El Cap Report 09/26/07

ElCap Report 9/26 /07
 By Tom Evans
Yo... Well if you are not here then drop down and give me 20 push-ups!!! So much action on the Captain that a lesser person than I would just throw up their hands and go out into the meadow, get drunk and forget about doing a report!!! But the same tenacity and determination that got me, a very average climber, up 5 ElCap routes over the last 36 years has enabled me to sort through the posers and Tourons and all the BS and still hang here at the bridge ready and able to check out the scene so you can share in the fun and events here in the Glory Hole, the very best place in all of rock climberdom. As I once told the McNeely brothers as they headed off to climb the Cap in their early days.... "Bask in the Glory, Lads, Bask in the Glory". And indeed they eventually did!!! Today was the most perfect climbing day in all of recorded history here in the Valley... the weather was so intoxicating that just breathing the air got you high and you didn't even have to be close to Puff Daddy here at the bridge or have a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff! The wall was bristling with climbing teams eager to reap the rewards of their efforts. So without further fanfare here it comes to you, wafting on the sweetest breeze you ever felt across your cheek... the ElCap Report for today.

.. Zodiac: Seems the Austrian team is actually a German team from near the border of the two countries.. These guys bivied at the Mark of Zorro and were up early and on the route by the time I got there around 9:30am. They climbed well all day arriving at Peanut ledge around 4pm with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day there... off in the morning. At the base the elusive KFC was poised for an early start on a solo speed ascent of the route but after reaching for the first placement on the first pitch noticed that he had somehow left his funkness device in the back of the truck, so of course his fate was sealed right there and the only thing to do was beat a hasty retreat to the Cafe and then buy a half gallon of rocky road ice cream which he devoured while hanging at the bridge with the crew ... Zodiac could wait a day!
Straw: The team of 4 lead by the intrepid Andy Kirkpatrick continued to plow its way up the route today with Andy leading Difficult Direct aid pitches and hauling impossible loads while the 3 women lounged about doing their make-up and chatting about the new Paris Hilton line of handbags! Oh the Humanity!! Lost in America: They are making steady progress at this point on a beautiful section of the wall making for striking photographs in the afternoon light.
The Trip: The two man French team was seen at the top of the bolt ladders early this morning and moved off the route later in the day... they were passed yesterday by the three man team doing it in a push in the best tradition of old school ethics seemingly forgotten by the younger generation fondly known as generation "Duh". Viva la France!
Iron Hawk: Having been out-sticked by the LA team these guys pushed up the "spoon" today and a pitch beyond... they seem to have gained some inspiration by having put the notorious "Knifeblade Traverse" behind them yesterday and are climbing with more confidence now.
PO Wall: Josh and Ian, from Dawn wall fame in the summer and their successful dodge of the so called "Walk of Shame" when they returned to do the route in just 4 days, were caught in the headlights today having bailed from this great Bridwell classic ... but as I assembled the Mariposa High School Marching band at the bridge they miraculously pulled out another daring escape by pointing that they actually bailed from the parking lot and thus were protected under bailing code, section 45.986 which states that a party must actually move a load out of the lot toward the cliff to qualify as bailers and this they didn't to... rats!! I thought I had them!!!
Mescalito: The Croatian team that was adrift for a while really stepped on the gas today and did the Molar traverse and 3 more pitches and even pulled off leaving their bags at the start of the molar and doing two more pitches above before one of them came back down to get the bags lowered out way to the left. He had enough back line to then lower himself out and just have to take a 40ft swing to get back to the belay. Mutt and Jeff departed after a big breakfast at the Cafe this morning and moved onto the route at the not quite alpine starting time of 12pm. They have assembled all the expeditions stuff at the top of pitch three and are on their way into the land of adventure and swollen feet that greets aid climbers on such routes. Go get em girls!!
New Dawn... I looked for the solo today but saw nothing... but it is true that Lay Lady ledge is kind of out of view from the bridge and the corner directly above is easy to get lost in so I have no idea of where this guy might be right now...
Nose: All the teams that were grinding it out from yesterday were seen moving up in good order... the Belgian team with its womenfolk waiting breathlessly at the bridge trying to take control of my telescope and make $$$ by charging Tourons was seen going over the top around 1pm and were later seen at the show this evening. A couple of teams were seen inching their way up the stovelegs and bets were being placed just when they would give it up and bail. The Huber Boys make another training run up the route in a leisurely 5 hours with half and hour spent sunbathing on ECtower. They climbed from the great roof to the top in 45 minutes as they only had 6 parties to pass in the upper dihedral. Don’t these guys ever get tired? 3D.. one of the parties seen on the west side yesterday did come over and get in the parade up the top half of the Nose... seemed to merge fine.
The Shield: Interesting day on this great Charley Porter test piece. The top team in the line, supposedly a Swiss team, climbed the long nutting pitch to the grove this morning and then in the afternoon took on the much maligned so called "Groove" pitch, the scene of many a pair of dirty underwear, and rattled nerves. It "appeared" (we will have to get confirmation from them) that the leader took a 60 footer 3 quarters of the way up the pitch and after recovering his composure continued back up and climbed higher only to take another 60 footer much to the delight of the audience at the bridge! They say that the third time is a charm and indeed it was as he make the end of the pitch as I departed around 5pm. Below them another one of the teams, reported as being over on the west side yesterday, climbed rapidly over the roof and caught up with the lead team late in the day....who are those guys?!
Jolly Roger: EE and Bill climbed up onto the left side of the headwall today past a nasty squeeze chimney and were making steady progress as I left.
Salathe: The team from yesterday who make ECspire were seen climbing past Sous Le Toit and vanished into the afternoon glare and since they were not spotted on the headwall I can assume they were doing Free Rider. Below them a team climbed from hollow flake to the alcove and a couple more were seen heading to the route.
Far West side: I didn't get down there this day but saw the lights of a team over by Never Never Land when I went out to see the wall in the moonlight tonight around 9pm. What a beautiful sight the Cap was in the glow of the full moon tonight.
In other news... The scene at the bridge was really nice today. Mara had the day off and showed up with food and drink and soon some others came bearing gifts too. The weather was perfect and the company was just as fine. Alex and Thomas came by and stayed for quite a time later in the day as did Royal Robbins and Tom Frost. Cedar and Ranon showed up late and Dave Turner and his mom spent some time too as did KFC, little Biscut, and a slue of Euro climbers. The three guys from the push on the Trip sorted gear here and left later in the day. It was really cool to have many generations of climbers hanging out sharing stories and good cheer. Lots of folks came by and it was one of the best days we have ever experienced at the bridge... it was a day we will all remember. Later there was a showing of the Sentinel Film by Tom and Royal that had amazingly large attendance for a Wed. night ... maybe the largest audience of the year at the lodge theater... another show tomorrow night there with Alex and Thomas showing the movie they made last season... should be a great time... also the clean-up is going full guns and there is much good will among the people in green and the climbing community... Ah! if only it would last! Anyway the hour is late and I am tired and I need to recharge my internal batteries for another great day tomorrow. I was able to sell some posters autographed by famous Yosemite climbers after the show and raised $700 for the cause. All in all a day to remember. So that’s the way it is for this day... a wonderful day when you are glad to be a part of a great community of unique folks here in the valley... Sept 26, 2007.
I’m out of here... Tom Evans