El Cap Report 09/24/08

ElCap Report 9/24/08
By Tom Evans

OK!!! Here it comes again straight to you from the ElCap Bridge where the sun always shines and the fun never ends. Sweet day… a little warm up on the big stone but quite nice here in the valley. The great rock was swarming with teams and the fall season is now in full swing. Today’s report is brought to you by Jeanette and Jay who were hanging at the bridge today and are soon heading up on the Nose of El Capitan itself, hoping to seal the deal on this uberclassic route. They are psyched and so are the Rodents in residence at the Bridge.
There is a lot to report, and it is late, so I will flash this off like Alex Honnold on the NWFHD!!

So pull out the wheel chocks, fire up the engines, push the throttles to full power and light the afterburners, because you are taking off for the adventure of a lifetime up on the Captain itself…

Eagles Way: Rumors were floating around that a couple of guys were going up on this Upper East Side route to try to do some free climbing. I didn’t see them until Nicki found them up about 7 pitches and doing some good stuff. I have no info on names but they had a couple of bags and were on the route.

Surgeon General: Kristofer Linstrom (sp) is solo on this classic Klaus route. He hauled to the first pitch this morning and then lead the 2nd pitch in the heat of the afternoon. This is a young but determined lad who will learn a lot from this grueling route.

Zodiac: The two person team climbed the Black Tower this morning and by afternoon were headed up into the White Circle. Fast they aren’t, but they are putting the pitches behind them and seem to have things figured out.
The climber on the First Pitch yesterday didn’t show today.

Kaos: Hollyclimber corrected me on the spelling of this routes name. Anyway, Pete was ledged up all day, in charge of the junk show while a red shirted Kate lead the third pitch up a seam of some kind and then off to the right on what appeared to be a hooking fest. It appeared pretty warm over there with little or no wind and Kate hung in there much to the delight of all the Bridge folks who had something easy to see and just as easy to explain to the various Tourons who happened by. You go girl!!

The Ranch: Alec was ledged up when I arrived but after a time broke the belay down and headed upward. He made pretty short work of the next pitch and was cleaning when I departed around 4pm. He is an excellent climber and several of the observing rats who had climbed with him sung his praises.

Atlantus: Rich Copeland and neewbe partner are a few pitches up on this Dave Turner drill fest that goes out of the Alcove and wanders among minute features, wedging nicely between established routes. Second ascent here folks... the lads are climbing almost as slowly as the first ascent. Good luck lads!!

Mescalito: The high team climbed off the Bismarck this morning and by afternoon were climbing higher in the shade. Don’t know much about this team.
The lower team climbed and hauled to the Stork ledge and were heading past the Seagull when I left for the day.
Looking at the stuck bag from Stork ledge Mescalito

The Nose: Well the only folks up there that I know are Steve and Cal who climbed from the Grey Bands and make it to the Great Roof just before the following masses swarming below. Cal led the pitch to the the start of the roof itself and then Steve climbed the roof fast enough to put some separation between them and those below. I last saw them heading to the Glowering spot. Off tonight or in the morning.
Steve and Cal sky-lined on the Nose of ElCap.

There was a team with no bags who I picked up above Dolt Tower. They went left, at the Jardine Traverse, and fell in behind Steve and Cal later in the day.

Another team climbed up from Dolt and went right, over to ECT, and I last saw them heading up the Boot but with bags left on ECT.
High on the route I picked up a German team heading over the top around 3:30pm.
A team of two came over from the 3D, as seen yesterday at Grey Ledge, and fell in line in good order with very nice colors too. With them I saw a team of 4 with full regalia who split off and went to the Muir route. They seemed to be pretty experienced and were working a 4 person system effectively enough to be racking up the pitches.

Lower down? Well I don’t look lower down on this route as it gets ugly sometimes …. who knows what terrors await the uninitiated there?!

Muir: The three man team climbed the upper dihedral to the top of the route late in the day. These guys had their ducks in a row and seemed to be having a good time.

Lower down the 4 man team mentioned above were solidly on the upper third of the route.

Salathe/Freerider: I did see the team that were around Hollow flake yesterday evening climb to ECS and then off the top of it, (ECS) later in the day. Below them was a team of three who climbed the Monster variation later in the afternoon. The leader of that pitch had a sweet red shirt on to make it more interesting for me I am sure!

Higher on the route a solo climber, who I did not see yesterday, took a plunge off the pitch above Long Ledge, with a similar result to that of John Beckwith in the spring. He broke his foot but somehow managed to get to the top of the route and was able to get help. Some SAR folks hiked up to treat and stay with him until he could be flown off later in the morning. Have a speedy recovery mate!!

In other news: Ok folks… we need to talk. While it was warm today, it was not epicingly warm… and yet as I gazed upon the great wall I saw a proliferation of the highly dreaded, and deservingly maligned “White Shirt”! Now… haven’t we gone down this road before? Need I, the commander of the ECBridge itself, need to remind you that White sucks… yes really…. Big time too… so help me out guys… get some color up there. Remember my buddies? RED, Yellow, and Orange? Really nice guys they are too, so bring them along. And you guys with the Black pants on… do you realize that those pants merge with your shadow and make an unrecognizable blob of the lower part of your body in the photos… anything but black!!!! I’m begging now!
We had the official opening ceremonies for the Fall season at the Bridge today. Food and drink were in abundance and lots of people stopped by and hung out, enjoying the food, company and great vistas. It was a good time. Thanks to all who attended!!
The Facelift launched today and it was nice to see trash bag toting people scouring the place in search of trash. But they, I hear, have to be very careful so as not to pick up any pieces of so called “Historic Trash”. This is for real! Some trash is considered to have been lying around so long that it is protected by the National Historic Trash Act of 1986! This trash must be left in place for future generations to see and marvel at. Anyone violating this act will be fined and jailed immediately!
On this note I will finish this trashy report and post it along to you with some pics for your viewing pleasure.
So that’s the way it is for this the 24th day of September 2008. Remember my gentle readers… Trouble rides a fast horse, so watch what trash you pick up!
I’m hitting the sack… So long from the man with the biggest lens in the Valley, 800mm of full pleasure!
ECP’s