El Cap Report 05/23/07

ElCap Report 5/23/07

 By Tom Evans

Yo.... Well here it is ... fresh off the back of a trout swimming upstream from the ElCap Bridge. All the news from the center of the universe of wall climbing... the ElCap Bridge... direct to you from your man on the scene, Telephoto Tom, Ansel Evans, ElCap Tom Ewans, the most famous climber in Japan, ELCap-pics... call me what you want... the dirt is dished here and I report on it all, the good, the bad, the ugly!  So tie in, hang on, and pay attention as I'm only going to type this once! Today started out cloudy and calm and I was thrilled!! This was the best light I've seen on the Captain all year and I melted the shutter on my camera I was taking so many shots.... then around noon the sun came out and that was the end of the excellent light.

Today's ElCap Report:

Zodiac: The solo guy appeared today two pitches below his high point when I start shooting today... I guess Ricardo and Dan must have threatened him as they were now on the pitch into the circle and he was waiting at their bags... did he bail? The two squids from yesterday did the black tower to catch up with Dan and the solo on the ledge before the circle. Then later, as Dan led up the big corner, they started into the circle ahead of the solo. But the solo was not going down... he was just hanging out there... I guess he was letting them pass and decided to spend the idle time on a ledge instead of jammed together with them at a hanging belay... the lad climbed so well yesterday that I cant imaging he is bailing.. more tomorrow.



Tangerine Trip: You might recall from yesterday that there were more men on the first few pitches than the allied forces at the Normandy invasion in WWII!! Well they bailed out quicker than the 82nd Airborne! The sole remaining climber is the well dressed lad who had done the direct start and had gotten ahead of the rest. He was leading the beautiful 5th pitch and seemed to be making up his solo system as he was going along or so said Dave and EriK (Nanook) who were watching through the scope... always easy to make pronouncements from the comfort of the bridge!! Anyway the lad was doing the 6th when I left this afternoon.


Lost in America. Kate and Mike went over the top in the early afternoon and now have the crux of the whole thing facing them... getting all their stuff down the east ledges!


NA Wall: The girls were seen today doing the traverse across the top of the Cyclops eye. Stew and SAR Greg came down later saying that one of them had dropped part of the rack and her specially made trail shoes and that they were going to the base to fetch them. The girls should be off the rock tomorrow late...


Pacific Ocean... Erik spotted a climber on the third pitch who had evaded my scrutiny... who is this guy?


Mescalito: The two guys from the last several reports topped out in mid-day.. got some nice shots of them.. Ottawa Doug hit it early this morning and I watched him do the seagull in fine form and saw him on the next pitch when I left for the afternoon.


Nose/3D:  Several parties were making their way along the top half of the route today with most topping out later in the day... Of course who you really want to hear about is the Montana girls, Ashley and Emily. Well here is their story ... they were going slowly yesterday as you may recall and I figured they would be lucky to make Dolt tower by midnight if they didn’t bail first... the local odds have been running about 60/40 to bail for these ladies. Well when I arrived this morning they were climbing onto ElCap tower!! They didn’t bat an eye and went on to Texas Flake and then the boot flake. The girls looked strong!


Later in the afternoon Ashley went down to do the king swing. Well... they had failed to get the proper beta and things got interesting. By then a large crowd of local climbers, including some of our best had assembled at the bridge and took to watching the event unfold. Ashley started swinging a little high and after a few tries realized that it wasn't working for her so she lowered to the correct spot but didn't run hard enough so was fooled into thinking she was still too high ...so down she went .... way too low. She tried and tried but was always 10 feet short of the corner when her momentum ceased and she was left skating on slick rock. The crowd was getting into it now and time was moving along... if she didn’t do the swing then it was over and they would go down... after a half hour or so she came back up and started again from the correct place.


The crowd started calling up to her and screaming encouragement as she turned and ran for the swing... with each attempt a cheer would rise from the crowd that would turn into groans as she just missed and slipped back again... there was much speculation on the outcome.. finally she swung high up on the right wall and turned and with a kick went racing through the bottom of the great arc and up the other side toward the top of her swing...she pedaled hard but was slowing fast and just missed the crack by inches... from the crowd arose a vast roar of encouragement, resounding around the valley, as she turned and sped back across the face forcing herself far up onto the right wall, faster and higher than ever before, she hit the top and in a moment turned to the left and took off pushing with all the force those tired legs could muster. Down through the arc she ran driving hard with her legs in what was probably her last ditch effort. The crowd was screaming at the top of its lungs as she dove for the crack and grabbed it at the apex of her reach... the crowd went wild!!


In that moment those women went from "Who"? to heroes!! Now they have earned a new respect and it has become a foregone conclusion that these are tough, worthy women would rise to the occasion and would not be stopped on their quest for the ascent of El Capitan... more tomorrow...


Muir. Phil I know you are waiting for a report on your son Jon on this route... well I drove down to the west side and saw them around 4 pm. Jon was leading the pitch above gray ledges and Brandon was at the belay with the bags... they are making good progress and look strong... Rumor has it that a certain pair of very good climbers is off to free the Muir tomorrow over several days... best of luck!


Salathe: A party of three were seen this am going up the hollow flake... look like Europeans from the look of their clothing and their hauling method which is to haul hand over hand... might work as they have 6 arms to work with!!


Well that is it from the epicenter of the center of the climbing universe... I have packed the van and bid farewell to the multitudes who gather here daily... climb sober and I will see you at the bridge...