ElCap Report 5/23/22

  ElCap Report 5/23/22

By Tom Evans

Yo.. I arrived in Yosemite on Friday 5/20/22 after an 8-hour drive through the night, from my home in SoCal. The drive was difficult on the dark and windy night and by the time I arrived here at 4:05am I was exhausted.  I have been making a slow recovery. The good news is that the weather has been as good as any spring I have been here! Sunny and cool here in the Valley.  There are not a lot of wall climbers here and thus the routes have been the regular ones with a couple of exceptions you will read about below.

The permit system has rendered a huge reduction in Tourons and a new traffic pattern is keeping the traffic moving even on the weekends!  However, AMARK is trying to maximize profits by running very few shuttle buses and people are complaining about long waits at stops… up to an hour in some cases with only two buses running the entire loop.  So be warned and use a bike if you have one. It appears to me that most people are driving around instead of trying to use the buses. Masks are required on buses. Ok… enough system news for now.

As I have reached geezer status now, I will not be writing a lot of reports and the climbers you are interested in may not be on a particular report due to dark clothing (that epidemic continues here) or lack of identification, etc. So, Cubicle Pukes… this is it… you get what you get and your gonna love it anyway! Better yet get the hell out of that cubicle and come to the Valley. The place is deserted so you can climb anything you have a mind to. Or, just hang out in the meadow and enjoy the view and company.

Today's ElCap Report...written just for you... Unique in all the world!


There have been climbers on Zodiac, The Trip/Va, Reticent, Tribal, The Nose, Salathe/Free Rider, Mr Midwest, so you are going to get a lethal dose of trade route shots for a while.

The Nose, is pretty empty these days with little bunches of teams jammed around the ECT and the Great Roof. Traffic is moving right along and today there was only one party from the deck to the Boot this afternoon.

1) Close up of a random climber turning the Great Roof this morning.





























2) Yesterday I got this shot of two teams climbing the notorious pitch into camp 5, site of many big plunges!




























3) This guy hit the King Swing at just the right spot and was quickly across the corner to Eagle Ledge. But notice something was left behind that cost them some time.  We all have made this mistake… he forgot the haul line! This led to some improvisation which eventually worked but was not best practice.





























4) “Hey where is the haul line bro!?”





























5) A new technique for doing the King Swing was tried by this inspired young man… talk about a hand traverse!!


6) A sweet afternoon lead on the famous Pancake Flake.. Nice colors on the leader.



























7) Afternoon found this team climbing off Texas Flake headed to the Boot Flake. They are, leading Cassey Doolittle (her BDay!) and Andrew Pittman






























The Reticent Wall is rarely done as it still has its reputation for being one of the more technical routes.  A two-man team of Ryan Rex and Alex Abrams  made a nice trip up this Gerberding/Stowe classic track.

8) A black blob (Alex Abrams) led the next to last pitch, considered by some to still be the crux but talk around the café is favoring the pitch above Wino these days. When your poop bag looks better than you do a clothing refit is in order! Ryan Rex is somewhere in the pile of bags!





























9) A shot from out west shows the belay on at the end of the last difficult lead on the route.





























10) This team of two is shown finishing off the Slab Pitch, on Tangerine Trip a couple of days ago.





























11)  Team member Pol Figueras, cleaning the Salathe Headwall.  His partner is Nieves Gil aboue out of view.





























Word reached me this morning, while in the café, that Alex Honnold was going to make a run at the “REAL SALATHE” route, free in a day today.  He was supported by one of the best guys we have.. Will Stanhope, who if I recall, among other things, made the second of Houlding’s Prophet. Will jugged and wore the pack up the route and did all those things that make such an endeavor come to fruition. Alex led all the pitches. The REAL SALATHE has only been free climbed 4 times, I think. However, many of those claiming to have free climbed the Salathe, and claimed credit, have in fact skipped the crux of the route by doing the easier Monster Crack in its place. Thus, not a valid claim, although the mags rave about them… not good. They came into my view at the top of the Ear and soon thereafter Honnold took on that pitch. Many have tried that pitch and come away disappointed so I took a particular interest in watching Alex have his shot at it.

12) Here he is passing the first small roof above the Ear. He moved steadily up that section with no apparent difficulty. His footwork was good and it seemingly went with little effort.




























13) The crack here is a flair changing to a thin, straight in, small finger crack. He palmed the right side, jammed a finger in the small crack, used his hip on the left side, and had his left shoe tip smeared on the inner crack and right foot fractioned on the right wall. He proceeded to move along at a measured pace. The difficult parts, the rest of the way up the pitch, were passed without appearing any different than the easier parts and he flashed it with seeming little effort. I had seen many top tier climbers schooled on this pitch, today he was the teacher! Oh yeah!!





























14) He continued up pitches he has climbed many times before and polished off the Enduro Corner to the start of the roof. I turned my camera to some other teams and by the time I came back to him he had climbed the roof pitch to the belay at the lip. Will came up and in short order Alex was on the long, overhanging, headwall pitch. It may not be as technical as the pitch above the ear but it was defended by its position, steepness and length. It is a long, grinding haul up the, not-so-great crack to the small overhang that has produced much air time for those who can get that far. These three shots give you a good idea of the difficulty.




























15) He steadily moved along over bulges and thin seams with spot on footwork and solid hands.




























16) By the time he had arrived at the place in this shot he had to be pretty worked as the next few moves have sent many aspiring climbers into space over that spectacular 3,000ft drop. He had no falls all the way up from the deck and was only a few difficult moves from lessening difficulty and the free ascent… and it was only 2pm in the afternoon. I don’t now when they started in the morning.






























17) The small meadow crew was watching closely, fully confident he would get it done. In a moment… he was gone for a 30 footer. So, he lowered back down to the belay at the roof’s edge and took some time to recover. He soon climbed back up that long, overhanging pitch, and reached the spot where he had fallen a few minutes ago. He actually made the next move and then took the fall you see in the shot below… maybe15 or 20 feet. He stayed there and brought Will up, which signaled the end of the run. He did work the last section over to Long Ledge several times for practice. 





























It was a great show and he looked so solid and confident that I was sure it would be done… but it is not going anywhere so I think we will have the pleasure of seeing it all again sometime.

In other news: Kurt Arend, Weston Brock, and Pete Zabrok are out of sight far out west working on Mr. Midwest and Flying Monkeys. They are so far out west that it is impossible to photograph them from the earth. Fortunately, a Mongolian satellite has picked up their junk show from low earth orbit, so they can at least be seen by someone!

So that’s the way it happened, on this Monday the 23rd day of May, 2022.

Capt. Tom back at the tree… just for you!




Hi from Carderock

Thanks for the photos, Tom! Always think about you and this site is when I go past the green bucket at Carderock

Thanks for the comment.  I am

Thanks for the comment. It is a long way from Carderock to Yosemite but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for what I learned there and at Seneca.  I will be back there some day...Loved the place!


Such a great day!

Hi Tom, it was so fun hanging out on Monday!! We look forward to seeing in the fall!! Take good care until then.
Carol Yvanovich

Thanks it is always great to

Thanks it is always great to have friends in the Meadow... come back soon!!