ElCap Report 5/23/09

ElCap Report 5/23/09
By Tom Evans
Yo…. Whoa!!  Really great weather today with sunny skies and cool breezes.  Lots of action up on the Big Stone with most of it on the Nose and Salathe.  Yeah I know, tell you something you don’t already know!!  The traffic today was as to be expected with huge lines of cars trying to get out of the park late in the day.  The shuttle was bringing the Tourons as fast as it could drive the loop.  Lots of people looking through the scope today but not many climbers in evidence.  Maybe everyone went climbing?!!  There were some high clouds building up behind the Dome but that’s not unusual. 
The action on the rock is picking up now, so you pukes and punters need to get it together and make some plans to take advantage of the fine late spring weather!  So lock yourself in the garage, turn up the tunes, settle down on that smelly old sofa and get your laptop cranking because you are one of the lucky people who know about the ECR and get to live the good life, if only vicariously!

Today’s ElCap Report is brought to you by Chandly (last name, Harrold?) who happened by today with his beautiful family and didn’t even know the scene at the Bridge existed.  I last saw him the day he was married, years ago.  He was, and I assume, still is, one hell of a climber that I enjoyed shooting, in the company of Jim Herson, back in the days when they were the terrors of the Salathe Wall.
Today’s ElCap Report… written just to keep you in the loop and away from the depression that all cubicle pukes eventually succumb to!

Zodiac:  This morning I saw a team, Chris and Justin from Palo Alto, blast right off the ground, dressed to the nines, and sweep right up the lower part of the route.  Looked like it might be SAR Andy but I later heard he bailed.  Now these guys not only climb like big wall dudes but dress the part too… take notice folks!!!
1)  This is how a team of EC climbers should look!!



























Trip:  This team started yesterday right off the deck and has put on a clinic thus far!  Unfortunately the sharp yellow shirt one guy had on yesterday has strangely disappeared and some earth-tone number has shown up in its place.  Deduct 12 style points from this teams overall score… not good, not good at all!  Hell, these guys might be off tomorrow!
2)  First light on the Trip.


























Mescalito:  Well lets see…  mmmm… these guys have never shown any speed even though they don’t have appeared to have make any blunders.  They are smooth and steady and that’s it.  I hope they have the water needed to make it.  They are tenacious to a fault and their rate of progress seems not to have phased them at all.  A good lesson here… don’t fall in love with the plan… if you aren’t making the marks you have set then change the marks!!  I don’t know who they are or how much experience they have but they will have a hell of a lot more by next Monday!!  I last saw them doing the crux pitch, number 15 I think it is, in their steady style.

New Dawn:  Piton Pete and friend Scott have a couple fixed on this route and plan one of Pete’s endurance contests. 

Tribal Rite:  Ian and Pierre pulled in the line up and sorted gear this morning and by afternoon were off to fix three on the rt. side of ECT so as to vault ahead of Pete and Scott.  Good idea.  This is a strong team with much experience.  You may recall that Ian and Josh did New Dawn last year in just 4 days, I will have to shoot at a high speed so as not to blur the images!!

The Nose:  Everyone on this route is above the Grey bands now including a team that blitzed over via the 3D last evening.  I did see a team go over the top and a couple of others high in the dihedrals who will finish today no doubt.  There are a couple of teams plodding along in the Bands after their bivy on ECT.
Nose aspirants… get on now.  The weather is solid, the route is open, where the hell are you?!



The Shield:  The Blue Mountain Boys are pushing it up the wall at a good clip and are making the Aussie readers proud!  I got some sweet shots of them this morning and all through the day they were the focus of countless Tourons.
3)  Waiting it out high on the Shield, SW Face of El Capitan




























4)  Catching the sun above the Groove Pitch, Shield Route.




























Golden Gate:  In an abrupt change of plans, it seems that the lads have taken a rest day and were seen lounging on the big ledge several pitches from the top.  Off tomorrow?  They seem to be sending but it is hard to tell.  Mason seems to be the man with the plan and the skill to get it done, although Clay, aka Dude #1, is no slouch when it comes to cranking hard, high on the Big Stone.

Salathe:  Alex Honnold and friend Loren (?) were up working on the headwall today in preparation  for a one day free ascent via the Monster variation soon.
6)  Alex Honnold running laps on the Salathe Headwall.




























Other parties on the route include a group of 4 split into two parties who are going for the FreeRider.  They were seen around the vicinity of the Block later in the day.  I did see a team of two climb to the roof as Alex was finishing his workout in the early afternoon.  They passed onto the headwall and were headed to Long Ledge when I left.

Lurking Fear:  I did glance up at the route as I drove past the west end of the ECM and into the woods late in the afternoon.  I think I saw a team of two around the Window Pane Flake pitch.

In other news:  There isn’t much other news today.  Rumors of a party on Tempest are unfounded as I think it arose from a replacement of the rope on the Alcove Swing a few days ago.  There is an 80 meter rope up now which makes for some serious swings and the swingers have shown up in droves to have a go at it!  Also a rumor about a team on the Dihedral has proven incorrect too…
As I am finishing typing these words, trapped by the traffic over here at Huff community center, it is half past 7 and the traffic is still bumper to bumper with the sound of distant horns blowing in the evening breeze.  Be glad, very glad you are not here!
So that’s the way it is for this the 23rd day of May 2009.
Take care,
Telescope Tom

The trip team (Brendan Harris

The trip team (Brendan Harris and Ted the Sled) switched back over to the bright yellow today (sunday) and topped out. Any chance I could get back 6 or so of those style points?? As always, your the man. Great pictures.

Thanks for the photos and the reports!!!

It is raining non-stop in the east these days....so enjoy the sun on El Cap and at the Bridge! Thank you Tom for the connection to the Valley!!!


Amazing photos!

Greetings to armin from germany

Hey Tom, please send my best greetings from sebastian to armin, the gentle german guy, sure you still met him. please keep an eye on him when he is doing lurking fear next week, we all want to seee how its going on...
Tell him he shall not drop stones any more! Sebastian

Yo Tom! Nice Site! New

Yo Tom! Nice Site! New Equipment? Seems like yur shots are looking sharper and closer up! Keep up the slander and shooting. Greetings from Brazil...see you mid June if you are still around! Cedar.

Zodiac duo

Those sharp looking lads would be Chris McG. and Justin B. They've sworn off hauling in the past (even when they did The Nose) so this will be their first time dealing with those pigs :)


2 for the nose?

Dan and Brian from Bishop headed down to the ditch yesterday. I think they were planning on jumping on the Cap today, but may have gone for a later start yesterday.
Wouldn't swear to the route though.
They did mention however Tom that they would disappoint you with their white shirts.
We all got a chuckle over that at the TPR lunch counter.

It's always fun to visit here and see what's up on the big stone.


Pics of Shield, story of Mescalito......

Kepp it coming!



the goods!

Always the Man, Mr. Evans.

shielld shots

that first shot of the shield is what keeps the stoke alive!

Mescalito Duo

Tom, Thanks so much for the play calls. I'll keep tuning in to see how Ben and Rick are doing on Mescalito. Here's some background as decoration for your story. You have indicated that these fellows are making slow progress.
I know Ben packed in enough supplies for an extended stay on the wall. 14 Gallons of water and provisions enough to avoid a YV flu epidemic, likely to include one if not two huge batches of cookies homemade by his wife (This ritual dramatically improved Ben's social abilities with hungry climbers). They may be stalling on the route hoping for another party to socialize with, share baked goods, offload some supplies and develop goodwill on the wall. Have you ever stocked your pack or vehicle with enough supplies for donation to that streetcorner, jobless, homeless soul at the city stoplight...but the moment you're ready to give, that hungry person goes AWOL? Well, that's the feeling up there right now. These guys just want to make some friends. Hopefully there will soon be a party nearby, if not behind them, maybe on New Dawn (that would be close enough to pass some fiesta supplies).
From past experience, I know Ben is freakishly efficient on H2O needs, a camel of a man. Furthermore, he has a pregnant wife at home who has so very generously issued a huge 'green light' for this long awaited route. These guys may savor their wall time much more than the average, modern crew. Lesson learned: slow down, sip the rock and care for those around you.
Again, Tom, Thank You for the words and the excellent photos. I look forward to meeting you.
Sincerely, Dan

Thank You

Thank You
Thank You

Thanks for the ever amazing

Thanks for the ever amazing photos tom. I really like the shot you got of the two guys on the trip. Happy day,