El Cap Report 05/22/07

ElCap Report 5/22/07

 By Tom Evans

Yo... I know you have been waiting all your boring day to get this report... so here it is fresh from the base of the ElCap scree slope and brought to the computer by a Sherpa runner who is here for the week... from Dead Bird ledge to the Teflon Corner here is all the latest dirt dished by the man on the scene...Today's ElCap Report:


 Zodiac: The orange soloist on Zodiac continues to cruise effortlessly up the route and has reached the Nipple pitch but came down to the belay below that for the night... at 4pm he was photographed hanging over the side of his ledge watching Ricardo and co. as they were climbing the infamous Black Tower pitch... Ricardo was safely lashed to the belay while his partner was on the sharp end of the chord.. anyone know his name? I have forgotten. Ricardo managed to give the euro squids the slip and forged ahead while they were exchanging their euros for dollars at the bank.. it looks rather comfortable over there on the upper east side of the Cap with shirt sleeves being the uniform of the day... The Euros are making good progress on their own and could give a clinic on what the well decked out ElCap aspirant should wear... they must be French! Matt is still hauling stuff to the base for his solo attempt later in the week...


Lost in America: well Mike and Kate are nearing the top and the weather is not so forgiving up where they are as they were huddled at the belays in heavy jackets with of course the worst possible color combinations... the army could use these jackets for camouflage!! But tomorrow will see them over the top and back to the world they were trying to escape!


Tangerine Trip: Seems that someone cleaned out part of camp 4 and sent the climbers to do the Trip. Steve, the big dude from yesterday got fixed up to the third pitch this afternoon and a party of two is hot on his heels, who are they????. Another solo has shown up with a great blue shirt and red helmet that bring a tear to this photographers eye... colors matter!!! He busted the direct start to the belay at the corner in half a day and burst into the lead among the other contenders... hot down low there but not too bad.


NA Wall... Well I figured the girls would pull into the Cyclops eye late after a long day from Big Sur ledge but I first saw them this morning a pitch above the roof so I guess they stopped before it got too tiring.. they were seen setting up in the eye this afternoon for a well deserved rest... no need to fix the traverse pitch as it would be more work than just leading it straight away in the morning.. Someone reported a team was about to start on the route but I have seen no sign of them from my vantage at the center of the ElCap scene.


Mescalito: The two guys who made the Bismark ledge yesterday evening were dusting off the the pitch above it when I arrived to shoot this morning.. they are getting high enough not to command too much attention and I have to remember to look at them every now and then to make sure they are still in cruise control. They should top out tomorrow.... you saw the nice pendulum pic I got of them on the Molar traverse pendulum... they will be psyched to have that one!! My man Ottawa Doug got his baggage hauled to the top of 4 today and we had a nice chat a few minutes ago as he came down for his last night on the ground... he looks great... slim and strong and pretty confident... and at 47 will be the oldest to solo this route and maybe even the Captain itself... I seem to recall that Chongo was 47 when he did Eagles Way "solo" but in "Chongo Style" which allows any possible means to get the rope up the pitch... ie hitch hiking and charging "passing fees" (extra water, food, taking his rope up the pitch etc..) to any hapless party that happens to wander within his web of influence... but some how we seem to ignore such tactics when it comes to Chongo and consider it a solo!!! Such was and is the affection we feel for the man...


Nose: Mikey and partner were seen around the base of the last pitch at 3:30 pm today and have made a speedy ascent of the 3D. A team of two climbed to camp 4.... sidebar here for those new to super taco... see... there are two camp 4's... one is the campground in the valley over by the lodge and the other is a really lousy ledge 3/5 the way up the nose route. Harding named stopping points (ledges) camps as his style was expedition style like the big mountains ... thus camp this or that... anyway they make camp 4 around 3 and were seen going for the Great Roof so will most likely stay at camp 5 tonight. The Montana girls spent the night on Sickle ledge and were on to the climbing when I arrived but were behind another team of two who must have really started early. The girls are not the fastest and have been aiding most of the climbing that I have seen which makes for very slow going... they are NOT bringing a ledge, against the advice of Cotton Socks Dave and will be paying the price with a late night arrival at Dolt tower. The moon is a little past quarter now so that might give them a little lift.... always nice to see something besides the black abyss! The team just above them are probably on ElCap tower by now to spend the night. Freeblast... continues to have a stream of climbers inching their way up with various baggage in tow... did see a solo guy who was dragging a rope behind him... might be an guy I talked to a few days ago planning on the 3D..I gave him a nice new red shirt to wear as I like to get good shots of solo climbers and I think a bright shirt helps them feel a little more secure in that they are visible. Did see a party of two at the Muir intersection and it looked like they were turning right.


Muir: Rumor has it that Jon Gleason and Brandon from SAR have started the Muir Wall route from the ground as opposed to going up the freeblast to join up on Mammoth terrace as most parties do (I plead guilty to that one myself in 88 with Tucker Teck... why don't we see him anymore? He could at least make a fly-by for old times sake!!) Werner and Greg came by around noon to check on the NA girls and to see if Jon and Brandon had actually started... I think they just wanted to get out of the SAR cache!!


Shield: Well those guys on the shield yesterday who were going to be nice and visible to my Tourons just kept going and going and going... It was blowing a gale up there and they were leading in puffy jackets... reminder to anyone going up on that route in the near future... it is almost ALWAYS COLD UP THERE SO BRING THE WARMEST STUFF YOU HAVE! Anyway they were a pitch below chicken head ledge when I arrived to shoot this morning and were last seen heading off the route this afternoon... very fast!! Where are the people making the 5 and 6 day ascents?... tourons want to know!


Salathe/Free Blast: saw a couple of guys climbing the center section thru the Ear and up the monster crack which they dispatched in good order... they were moving off the spire when last seen... the party of three from yesterday were seen climbing the headwall this morning to Long ledge and off up the exit chimney in late afternoon...


On another note... went down to the Leaning Tower to check on Amee Hinkley and Charley doing the West Face in a push today at the prompting of Dave and Matt who wanted to see how the girl was faring... well there she was leading the pitch above the bolt ladder ... thats like the 8th maybe... and short fixing at that ... so they are well on their way to getting it done... Way to go Amee!! You too Charley!!


Well another day has drawn to a close and I have put the rocker in the back of the van and picked up the odd beer cans and food wrappers... a breezy and warm day in the sun down here on the valley floor. Various luminaries of the Yosemite climbing scene have been seen around the bridge environs today and all is idyllic and as peaceful as those of you who yearn for this beautiful Valley have stored in your finest memories... take care folks and do come by the bridge for some good company and cheer.... Signing off from the center of the Yosemite climbing scene....... and remember to get rid of those old runners, as they are way too old and not worth risking your neck for... ElCap-pics