is winding down now as the extended weather forecast calls for rain and snow a week or so in the future.  The Nose has seen a higher than normal bail rate thus far.  For me the infection of ElCap by climbers wearing dark clothing has been particularly egregious, as it dulls my photo compositions. 

ElCap Report 10/14/21

ElCap Report 10/14/2021

By Tom Evans

Yo..  The Weather has been a little strange and that has affected climbing teams in different ways.  As you read on the previous report, we recently had a night of high winds combined with cold temperatures.  The woman’s team on the Straw kept going with apparently little trouble, while the men’s team on the Sea bailed because they lacked cold weather gear and suffered from the cold.  Piton Pete’s team were quite alarmed at the conditions and were fearful it would be very difficult to retreat as they felt the conditions hampered rope management.  Pete’s team bailed because his partner Kurt had serious back problems along with intestinal issues that incapacitated him.  The Green Bag team just kept rolling along, putting the pitches behind them.  This is the Fall season and the weather is uncertain some of the time… so any team should be prepared for anything from heat to freezing temperatures.  Don’t go on the Cap without a full kit.  Several people have died up there from the cold.  Climbers tend to see Yosemite as just “Fun in the Sun!”  The price for making that mistake can be your life!

ElCap Report 10/12/21

ElCap Report 10/12/2021

By Tom Evans

Yo… Nights have been cold and the days cool with some sun and wind.  There are some interesting routes being done as the big trades seem to be languishing in solitude with a few NIAD’s keeping it interesting. Many climbing friends have shown up and the line-up of vehicles seems to be fulling daily.  I will keep plugging along in the meadow just for you! Most reports, like this one, will be a consolidation of 2 or 3 of days of climbing.

10/12/21 8am.  BIG NEWS just in from Piton Pete who is trying to bail due to partner illness.  High winds buffeted the Captain all night and into the morning.  Pete says it is too cold and windy (70 mph) to rappel and the conditions are full on epic.  Hopefully the wind will back off as the day progresses.  Just goes to show you how important it is to be fully prepared for any circumstance. 

ElCap Report 10/9/21

 

ElCap Report 10/9/2021   First Report of the Fall season.  

By Tom Evans

All right folks, the ElCap Report is back, after 2 years of no reports amid the covid 19 restrictions. So, wake up Cubicle Pukes, and pay attention because cool things are happening and more are planned... So, where the hell are you???  I arrived in Yosemite Valley around 8am on October 6th after a drive of 7.5 hours, from my home in SoCal.  The driving was easy at night and I arrived to find ElCap with climbers on some really good routes… some I don’t usually see.  The Nose has been empty for the past two days.  The weather has been ok but the smoke has been a constant problem this season.  I am planning on being here until the end of the month, and am staying at site 36 in Camp 4.  I didn’t shoot on the 6th as I was pretty tired from the trip up and hit the sack around 6:30pm.  This report is a compilation of the past couple of days.

ElCap Report 5/18/2021

ElCap Report 5/18/2021 Special Report Wilderness Climbing Permit

Yo.. It has been a while since I wrote an ElCap Report as the Pandemic has locked many of us into our homes and out of Yosemite.  Recently the NPS released a new requirement for all climbers to apply for a Wilderness Climbing Permit (WCP going forward) if they spend one or more nights on a big wall climb.  Since everything over the elevation of about 4,000ft is considered wilderness, that applies to all big walls in Yosemite. Unfortunately, the roll-out was poorly handled and all it accomplished was hostility among many in the climbing community.  So, the ElCap Report (ECR going forward) known for its straightforward and credible reporting on all things ElCap (EC going forward) related, is going to give you the real dope on this latest eruption from the NPS. Understand, however that I am speaking only about the effect of the WCP on EC climbs, as I have no direct knowledge of any other climbs.

ElCap Report 10/19/2019

ElCap Report 10/19/19

By Tom Evans

Yo.. The weather has continued to hold and many climbs of importance are about to be done.  And I am leaving for home in the morning, so this is the last report of the season.  Too bad I have to leave but I planned a month-long cruise a few months ago and can’t cancel it for anything.  I would like to thank all you readers and supporters of the Report. It couldn’t happen without your donations and rabid interest in the climbing on the Cap!  I have had a good, if shortened season and, as you have seen, gotten a lot of interesting shots for the climbers to have and share. 

ElCap Report 10/18/2019

ElCap Report 10/18/19

By Tom Evans

Yo… Surprise… the Nose is almost empty.. so all you folks constantly complaining about crowding… now is the time.  Lots of other stuff being climbed too.  I will be leaving the Valley this Sunday so come see me very soon if you want to get your shots directly from me.  Otherwise use the “contact” button above to send me your information about the climb.

ElCap Report 10/17/2019

ElCap Report 10/17/19

By Tom Evans

Yo… Exceptionally stable weather has been the hallmark of this season. We have not had a drop of rain in daytime for the entire month I have been here.  The forecast continues to promise good weather.  I am leaving soon as I have other things on my agenda so keep that in mind and come see me in the Café morning or evening to get your shots…otherwise I can drop box them to you when I have time.  Lots of interesting climbing going on these days aside from the big trades… so come on out and see all the action or better yet get up on the big stone yourself.

ElCap Report 10/15/2019

ElCap Report 10/15/19

By Tom Evans

Yo… The smoke seems to have vanished as quickly as it appeared… so come on down!!  The climbing season has returned.  Lots of action off the trade routes to report on.  But the big trades are still getting most of the numbers. 

ElCap Report 10/10/2019

ElCap Report 10/10/19

By Tom Evans

Yo.. As you know by now, the weather is great but the air is not.  We have a big fire burning out to the west near Midpines. It is producing a lot of smoke and the prevailing west wind is bringing the smoke into the Valley where it is sitting and concentrating.  It does make for some interesting sunsets and views of a very red moon at night.  When it will disperse, no one knows.  To keep your mind off the smoke, I have written a report from shots taken over the last few days.  Later... 4pm this afternoon... the smoke is back since 1pm and it looks like the cycle will continue for some time... so ... stay away and keep checking back to find out what is up with the fire.

ElCap Report 10/9/2019

Big fire out to the west near Midpines.....Smoke thick in the Valley and it is not going away for several days.... don't come here until it clears ... maybe by the weekend.  

Capt. Tom

ElCap Report 10/7/2019

ElCap Report 10/7/19

By Tom Evans

Yo… Today was a beautiful day… right up until 1pm when the Valley filled with smoke from a fire near Midpines which was Zero percent contained.  Needless to say hwy 140 was closed this afternoon.  So I got a couple of hours extra time to finish images early and write this report.  The weather continues to hold.

ElCap Report 10/3/2019

ElCap Report 10/3/19

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Spectacular weather continues to dominate the season thus far.  Now that the Face Lift was successfully concluded, more climbers are here to infest the great rock.  Hopefully you, cubicle pukes, have caught the bug and are headed this way to join the crews up on the cliff or just hang in the meadow to do the “ElCap Lieback”.  Lots of interesting routes to report on this time, so tell the boss you have to take a break and come with old Capt. Tom to share the experiences of climbers on our favorite rock… El Capitan!  Sorry to have had so few reports thus far but I am finding that my available energy at 75 years of age is not what it used to be but I will do the best I can for you readers.

ElCap Report 9/28/2019

ElCap Report 9/28/2019

By Tom Evans

Yo… The weather has changed, the skies are dark and foreboding with some showers.  I am hanging in the café with the crew, staying dry and talking shit.  The Face Lift has, as expected, reduced the action on ElCap.  As a result, I haven’t had much to shoot but the big trade routes… so you get a lethal dose of familiar features today.  It has been unseasonably warm these past days and we await fall weathers return.  Later in the day now... the clouds cleared around noon but the wind is up and the temperature has dropped.  Looking at some rain late tonight or tomorrow morning.  I'm hanging in the Mt. Room Bar this evening.

ElCap Report 9/22/2019

ElCap Report 9/22/2019

By Tom Evans

Yo… Splendid weather has been holding firm here the first several days of my stay. But next week some rain is in the forecast and we are hoping it will not disrupt the Face Lift.  The action on ElCap has been mostly on the big trades with the exception of the huge rockfall scar from a couple of years ago, which you saw a shot of in the last report.  More on that below.  Climbers are coming now for the Face Lift and we expect for things to pick up after the clean-up if the weather holds.  Ok people, a lot of you are showing up on the cliff wearing gray, black, and other dark colors… not good for photos… so don’t expect to have your pic on the report if this describes you.

ElCap Report 9/20/2019

ElCap Report 9/20/2019

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I arrived yesterday after a nice, but long drive from my home in Southern California.  The weather is really fall like with cool days and cooler nights. The great rock is pretty empty with the exception of the Nose which is crowded in clumps.  I didn’t arrive in time to shoot yesterday but did get down to the ElCap meadow to shoot today.  I plan to have some reports this fall as I will be here until late October and will have time to get something up but at irregular intervals most likely.  So… stay tuned for all the news from the big stone along with some reporting on the Face Lift that will start early next week, and has excellent evening shows and fantastic prizes for the hard working volunteers.

ElCap Report 10/27/18 Last report of the Fall season.

ElCap Report 10/27/18  Last report of the Fall season.

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Great weather continued right to the end of the season.  My season that is, as the climbing season continues well into November or until the weather totally caves in.  We had a lot of action on the Cap this season with the big trades getting fully used, as well as climbs we don’t see done so much.  All in all, it was a good season with no really serious injures in the climbing community.  The two big climbing movies came out in Sept. and have been well attended with very positive reviews.  Seems like climbing movies are becoming more interesting to main stream viewers as well as climbers.  BTW if you have not contacted me about drop boxing your shots to you then you have to wait until Dec as I will be gone until then, starting Nov 4.  Let me know and I will put you on the list.... thanks!

ElCap Report 10/22/18

ElCap Report 10/22/18

By Tom Evans

Yo… The weather continues to make this an exceptional season for big wall climbing.  Lots of different climbs are being done along with the Big Trades that are still overloaded on most days.  We have had a few rescues these past days, mostly helicopter driven, of varying incidents… be careful out there folks!

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