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 10/15/18

ElCap Report 10/15/18

By Tom Evans

Yo… Killer weather these days, including some cold nights!  Lots of climbs going on now but the Nose has been virtually empty as has the Salathe.  Lots of traffic has been seen over on the North America Wall.  The season is in full swing now AND for the most part the NPS has taken Camp 4 back from the wild west show it had turned into.  So now you will need that parking pass to use the lot and they are checking sites for poachers and unregistered tents.  There is a $180 fine for failing to register! 

The leaves are rapidly turning their fall colors and the days are warm in the sunlit meadow but rather cool in the shade.. bring a jacket!  Remember these reports are not complete coverage of all the teams climbing, as the daily ones were in the past… you’re your team might not get a mention or a shot in the report.  Get used to it, as I am not going back to the daily reports.

ElCap Report 10/9/18

ElCap Report 10/9/18

By Tom Evans

Yo… Splendid weather continues after the three days of not so good conditions.  The big routes are getting full attention now.  Today there were 18 parties on the Nose route, although mostly spread out pretty well except for the first 4 pitches which were loaded past capacity.  Other routes are available folks!  Zodiac only has one party, the Trip is empty, Mescalito has just one party and the NA has one new party and another that is about to finish.  So, pick a good route, that is not called the Nose or Salathe/Freerider!  The shots below are from the last few days.

ElCap Report 10/4/18

ElCap Report 10/4/18

By Tom Evans

Yo… Since the rains came a couple of days ago, I have been out and about taking some scenic shots.  Much easier to write about than climbing!  Speaking of climbing… Brett Evans, who is on the Trip, seems to have landed in the golden zone where it is dry and comfortable.  He has continued to climb pitches each day and is doing just fine.  No other teams, that I know of, are on the mountain.  Now folks…. Some of you have been jumping other peoples fixed lines so you won’t have to climb some pitches.  This practice is not ethical here in Yosemite.  You should do your own climbing and fixing.  At the very least you should find the people who fixed the lines and get permission to use those ropes.  OK?

ElCap Report 10/2/18

ElCap Report 10/2/18

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Great weather now… cooler with mostly sunny days and comfortable nights.  However, today is forecast to be the start of several days of rain, through Thursday.  Although we have had good action in the last several days, that will be changing very soon.  This report has shots over the past few days. Update:  It is now 8:30am and pouring rain... good luck out there!  I have just learned that the Para Climber made it off last night and that they are presently carrying her out via Tamarc flats trail. I also got down to ElCap around noon and saw Brett leading the pitch above the slab and he was in a dry area too.. looking good up there!

ElCap Report 9/28/18

ElCap Report 9/28/18

By Tom Evans

Yo… The weather is no longer on the warm side but has moved into the blazing hot region.  Most climbers have stayed away from the cliff or have tried and bailed from their chosen routes. Many climbers have volunteered to help clean up Yosemite via the Face Lift. However, the forecast is for cooler temps and possible rain early next week.  We could use some rain as Yosemite has become a dust bowl from all the logging and a long dry summer. The air still has some smoke at times as there are fires smoldering from the past few weeks.  Some hard core teams are still up there battling it out, seeking to realize their dream climbs.  Hey you lurkers... how about some donations to the site... I do this for your enjoyment and am getting hungry here! 

ElCap Report 9/25/2018

ElCap Report 9/25/18

By Tom Evans

Yo…The great weather continues to bless the fall season.  The cliff is far from packed but it is drawing the wall climbers to it.  The Nose is getting the lions share of the teams.  The Face Lift is on now and that may be the reason for a thinned wall population.  Tonight, the Face Lift is showing the Honnold film “Alone” and the turnout is expected to be epic.  The real work of the event will start tomorrow as the volunteers head out to pick up trash and junk strewn about the park.  Big events happen each evening this week… so if you are in the area be sure to come on by.

ElCap Report 9/22/18

ElCap Report 9/22/2018

By Tom Evans

Yo… Wake up Cubicle Pukes.. the ElCap Report is back!  The 5 days I have been here have been perfect for climbing, not a cloud in the sky! As to be expected, the big trades are getting most of the attention.  We do have some solo climbers up on the big lonesome, the solitude their objective.  Oli is done with NNL while Matt is just starting.  Stevie G is on a favorite … JTree was too hot so he came north.  On the upper east side Zodiac and the Straw are getting some traffic but the rest of the SE face lies empty all the way to the Nose.  Lots of action on Salathe and Freerider.  The Nose is getting a lot of action but has yet to get jammed up.  The Muir is becoming popular again with two teams on it at the moment, and another just off.  I am in site 1 of camp 4, look for the lime green rain fly with the lights.  I haven’t gotten around to do any scenic shots but hope to get away from EC in late afternoon.  I will try to get a report out each week or so but understand that I will not be writing or posting shots of every team, although I will be shooting everyone.

ElCap Report 5/16/18

ElCap Report 5/16/18

By Tom Evans

Yo... It seems like the Spring climbing season is in full swing now.

ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/17

ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo… The great fall weather held up to the end of the season. The hallmarks of the season were the huge rockfalls of late September, early October, and death and injury as you have read in previous ElCap Reports.  However, along with tragedy came the triumphs of climbers who fulfilled long held ambitions and dreams.  Lots of free climbs were attempted on ElCap as a wave of European climbers swarmed over the great rock.  We also got to watch some, rarely done, wall style climbs too. This is the last report of the fall season.  Remember to let me know who the climbers are in the shots, if they are not identified, so I can put their names with their shots.  I received word (11/15/17) that Keita Kurahami who worked the Nose this fall did make a free ascent!  Congratualtions! 

ElCap Report 10/18 to 10/25/2017

ElCap Report 10/19 to 10/25/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo…Unprecedented solid weather seems to be the trademark of this Falls climbing season.  It is too warm for some of the free climbing on ElCap, yet several teams are forging ahead.  Most popular is, of course, Freerider which has been plagued by drop-ins, bailers and fixed-line jumpers.  El Nino, El Corazon, and Golden Gate still have parties on them.  The big free climbing news is the finishing of Rob Miller and Roby Rudolf’s new route on the Muir Wall, just two days ago.  Big wall aid routes are going down in good order too.  Recently we have seen the NA, Aurora, Native Son, Mescalito, Wall of the Early Morning Light, Sunkist, Never Never Land, and Aquarian get climbed, to mention some of the notables.

ElCap Report 10.21.17 New Nose Record

ElCap Report 10/21/17 New Nose Record

By Tom Evans

Yo… It was a cold and dark morning in Camp 4 and I didn’t really want get up… but Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds seemed to be on the cusp of finally sending the Nose, in record time.  This was to be their 11th run up the route and since their last run had broken the 2:30 barrier I figured this just might be their day… so I went to the café around 6:30, gagged down a greasy breakfast, and headed down to the meadow.  I arrived to find that …the story continues below…

ElCap Report 10/12 to 10/18/17

ElCap Report 10/12 to 10/18/17

By Tom Evans

Yo… Great weather, albeit on the warm side, prevails here in Yosemite.  Unfortunately, so does the smoke from the Empire fire, up behind Glacier Point.  So, most of the day shooting is a waste of time as the shots come out very strange looking until the smoke drifts off later in the afternoon.  The roads are a total mess too with paving going on in the camp 4 area and other projects making for lots of waiting in lines.  I had considered leaving this week but some friends are here and we are having a good time in spite of the distractions.  We had a big rockfall off the first half of the 5th pitch on ZM, so that route will have to be reestablished there.  The big rockfall area continues to dribble a rock or two now and then but nothing substantial.  

ElCap Report 10/5 to 10/11/17

ElCap Report 10/5 to 10/11/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo… The great weather continues to bless this fall climbing season.  However, we have a lot of smoke in the valley most days and that tends to put a yellow cast on my photographs.  Due to recent events on ElCap I have fallen behind in the regular weekly reports… so I am trying to catch up.

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

ElCap Report 10/11/17 Special Edition Texas Flake Rescue

ElCap Report 10/11/17 Special Rescue Edition Texas Flake

By Tom Evans

Yo.. The day started as many do these days..the valley was full of smoke and I was not able to get any useful shots until late morning when the smoke drifted off to the east.  Just past noon a friend came out and we chatted while I was doing my usual morning shooting.  At about 12:30 a man quickly approached and asked if we had seen the big fall off the Boot Flake.  I hadn’t seen it happen as I was conversing with friends at that moment.  He described the fall to me.  The climber had fallen from near the top of the Boot and the story continues below…

ElCap Report 10/5/17

ElCap Report 10/5/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Splendid weather now dominates the climbing season.  Warm days and cool nights are making for perfect climbing conditions.  You need to come on out and get on the great rock as it doesn’t get better than it is now.  The big trades are getting a lot of attention but some interesting climbing is going down on the not so popular, but deserving routes.  This report covers the climbing from 9/27 to 10/5/2017.

ElCap Report 10/2/17

ElCap Report 10/2/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. this report will cover climbs up to the 27th of Sept 2017.  The weather has been solid for some time now but the Big Three are not crowded at all…so this is your time to get going on the route you have always wanted to do.  The news media coverage of the big rockfalls has pretty much gone away now and things are sort of back to normal for everyone but the people involved, of course. 

ElCap Report Rockfall Rescue Edition 9.27.17

ElCap Report Rockfall Edition 9/27/17

By Tom Evans

Yo…The weather has been really nice for the past few days and big wall climbers are back in force.  Today was one of those perfect days that everyone had a nice comment about while hanging in the meadow.  However nice the weather was, the rest of the day was ruined by a huge rockfall that came thundering down the SE face of ElCap, just right of the Waterfall route.  The rockfall struck at 1:51pm with a loud cracking sound and then billows of dust rose from the base of the rock.  Fortunately, there was a strong west wind blowing the dust rapidly to the east, so we were able to see the cliff right away. 

About half an hour before the fall, three people were seen walking among the remains of the last rockfall, from two years ago.  We watchers immediately scanned the base in hopes of seeing three people fleeing the area.  Unfortunately, I was only to see a woman, helped by someone, slowly moving to the west.  Immediately after the fall many people called in to report the rockfall and the possibility that there were people struck by it.  YOSAR quickly arrived on scene, with all their resources, to evaluate the situation and help in any way possible.  The shots below will tell the story, but not in the detail that would do justice to all those responsible for the rescue effort.  Many people, you will never know about, made important contributions to the rescue.  YOSAR continues to amaze with their efficiency and outright courage...dedicated professionals willing to risk their lives to save others... proud!

ElCap Report 9/23/17

ElCap Report 9/23/17

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I have been here three days thus far and we have had rain, hail, sleet, snow, and wind…with a couple nice mornings and afternoons thrown in, but not together.  The extended forecast looks promising.  The bad weather has not kept climbers off the wall, unless they were low enough to rap to the deck when the weather came in strong.  The Nose has been pretty loaded but has slacked off a bit with the cold weather.  Some interesting routes are being climbed at the moment, so I will keep you posted.  I haven’t been here long enough to get any scenic shots so this report will be just climbing shots.  If see yourself or anyone in these shots that you know please let me know, in the comments section below, so I can add them in the appropriate shots.  Thanks!

ElCap Report 6/30/17

ElCap Report 6/30/17

By Tom Evans

Yo… This is the last Report for the Spring 2017 ElCap climbing season.  I would like to thank all those who have supported the Report with their donations this season.  If you have not yet gotten the shots I took of your ElCap climb then be sure to send me an email (use the contact button on this page) telling me what climb, when, colors of shirts and bags.  When you get your shots you can use the Donate Button, on this page, to make a donation to the site if you wish.  Many thanks!

This has been a strange season with all the varied weather, crazy road conditions, massive amounts of water raging through the Valley, rockfall closing roads and such.  There was not a lot of crowding on the Cap, as the population of wall climbers was down this Spring, most likely due to the heavy winter snows isolating the Valley until the Tioga Pass opened in late June.  We did have some “firsts”, including the first nude ascent of the Nose, done in a snappy 12 hours, and the first free solo of ElCap via Freerider, done in an awesome 3:49.

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