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|Submitted by Tom Evans on Fri, 01/02/2015 - 16:55|
ElCap Report 1/1/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 6
Brought to you by "Adidas Outdoor"
By Tom Evans
Yo.. Beautiful day on ElCap after several difficult days of wind and cold. It was almost warm in the sun today… but the long shadow of Middle Cathedral Rock soon dispelled that myth! The guys had a big day today sending two difficult pitches of 13c and 14d. If you come to watch them, be aware that they don’t climb until past noon. Not because the conditions are better but because of logistical reasons. Tommy and Kevin are responsible for the safety of the photographers so they spend considerable time arranging ropes and belays to keep everyone safe.
Also we have no clue to the horrendous logistics involved in keeping everyone fed, watered, safe, and bedded down. This is an effort that can only be compared to Harding’s original Nose climb! While Harding’s major problem was with climbing equipment and supply, this team has the equipment and people willing to help with supplies, but their problem is their bodies. The question is … can these men keep their bodies from disintegrating over the long span of the climb? Their fingers are so worn that they have tape on their tips now, as the skin is gone, and yet they continue. They daily climb pitches which, if were placed on the ground, and were one pitch high, would defeat most climbers, even if they had all the time they needed to work the pitch! Tommy and Kevin send these extreme pitches on sight or with 2 or fewer tries! But he thing the two climbs most have in common is the determination and tenacity of the men involved. I am in awe just photographing these men every day!
Today’s ElCap Report…written just for you..unique in all the world!
1) Look carefully at the very center of the shot and you can barely make out “The Camp”. Notice the dark rock feature on the right third of the shot. If you are a climber you know this as the "North America Wall" which is commonly called "The NA Wall." First climbed in 1964 it was, for many years, considered the "hardest rock climb in the world". In 1992 I bailed off it after only one pitch... surely had the ElCap Report existed I would have gotten "Bail of the Day!"
2) All day long people came and went, watching the climb. Many came to stand and watch in the sunlit meadow, and a lot less in the cold of the deep shadows, later in the day!
3) Tommy and Kevin sorting gear at The Camp.
4) Tommy going up to set lines for the photographers.
5) Tommy sending the crux moves on the short but difficult 13th pitch this afternoon. 13c ain’t no walk in the park, son!
6) Kevin climbing the 13th pitch.
7) Kevin higher up. Both of the men free climbed this pitch and moved on to the big dike, aka "Tan Band", looming above.
8) If you think photographers are whimps, just spend the day with this one, hanging for hours in the cold of space, miles above the ground! The white rope was stretched from the ground so the photographers could “get away” from the climbers for a better view… like the ones I get from the deck!! Ha!
9) By the time they got climbing on the 14th pitch, one of the most difficult of the route, the sun had gone from the face and darkness was at hand. 14d ..look and weep! Kevin made a go at it first and did well until gravity overtook him half way out.. then Tommy, seen here, gave it a go and fell not much further along. Here he is working along checking out the moves.
10) Great climbers all have one thing in common… great footwork.
11) Wow! Notice the tic marks (chalk “V’s”) that Kevin put on the pitch earlier in the day. This ticing is part of prepping the most difficult pitches as they don’t have time or strength to find all the minute holds they will use while sending. The rain will wash these away soon enough. Footwork dude, footwork!
Rock and Ice is running short videos about the climb, sponsored by Adidas Outdoor. Here is the link!
12) Some people have asked about the “Twin Towers,” recently named, on the upper, east side. I named these in honor of the many people lost and injured on 9/11/2001 and in subsequent wars. You see them in this shot.
In other news: Many locals, and several big name climbers, came by today to watch the difficult climbing. Nice to have a meadow crew to chat with and share the dream! The feeling has spread that this is going to be the time that this, seemingly impossible route, is going to be done. Already much speculation is forthcoming about when the second ascent will be made!! The common conclusion is that it will be many decades in coming as the logistics alone are enough to dispel any such ambitions. We will have to wait until climbing has advanced to such a level that the entire climb can be done in 3 to 5 days, by a party of two.
The Harding ascent of the Nose was a similar situation. Had Harding waited just 4 years to start the climb he would have had the advantage that the second ascent had… the full, modern pin rack. Well, Tommy and Kevin’s climb will have to wait for man himself to advance in strength and talent, and not protection technology. I most likely will not be around to see it happen… hopefully you will!
So that’s the way it is, for this first day of the new year, 2015. May you and your loved ones have a wonderful year, full of challenges and success!
Capt. Tom… signing off… from the Ice House.