ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/17

ElCap Report 10/26 to 31/2017

By Tom Evans

Yo… The great fall weather held up to the end of the season. The hallmarks of the season were the huge rockfalls of late September, early October, and death and injury as you have read in previous ElCap Reports.  However, along with tragedy came the triumphs of climbers who fulfilled long held ambitions and dreams.  Lots of free climbs were attempted on ElCap as a wave of European climbers swarmed over the great rock.  We also got to watch some, rarely done, wall style climbs too. This is the last report of the fall season.  Remember to let me know who the climbers are in the shots, if they are not identified, so I can put their names with their shots.  I received word (11/15/17) that Keita Kurahami who worked the Nose this fall did make a free ascent!  Congratualtions! 

Today’s ElCap Report..written just for you..unique in all the world!

1)  On the Nose, Kim Schreiber is seen leading the notorious pitch into Camp 5, as Cris Valerio tends the belay.  This is the first time these women climbed ElCap, after long preparation and practice on other routes.





























2)  Ok ..here is a tip for NIAD climbers.  If you are both doing the King Swing have the leader, on Eagle Ledge, take in all the extra rope after doing the swing.  That way he/she will have all that rope to throw over the corner to the second, who is usually burdened with a pack and will find getting over the corner particularly difficult.  So, the guy hanging on in this shot, has all that rope uselessly hanging from him, while his partner, taking photos here, could have just tossed it over to him so he could quickly yard past the corner.  We see very few climbers, with packs, make it over the corner without help from their partner on Eagle Ledge.  OK?































3)  This climber is on the pitch above the Ear on the original Salathe Wall route.  This pitch is the one most climbers, who claimed to have climbed the route free, have avoided in favor of the much easier Monster Crack, on the left.




























4)  Salathe Headwall with climbers high on the route.






























5)  This pitch is usually not lit well enough to photograph a climber on it. What pitch is it, on what route?






























6)  Golden Gate had three teams on it at one time this season.  Here Alexandra Schweikart is climbing the Chickenwing pitch while partner Chris Igel belays. Love the pants!






























7)  Next morning saw another team moving up behind Alex and Chris.






























8)  On Golden Gate, Chris is giving the old “ElCap Salute” peering into the shade above, to spot the line on the A5 traverse pitch.  The hot temps were enough to turn back all attempts to free this route.





























9)  Seen here, near the end of the Virginia start to the Trip, this mixed team from Hungary, Eniko and Oszkar, avoided the regular start.  The regular second pitch has some ready to fall blocks on it and all climbers are advised stay clear of it until further notice.































10)  The mixed team mentioned above finished the trip after several days.  Here they are at the end of the route.






























11)  Vanessa Kirkpatrick is seen here leading the pitch up to the Molar Traverse on Mescalito.






























12)  Here Andy Kirkpatrick is dusting off the Molar Pendulum on Mescalito, while Vanessa runs the belay.





























13)  While the entire Dawn Wall normally looks pretty flat, in actuality there are many features spread about, as seen here on Mescalito where Vanessa is belaying.






























14)  Vanessa starting the last pitch on Mescalito.






























15)  El Nino got some serious attention this season.  Here Nina Caprez is seen on the lower part of the route.  She really looked good on the route and ended up sending it!!  Congratulations are in order for sure!































16)  A Swedish team climbed El Nino at the same time as Nina’s team but a pitch or two above.  Here Stefan is starting the pitch to the Black Dihedral, while Alexey belays.  Amazing how featured the rock is there.





























17)  The spectacular action occurred climbing out of the Black Cave.  The Swedes gave it a good go but hung a bit at the lip. Alexey climbing while Stefan belays.






























18)  From what I could tell Nina flashed the roof pitch!




























19)  In this shot, down low on the Nose, this powerful woman led her team toward the Stovelegs.






























20)  Mystery shot… what route, where?








21)  El Corazon and Magic Mushroom had some suitors late in October.  I left before their climbs were completed.






























22)  Magic Mushroom team getting to the business. Barbara Zanger and Jacopo Larcher did send the route in Nov.  Only the second free ascent of this route!  Yes, that is the Shield Roof on the right edge of the shot.






























23)  Salathe headwall team.  The ledge hung there for a week or more… a drop in team left it open most of the time… even when they were not there… bad form people… at least encase it.































24)  The famous and infamous in the meadow.





























25)  Funny thing… when I miss fall in Yosemite I always think of the Southside Drive …driving through the tunnel of fall colors.






























26)  I also miss the quiet, crisp days in the ElCap Meadow… but hope to return next fall to enjoy those great days again.





























27)  Niels Tistze.  I learned (11/18/17) that Niels has died in a rappelling accident on Fifi Buttress, in Yosemite.  This is a big blow to our community.  Niels was on YOSAR for several years and played an important part in many rescues.  He was also a person of exceptional strength and character.  He was an amazing climber and a solid friend to many of us.  More sad times ... . our hearts go out to his family and many friends who loved him.
























In other news:  Quinn is making a strong recovery after her horrible fall from Boot Flake, but has a long journey ahead.  We all wish her the very best. 

Actually, the fall season is still on as several teams are working on free projects and wall climbs too.  Springtime logistics, in the valley, are very difficult for me and unless things change, I do not plan to return for the spring season in the future.

I hope you all have a great winter and continue to safely strive to reach your goals.

#5) The Halfdollar, Salathe route.    #20  Top of Changing Corners, Nose route.

So that’s the way it is, on this last day of October, 2017.

Capt. Tom… Later…




Hi Tom
You might remember me. Met you and the meadow folk down there on October 30th. Fascinating insights and great people. Amazing memories. Thanks for being so accommodating. The blog is a gift.
Gareth (the Irish guy...)


Thanks for the amazing photos and little stories.

Thanks Tom!

Another great season of reporting for those of us who could not be there.