El Cap Report 10/21/08

ElCap Report 10/21/08

By Tom Evans

Yo... I will let the photos speak for themselves today and not admonish you for not being here. The weather looks solid for at least a week and the climbers are responding by going up on the big stone. Today's report is brought to you by El Capitan. The rock we love to love. While religious leaders may claim to speak to and for God, I DO speak to and for ElCap. He tells me that he is getting pretty fed up with all the human excretions on his sides. He is also unhappy about having excess holes punched into him. He wants us to show a little more R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and not use him to do foolish things to ourselves and our fellow humans. The Captain is pro-climbing and wants only the best for us but wants us to want only the best for him too. So thanks to our Captain for all he allows us to do...

Today's Report, right now...

Pressure Cooker: I admit that I don't know the route as this is only the 4th ascent we are seeing now. I thought that the lads were finished with the route and on the Water Fall Route but that is not the case as Alik lead a pretty serious roof pitch this afternoon that would have disastrous consequences had he fallen off and hit the slab below. The guys hung in there and are nearing the top, and should be off tomorrow.

Moving off the bivy. Nicki lead the first pitch of the day.


Alik on the dangerous roof pitch, giving the ElCap salute too.


Zodiac: Busy, Busy, this old Porter route. In the lead today was the push team of Lambone, James and Charley. They started at 3am and I picked them up in the morning around the BT pitch. The center section belongs to Matt (Lambone) and he moved along smartly all day doing the meat of the route. James lead the first 6 in the dark mostly and Charley has the last 5 which are going down as I write these lines. They look to be a good bet to get a one day ascent.

Lambone pushing it onto the White Circle


James jugging and Charlie cleaning in the white circle


Below them is Althea, the woman solo climber who did the Harding route on the LT as her only wall solo in prep for this climb. She climbed the 3rd as I watched this morning and afternoon and was off on the 4th as I left a little late today. I don't think she has any quit in her and, formerly famous, Emily says there will be no backing off for this little lady. You go girl!! Put on a shirt, your shoulders are getting torched!!

Althea finishing the 3rd on Zodiac


Just starting today is the team of Kevin (part of the 3 man team on the Trip last week, two of whom are above him on the push) and his friend Sarah, who I gather is a relative newbee to this level of climbing. They blasted right off the ground this morning on the regular start and not that @#%&*#@ direct start.

The Trip: Andy and Jacob spent the night on the ground and jugged to the start of 5 this morning. Andy lead this pitch, the best of the route in many minds. There is no shortage of freight in this party but the lads are young and strong enough to move it up the cliff. They were dusting off the 6th when I left.

The Nose: The stylish Swedish woman, sporting her red long sleeved shirt, continued to lead today and dusted off the Great Roof and Pancake Flake. Her partner was leading the pitch to Camp 5 as I left.

Swedish woman leading the Great Roof


Calling for gear, Pancake Flake


Lower down there were a couple of teams in the Stove Legs who were not setting any records for speed. Around Sickle there seemed to be various teams jockying for position to start the day tomorrow. Muir: Josh and Kevin (?) make it to the start of the good climbing above the Gray Bands this afternoon and are in for some sweet, high quality pitches of climbing above. Enjoy!!

Golden Gate: There is a team up there working the pitches high on the route. I assume they came in from the top and have stuff stored at the big ledge below the Golden Desert pitch.

Salathe/Free Rider: The slow team from yesterday bailed from ECS this morning as a team of 3 was coming up from Hollow Flake. These guys had the freight to be on a serious attempt on what I suppose is Free Rider. They went to the Monster Crack and were up in good order. Dihedral: I did see the guys heading to Thanksgiving ledge this morning and didn't see them in the afternoon... guess they are off...

Octopussy: That two man team I thought I saw bailing yesterday were not bailing but going upward. They aren't burning up the route but are on it and going for it.

Leading off the Belay Octopussy


In other News: The trees are looking quite beautiful now and fall is in full bloom. It is a pleasure just to sit and look at the beauty. Fall is my favorite time of year and I suppose one of the reasons is that it is so fleeting. While it is as long as any other season, its beauty quickly rises and fades in just a few weeks. In a way it is like a sunset... so beautiful and yet so brief, so we treasure it all the more. Winter is not far behind so the warm, crisp, clear days are all the more valuable. So enjoy these few days my friends for you will not see the like of them for another year. As you get along in years, like I have, you will know that many more have passed than await you, so each one is that much more special now. So come on out and share these last few splendid days of beauty with me

. Dogwood leaves


Maple leaves and Sentinel Rx


Merced river bank at Valley view


River view of Leaning Tower and Cathedral Rxs


So that's the way it is for this the 21st day of October 2008.

Remember, if you are not here, then you are there.