El Cap Report 09/24/07

ElCap Report 9/24/07
 By Tom Evans
All right! Listen up... it was a madhouse down here at the bridge today. Endless lines of Tourons, all of whom wanted to get an explanation of the entire sport of big wall climbing with no concept of anything to start with. Plus (a good thing) lots of climbers came by including some of the ST regulars who it is always nice to meet... but worst of all was the: 8 PARTIES WHO WERE ON THE NOSE, THE 4 WHO WERE ON THE TRIP, THE 2 ON ZODIAC, PLUS VARIOUS OTHERS ON THE SALATHE, MESCALITO, IRON HAWK.... ETC ETC... I'M DYING HERE!!!! And on top of all that I took a zillion shots today that I have to process on the computer tonight!! But all that said it was a perfectly beautiful day here with solid blue skies and warm temps.. great to be here!!! I am going to leave out the usual lecturing and BS and get right to it.... Todays ElCap report.... this is it!!

Zodiac: The two Austrians were back on the route when I got there and did the 5th and 6th pitches reasonably... the leader on the Black Tower pitch was slow up to the top of the tower and was seen cowering in fear for a time trying to figure out how to stand up there and start the "real" hard part of the pitch... he inched up a ways and took a little whipper just off the tower which seem to bring on a rash of hammer blows he used to assure himself that everything was going to be ok... the lad did finish the pitch and they were both there on the ledge when I departed at 5pm. A solo in a nice little blue number with a nice camelback climbed to the end of the 2nd this afternoon and appeared to be in control of the situation climbing smoothly all the time.
Trip: Well the guys who were on the route yesterday climbed the traverse pitch today and then up to the start of the long corners. They look well organized and were making good progress. Another team with three climbers did the LA start and were at the corner at the start of the 5th pitch when I left. Another team of two was fixing on the regular start and were doing the third pitch when I exited for the day. Another Team of SAR Andy and little Biscuit, Anna, hiked stuff up today and may be able to get a rope up on the 1st even though they got a late start. There is no telling what teams are lurking in the bushes ready to spring on the route at a moments notice.
Iron Hawk: Did see a team on the tree ledge starting the pitch to the roof around 3pm... unfortunately the leader was wielding a long cheater stick half way up the pitch... doesn't bode well for their chances if they are already sticking.
Mescalito: Saw Mutt and Jeff, ie. Lori and Jean fixing to the top of the 4th this afternoon for a start in the morning, maybe.
Ivo Direct: Ivo did stay the night on the ledge two pitches below the top and topped out around 4pm to the sound of monkey calls and my air horn!! Nice job Ivo.. his first solo of ElCap.
DNR: Dave had turned on the afterburners after his mother arrived in the valley with CC cookies last night. He climbed 4 pitches today to top out a few minutes after Ivo... Nice work Dave on some new pitches with good climbing and minimal holes.
Nose: When I arrived this morning the multitudes of Nosers had infested the lower parts of this classic. The Huber’s fought their way through 6 parties to finally break to the front of the pack at the top of the Boot. The Belgians were crawling along and wisely diverted to the Jardine traverse where eventually 4 parties got past them via the king swing. However in a burst of speed they were seen just below their destination of camp 4. Thomas Huber did his normal climbing tension traverse of the king swing without having to run and the parties behind took a lesson from him and went the same way with good results.. a few of the parties were NIADs and made good time with most passing the great roof by the "required" 3pm to make the top comfortably. Lower in the stovelegs a French party was getting to Dolt and moving toward ECtower in the shade of the afternoon. A vast armada of other parties were stretched out along the route below them... too numerous to categorize and I wasn't even looking below the start of the stovelegs!
Salathe: I didn't actually get down to the west side but was able to see a fast party of two climb to the Alcove today and several parties were below them going to Hollow flake and some on the FB with bags too.
In other news... tons of climbers were by today but I will only mention my old friend from back east, John Stannard, who came by with Mighty Hiker to make sure I knew about the party at yellow pines tomorrow to kick off the clean-up... So now I will retreat to my photo processing program and get that done before I fall over into my grave. So that’s the way it is today the 24th day of Sept. 2007.. good night and happy dreams!!!
Signing off... telephoto Tom Evans