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.  Many of the reports were written before I was able to post images, so don't expect to see images with all the 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 THE BASTARDS!

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.  SOME OF WHAT IS WRITTEN IS SIMPLY  A FABRICATION, WRITTEN TO MAKE THE STORY "BETTER".  SO DON'T TAKE THIS STUFF TOO SERIOUSLY.  IT IS MEANT AS 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 GOVERMENTAL OR PRIVATE AGENCY.  ALL CONTENT IS STRICTLY MY OPINION.

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!  It is for all of you who read the reports, and for the climbers who are in them, that I spend the many hours it takes to keep this thing going. If you want to read about my life then click on the "About Tom Evans" box above.

A new feature of the site is the Photo Gallery above.  If you just want to see some pics from 2009 then click on this box or click on any images in the thumb nails grouped on the left of the page, or the Monthly Archive for April 2010.   Be sure to click on "original" to see a larger image of the shot.  Enjoy!!

Best wishes,  Tom Evans

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

ElCap Report 5/22 and 23 /2015

ElCap Report 5/22 and 23/2015

By Tom Evans

Yo... Rain, rain, rain.. that's just the way it is...

later ElTom

ElCap Report 5/21/2015

ElCap Report 5/21/15

By Tom Evans

Yo… I would love to have tons of shots from today to show you… but… it has rained all afternoon and is still going at 5:30pm…So… Today is Throw Back Thursday and I have selected some shots from 2012 to share with you, just in case you haven’t seen them before.  Today the team, on Zodiac climbed the White Circle, and were last seen heading up the Mark of Zorro.  That does it for today’s news!

ElCap Report 5/20/2015

ElCap Report 5/20/15

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Blue Bird Day here in the Ditch!  Nothing much going on up on the hill.  So… today I am going to post some shots of people I have from the past.  I am not able to identify all of the people in each shot so I will do what I can. The first four shots are from today.  BTW.. the big holiday weekend is coming up and traffic will be bad in the Valley... so I may not be able to get back to the lodge to do the report for a couple of days... so don't worry... I will combine a couple days when things settle down again.

ElCap Report 5/19/2015

ElCap Report 5/19/15

By Tom Evans

Yo… Today started out to be a bluebird day, but around 2pm clouds came in and the temperature dropped as the wind became stronger.  Not a lot of action on the Cap today, because people are still holding back, waiting for a better weather forecast.  Actually the conditions are ideal, if you can tolerate a light shower in the evening.

The recent BASE jumping accident has gotten a lot of media coverage and we still have reporters here covering the story.  The Park Service has done an excellent job of getting accident information out to the public.  You can read the details on the NPS website, or on just about any other climbing or BASE website

ElCap Report 5/18/2015

ElCap Report 5/18/15

By Tom Evans

Yo... sketchy weather has kept the Captain empty on this day.  Many friends of Dean and Graham have come to the Valley to share their grief with those of us here.  Many stories are being exchanged and the memory of the men is thus kept alive.  We pretty much know what happened that Saturday evening but it has not been officially confirmed by the NPS.  Their investigators are working hard on the available photos of the accident and descriptions from witnesses.  The results will be published in good time.  Climbers are rather hardened to the death of friends and we are taking it stride as best we can.

ElCap Report 5/17/2015

ElCap Report 5/17/15

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I sit at my table, in the Café, as the rain pours down just outside the window.  It started a bit after noon and continues unabated.  The gloom of the day is heightened by the death, last evening, of two of our community’s best people.  Dean Potter, and Graham Hunt, perished late in the evening when a BASE jump from Taft Point went terribly wrong.  Yosemite Search and Rescue received word last night that the men were overdue and immediately sent out ground parties, to search for them.  I awoke, just after dawn, when a helicopter flew low over the house I was staying in, while searching for the men.  I heard that they were over due and was at the EC Meadow, doing my daily shooting, when friends came by and confirmed the tragedy.  The men’s bodies were recovered by noon and many friends gathered throughout the morning and afternoon to seek comfort and share their grief. 

ElCap Report 5/16/2015

ElCap Report 5/16/15

By Tom Evans

Yo..  Today we had a beautiful day in the Valley.. right up until it started raining!  Fortunately the rain came in very late in the day.  We actually had some action on the Big Stone too!  So here we go Cubicle Pukes… climbing is on for the spring season!  In this report I will also cover a some shots from the past few days…I don’t have many because I was busy with other shooting for the past week.

ElCap Report 5/15/2015

ElCap Report 5/15/15

By Tom Evans

Yo… Heavy weather here in the Valley today.  Unfortunately not enough rain to make much of a difference in the water situation but just enough to keep climbers off the Big Stone.  Today the Adidas Outdoor crew went down to ElCap and spent some time on the Alcove Swing, along with some slack lining.  I stayed down below and got some video and stills of the crowd doing the swing as there wasn’t much else to do today.

ElCap Report 5/14/2015

ElCap Report 5/14/15 Start of the Spring Climbing Season!

By Tom Evans

Yo... Don't get too excited about the Report yet.  The weather reverted to March-April stuff and we have snow and rain forecast for the next several days.  There has been some good climbing this spring, so stay tuned... when the weather clears I will be back at it down in the EC meadow. 

I am staying in Yosemite West for the next few days and will be camping somewhere after that.  Here are the present conditions in Yo. West.

ElCap Report 1/14/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 19

ElCap Report 1/14/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 19

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Spectacular weather continued to be one of the main factors in the “Climb of the Century” aka “The most difficult rock climb in the world.”  I got to the meadow this morning around 8am and the climbing didn’t start until 9am.  The team had spent the night on the “Ship’s Bow” and had 4 difficult pitches to do today.  I got word from Tommy that their intended ETA on the top would be pushed back from noon to about 3pm.  The world had also arrived at the ElCap meadow and massive media coverage, including, live streaming video, was beamed all around the world!  The crowd was large and a forest of “Big Gun” telephoto lenses put my little rig to shame!  A festive atmosphere soon developed as the sun came over the ridge to the south and the meadow warmed in the bright California sun.  The climb was far from over and by now you know the outcome.  Pictures of the event are everywhere, so mine will add little to the history of the event on this day.  But, I will post some of mine so you loyal readers can see what I saw and felt on this historic occasion.

ElCap Report 1/13/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 18

ElCap Report 1/13/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 18

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor

By Tom Evans

Yo..Unprecedented good weather continues to bless this climb.  We had another blue bird day, that was a bit cold at the start but warmed nicely in the morning sun.  Today was moving day. The men need to get 7 pitches climbed to make it to their chosen bivy spot, the Ship’s Bow, high above.  They haven’t climbed that many pitches in a day before and it would be interesting to see if, after all the two day pitches, they could saddle up and ride fast.  It started with the ascent of the photographer’s lines to Wino Tower, which took a long time.

ElCap Report 1/12/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 17

ElCap Report 1/12/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 17

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Today was catch-up day for Kevin.  A good effort would bring each team member’s high point to Wino Tower.  Since Tommy’s high point was already there, Kevin had to climb pitches 18, 19, 20.  The weather was kind of a problem.  The day was partly cloudy and, when the sun was out, it was really warm, but when clouds obscured the sun, it was quite chilly.  There is much talk around town, concerning summit day… when was the question?  Everyone has a different idea.  The media darling of rock climbing, Alex Honnold, said it will be Wednesday, mid day.  I think it will be a day later, perhaps two.  (EDITED LATER.. Honnold was right and I was wrong!)  In mid morning, the day after the summit day, there is to be a press conference, with the men, in the ElCap meadow.  Well…remember Captain Tom’s saying, “You never have it made, until you have it done.”  Climbing to start at 10am tomorrow morning!

ElCap Report 1/10/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 15

ElCap Report 1/10/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 15

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… Day 15 on the climb started out very overcast with rain lurking.  It was cooler too and conditions looked right for Kevin to catch up a couple pitches on Tommy.  Kevin had texted me that they were going to start around noon and I had some interviews to do for the media, so I went early.  By the time I arrived the clouds had thinned out and the sun was peeking through.  Soon the boys were set to climb.

ElCap Report 1/9/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 14

ElCap Report 1/9/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 14

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… Today's weather changed from sunny to cloudy, with a drop or two of rain, every now and then.  The conditions were better for climbing due to the absence of the direct sunlight on the rock.  It was humid and warm in the meadow but must have been pretty good on the rock, as Kevin had chosen this day to make his attempt on the notorious 15th pitch.  The crowd started gathering just after noon and grew with each passing minute.  It was a mixed group with quite a few Tourons who had been following the news and climbers who knew the significance of the climb and wanted to witness the historic event. 

For Kevin it was the day of reckoning.  In the last few days, Tommy had climbed way above Kevin’s high point, and he needed to get past these super difficult pitches, and catch up with Tommy at Wino Tower, and soon.  Kevin was feeling the pressure of all those days, months and years spent working on the route.  Success or failure, the die would be cast today, as he is running out of time and finger pads, so now it's fish or cut bait.

ElCap Report 1/8/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 13

ElCap Report 1/8/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 12

Brought to you by Adidas Outdoor.

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Will winter ever come back?  I recall, at the start of this grand adventure, that I was freezing by buttocks off every day I was out shooting.  Today it was shirt sleeve weather in the meadow, until darkness came that is… then I scurried for the car like a flushed quail.  This sure beats a driving snow storm, but that’s about it!  Kevin had another day of not climbing, and belayed in support of Tommy’s efforts to climb pitches 19 and 20.

ElCap Report 1/7/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 12

ElCap Report 1/7/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 12

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo… the unseasonably warm weather continues here, much to the delight of the Tourons and detriment of the climbers.  The men have been forced to climb at night, so the rock will be cold enough for their specialized climbing shoes to get maximum traction.  Tommy is really on a roll now and has past the major technical difficulties of the climb.  Kevin is nursing finger injuries, but with a little rest I think he too can get past the hardest parts.  They are a team, and each has spent many days and weeks over the past years working on this climb.  Late this evening, Tommy put the 17th pitch behind and as I departed was starting the 18th.

ElCap Report 1/6/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 11

ElCap Report 1/6/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 11

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. great weather for general climbing and watching the happenings on ElCap.  But, not so good for extreme climbing.  Way too warm on the Cap.  The men decided to wait until darkness was falling to start today’s climbing.  Thus the pics are a bit on the sketchy side… but pretty neat really.  For the past two days I have been handling media requests from all over the planet!  Wow!  What a ride that has been!  You may have seen the nightly news reporting on the climb and the use of my shots in the reporting.  Pretty cool for this old timer!  Suddenly I am an overnight success… only 20 years in the making!!

ElCap Report 1/4/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 9

ElCap Report 1/4/15  SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 9

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Today started out with heavy clouds, low temperatures, and a smattering of light snow.  I hid in the car until I could find out what the climbing plan was for the day.  Kevin was champing at the bit to go back on the 15th pitch which he worked without sending yesterday, late into the night.  So I was ready to set up at a moment’s notice. 
Around 11am the clouds suddenly disappeared, heading south, the sun came out and it was nice and comfortable in the EC Meadow!  Nice for me but not good for the climbers.  So they did a 180 and decided to wait for cooler temps around 4pm to start the climbing.  So I hung around talking to Erik Sloan and later the Big Up crew stationed in the meadow.  Around 4pm the action started….

ElCap Report 1/3/2015 SPECIAL DAWN WALL EDITION DAY 8

ElCap Report 1.3.14  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 8

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo … Big time climbing here in Yosemite!  This climb, “The Climb of the Century”, is getting world-wide attention, as Kevin and Tommy are seemingly riding the winds of success to what looks like victory.  The NY Times has the famous reporter, John Branch, here to cover the story.  The story is being carried by regular media, not just climbing related media.  Psyched to be here, in the thick of the action…albeit from a thousand yards away!  But, as you faithful readers know, distance is erased by my Big Gun, which zooms us up close to those micro holds and tic marks.  They have been on the wall 8 days so far… you can smell them from here!!

So … the holidays are over and most of you are back at work.. Cubicle Pukes.. arise!!  Take a break and come with me…your man at the scene of the most memorable climb in many a year.  Forget about those flash and dash climbs and all the hype they generate… this is the real deal and you are right there, up close and personal! 

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