ElCap Report 6/17/12

ElCap Report 6/17/12

By Tom Evans

Yo… getting really warm these days. The result is that some of the teams have put off blasting a day or so, hoping for some relief or at least some wind. Big day here in the Valley and I have had to do a lot of work to get this report ready to go. I will not post pics of the other teams in this report but will try to catch up on the other parties shots tomorrow. Bigs go big today! Read all about it below!

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

Zodiac: The Oregon boys climbed from the Devil’s Brow to Peanut Ledge while I was there today. They are doing well and should top out tomorrow in the early afternoon.

Below the Solo climber, an Austrian I am told, let the Oregon boys pass late yesterday but continued to move right along today. He climbed the MOZ and was working the next pitch this afternoon.

The mixed team from lower down yesterday bailed.

Shortest Straw: Mark Hudon and Cheyne Lempe fixed and hauled some kit this afternoon in very warm conditions.

Mescalito: Dan and John climbed above the nasty 5.9 chimney pitch this morning and were working the middle of the route as I departed.

Lower down Dan, Pete, and Steve climbed to the end of the 9th pitch and were heading to the Molar this afternoon.

Lower down yet.. The Spray Brothers, Mike and Aaron, blasted today with two pitches fixed. We sure hope they send the route as the crew would love to hear some new stories from the lads!

New Dawn: Pete, P.J. and Sayar carried kit and fixed on the route today.

 ND to Tribal:  Adam and Jordan are blasting in the morning.

Nose: The team of three from the past several days topped out around 1pm today. Lower down a team of 2, who climbed last night, was seen climbing above the Great Roof this morning.

Salathe: The team of two from the past several days climbed over the Roof and were headed to Long Ledge for the night.


I got up real early, as the day was predicted to be a hot one, and motored down to ElCap at about 5:30am. Fortunately for the climbers and unfortunately for me, they planned to climb completely in the shade for the entire route. That made photography difficult but I figured I could take a stab at it and maybe get lucky with some good shots.

The place was already filling up with spectators hoping to be on hand to watch a new record set on the Nose. They were not to be disappointed! Alex and Hans started at 5:52am as noted by the cheers of a couple dozen of the people who had walked to the base with them.
























1)  Lots of spectators were in evidence to watch the “Greatest spectacle in American sports” unfold.



It was soon evident that the men were hitting all the places at all the right times. No stuck ropes, no dropped gear, everything spot on.



























2)  Hans climbing in his usual smooth and fluid style in the Stovelegs.





























3)  Alex followed along a ways below Hans while managing the belay system they were to trust their lives to. Seems like some loops over the shoulder were key to the system!?





























4)  Hans was soon close to Dolt Tower and short fixed Alex.




























5)  Hans climbed over the tower and made the run to ElCap Tower with scant protection.





























6)  In what seemed like no time at all, they were at the Boot and setting up for the King Swing.


























7)  Hans did the swing first and was closely followed by Alex. They both nailed it and the crowd sent up a hardy cheer.





























8)  Alex took the lead and crossed the Lynn Hill Traverse in cruise mode.





























9)  They were soon on the Great Roof, passing a party who waited to see them pass by. Alex looked strong on the Roof and soon short fixed Hans and continued in the lead.




























10)  Alex climbed Pancake Flake with ease, placing only one piece of gear before the 11C upper part. He walked up that part as Hans jugged past the roof.





























11)  The crowd was getting into it now as it appeared that things were going perfectly for the climbers. Alex lead the awkward 10c entrance into Camp 5 with miles of slack below him. It was impressive to say the least.





























13)  Soon Alex was leading the last pitch as the crowd went wild. We all knew by then that, baring some major screw up, they had the record and it was just a matter of by how much. Hans followed on the last pitch as Alex belayed him from the tree at the top. Hans had worked all winter for this moment and he did not fall short of his goal. In about 5 minutes he did that pitch and was on top!






























14)  They radioed down the time and came to the edge to wave at the crowd.

The official time was 2 hours, 23 minutes, 46 seconds. 13 minutes better than the previous record! We were all really pleased and felt lucky to have been here to see the event unfold.





























15)  Alex and Hans came by the Bridge and hung out, talking to the people there.

I had a shot taken with them as I take many photos but hardly have my picture taken!

So that’s the way it went down and that is the way it is for this Sunday, the 17th day of June, 2012.