El Cap Report 10/30/07

ElCap Report 10/30/07

 By Tom Evans

Well... it did pound pretty hard last night but when I arrived at the bridge today all the teams were moving upward with little apparent trouble. They are calling for severely sunny skies for a while so it is still on if you are still on it! Today’s ElCap Report is brought to you by Ted, of recent ZM fame who stopped by early in the afternoon with the Last Beers of The Season!! Thanks Bro!!

Today’s ECR... Zodiac: The two guys who have been working their way up the route were just about to top out when I left around 2pm. They flagged that purple/blue double ledge for the entire climb so were always an easy find for the Tourons to see... thanks guys... hope you enjoyed the route... see me for pics! Lower Down: Team Norwegian gave it up and had vanished from the route by this morning.. Heard their leader took an 80 footer on the "direct start" .. Karma lads, Karma. Should have done the "Real start"! Even lower down: My man Gene was not to be seen today and his truck was gone from the line up.... But... his rope is still fixed and that means the spirit is still burning within the man... will we see him again? Yes we will... he says he just came down for the storm and will be going back and in peace since I am leaving... best of luck Bro!!!

Trip: The three guys from yesterday have also vanished making this so called "easy trade route" fall into the 80% bail rate... the highest of the fall... Way to hang tough Tangerine Trip!!!

Nose: Empty

Free Rider: Greg got a call from Jon Gleason last night from the Block, which wasn't the most fun place to stay in the rain... he reported they were fine. This morning I shot Dana climbing above Sus Le Toit and still going free... so just maybe they will get a free ascent... saw them go around the corner below the Salathe roof around 1:30 and still looking strong... Team Lucho got hit by the first rain shower while still on the route yesterday afternoon and then were pounded on top by the night rains.. but they showed up in good spirits this morning none the worse for wear... turns out that his mystery partner was one Holly Beck... nice climb in just 3 days! Lucho had it going free for a long time but ran out of juju on the so called Boulder problem... still had a great run at it!

Golden Gate: As I guessed young Alex and Chris scurried back to the Alcove when the weather went south and I saw them drying out stuff and sunning on the east side of ECS this morning.. couldn't surmise their plans... So it seems with the Zodiac guys getting off now and Jon/Dana off late today or early tomorrow, and no one else getting on anything that the season has drawn to a close... save of course Gene and Alex/Chris... I'm calling it as done, even though there will be some more climbs done... I'm finished! It was a great fall to spend in Yosemite... we had some great weather and some great ascents...

 Here are a few of the highlights of the Fall season..

1) Aaron Jones aka KFC had a great season climbing the Cap more than most people do in a lifetime... he soloed Zodiac in a little over 12 hours, climbed it with lance in 8.5 hours. Early on he soloed Tempest and made several other EC pushes and Half dome climbs too.. the man is at the forefront of the younger generation of Wall climbers at just 21 years of age.

2) Alex Honnold.. this guy came out of nowhere and did solo climbs of Astroman and the Rostrum in the time it takes most parties to do nutcracker. On the Cap he freed Free Rider, Salathe with monster variation with no falls.. he also climbed in support of friends on several routes and is another of the younger generation and has established himself as a leading free climber on the Cap.

3) Dave Turner did another EC solo first ascent when he climbed directly to the pitch after the long sideways bolt ladder on WEML, from the start of Mescalito with surprisingly few holes drilled, calling the route Dawn Direct.

 4) Ivo Ninov did what I call the "Super Direct SE Face to the Diving board link up" as his first solo of the Cap and a short time later was on the PO Wall with the Everest Rock Climbing Team of Conrad Anker (an old Yos. vet for sure) and David Hahn along with Jimmy Chin on the camera.. Then he pulled off his best move of the season with a sweet EC Meadow party. The man is still psyched!!

5) Ammon McNeeley stepped up and soloed Surgeon General and got the prize for the most difficult send of the season...

6) Aussies Lee and Lawrence went on a tear doing Free Rider, El Nino, Golden Gate just to name the big boys they were on ...

7) Lori and Jean racked up an ascent of Mescalito which was a step up for both of them, climbing with skill and determination... a proud send for the ladies...

8) Dan O and BW Kate knocked off the Reticent in a smooth ascent of this modern classic..

9) Quite a few teams did Free Rider this season and for a time it was the most popular route on the rock!

10) The Croatian girls showed us how to look good and have fun on the Nose route... thanks for the photo ops girls!

11) OK Tony and CO Kevin teamed up for a NIAD with Tony just flying in on a cheap ticket and leaving right after the climb... some weekend!!

12) I would be remiss if I didnt mention Holly Beck, who climbed the Cap numerous times this fall and was always eager to go whenever the opportunity presented itself... congrats on a fine season!

13) Ted and Kevin stepped up their level of climbing and pulled off a nice ascent of Zenyatta Mondatta last week...

14) NIADs were too frequent to keep track of this season... congrats to climbers doing the classic Nose in the best of style!

15) Stanley and Martina worked on several of EC's big free routes with some success too.

16) The Timmy O'Neill road show rolled through doing its usual thing of fun climbing and laughing all the way up..

17) Sharon Darke and Andy Kirkpatrick, accompanied by the two Aussie girls did Zodiac for paraplegic Sharon’s, first time up the rock. Nice effort all around.

18) SAR pulled another climber off the Nose in a difficult rescue from Camp 5 at night... always ready!

19) The French woman showed us how to look classy while doing the Shield ... Looking great leads to climbing great!!

20) Eric and Bills ascent of Jolly Roger has produced some stunning and inspiring photos to keep all of us stoked over the long winter..

21) Although not a climb... the Facelift, conceived and executed by the MAN, Ken Yeager, was a big highlight of the season. Kudos to all who participated!!

22) Saving the Best for Last... Alex and Thomas Huber, through hard work and persistence, climbed the Nose route in the record time of 2 hours 45 minutes 45 seconds, much to the delight of the many who watched and cheered them on over the past couple of years working on the route.... Kudos must also go to Hans and Yugi, as many of us didn't really understand how great their record of 2 hours 48 minutes 50 seconds really was...

The above list is just off the top of my head and is in no particular order...I have certainly missed some commendable climbs as my memory is not the sharpest these days and if I failed to mention your climb then it is not purposefully. I photograph a lot of climbers who are just regular folks, in fact that is what I really do the most of... they are not the big names and are not on the biggest climbs... but in their own way they are my heros because they have dreamed the impossible dreams and have come out and accomplished them... they will go home without the fanfare of the Hubers or some of the famous climbers and yet theirs will be some of the best, most life altering climbs... to all of you I give my best salute!! You are the spirit of Yosemite that will never die as long as there are climbers daring to dream their dreams... For me it has been an honor to watch and photograph all of you... this year, spring and fall I shot over 12,000 pics of you guys and gals and it has been a ball!!

So that’s the way it is for this the 30th day of October 2007, the last day of the fall season for me... See you in the spring if all goes well... Take care and be safe!

Tom Evans signing off...