|Submitted by Tom Evans on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 01:31|
ElCap Report 10/21/10
By Tom Evans
Yo… the weather held today, in spite of a 40% rain forecast. But it was pretty cool up there and many climbers were bundled in puffy’s at the belays. The action was restricted today, to the Big Three, you know the ones. The weather is supposed to cave in this weekend but be nicer next week. Who knows what will happen here?…could be great… could be shitty. So come along with Old Tom, at his lonely outpost, the deserted Bridge, to share the action, such as it is. UPDATE: The weather has held through the night and the new day is partly cloudy. There may be no ElCap Report for 10/22/10 as the teams from this report climbed off during the night. We will see...
Today’s ElCap Report … written just for you…unique in all the world!
Zodiac: This great route has two parties still bumping butts at the belays, but neither seems to be having a problem with the close proximity. Gill and Wess still have the lead and will most likely finish the route that way. They climbed from the MOZ to the stance near Lunar Ledge this morning and will most likely night on Peanut Ledge. Erik, Richie, and Aaron are coming along behind them with no particular difficulty and usually the leader, mostly Erik, arrives, at the belay, as Gill or Wess lead off. Fortunately, the belay at the top of the Nipple accommodates two teams with no trouble. What will happen at Peanut remains to be seen! UPDATE: I went down to the Cap last night around 9:30 and looked for lights.... the Zodiac had lights on the next to last pitch, so I concluded that both teams were headed for the top and not stopping to bivy. I imagine that Sloan lead the way out as he has done the route many times and would be the fastest climber in both teams. The team of two actually did bivy at Peanut but didn't have lights on when I looked.
Great White Circle on the Caps SE Face. Notice today's teams on the upper part.
Gill and Wess breaking down the, well organized, bivy at the top of the Nipple pitch.
Erik, doing the Nipple hug to reach the bolt at its' tip.
Extra bolts make for happy belays.
Gill finishing the Mark of Zorro pitch, as the Devil's Eyebrow looms nearby.
Mescalito Project: The projecting crew, Tommy, wife Becca, and Kevin, were down working on, what will some day be known as, the "Caldwell dike" should the route go. They have a long rope from above as a top rope. Fun stuff to watch, expecially when he comes off and takes huge swings
Tommy working the dike as Becca and Kevin watch from the portaledge.
Tommy looking for a better way perhaps.
The Nose: The two teams from yesterday, who were also playing tag at the belays, topped out this afternoon. I didn’t get a view of the Grape Race team and don’t have any direct knowledge of their location. Probably a few hours behind the toppers.
Lower down, a couple of Colorado climbers, Buster and Jes, started very early this morning, in hopes of squeezing in a NIAD before any foul weather broke. I picked them up starting the Gray Bands Traverse and watched them climb to Camp 5 by the time I departed around 2:30 this afternoon. They were aiding quite a bit but did a nice free climb of the Pancake Flake, surely one of the best pitches on the planet. It could be very dark by the time they reach the top. I hope the weather holds for them. UPDATE: As of 9:30 last night there were no lights to be seen on the Nose. So that means that they either climbed off before I arrived or they have no lights! I assume the former.
Jes saluting the Captain just below Camp 4 today.
Salathe: Aaron and Sarah climbed from the Spire to Sous le Toit while I watched and should be doing the Headwall by late afternoon. They need to hustle, as the Headwall is no place to be, should the weather get heavy. UPDATE: I saw no lights on or above the headwall last night and assume they got off, or were on Long Ledge for the night.
Sarah cleans gear to Sous le Toit where Aaron has already hauled the kit.
Aquarian: I didn’t see them, but I hear Kate is climbing out and hoofing off and Pete is going to take his part of the kit and rap Lurking Fear. His looks to me to be a daunting task, filled with risk and trickery. However, love or hate the guy, you have to admit that he knows his shit! He will most likely get it done without incident….or maybe not… maybe an epic to end the season!! Sweet!!
The object of our affection.... ElCapitan!
In other news: I had dinner, in the café last night, with Hondo, who has finally shown up from the far north, after some good climbing at Squamish. He is here for a couple of weeks to have some fun before the season closes out. He said Jailhouse may be the ticket, if the weather caves this weekend.
Mark and John, from the recent Shield ascent, stopped by for a time, on their way home. They looked good, but said that from now on … porters would be carrying their kit down from the top of Elcap! South Seas to PO next Spring!
Climbing Ranger Jesse did a drive by this afternoon and was psyched to have collected so much junk from the Nose. Several abandoned ropes were removed as well. I hate to see those old ropes hanging there for months at a time, as it disfigures the route for other climbers.
Well, that’s about all the news I can muster…
So that’s the way it is, on ElCap, for this Thursday, the 21st day of October, 2010.