ElCap Report 6/6/16

ElCap Report 6/6/16

By Tom Evans

Yo… The weather seems to have settled in at clear and warm.  A nice breeze made today bearable.  There was only one party on the Nose today and you will get to see what happened to them lower down.  The other routes are sparsely populated, if at all. 

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

Zodiac is the only “crowded” route on the cliff at the moment.

1) The fast team, from the last two days, is most likely off the route by now.  Here they are leading to Peanut Ledge this morning as the light came on.






























2) The fast team is seen here climbing the pitch above Peanut.




























3)  Lower down, a slower team climbed the Black Tower this morning.






























4)  As I departed they were hauling kit to the ledge at the end of the BT pitch.




























Lower down yet, a solo woman is fixed to the top of two and a team of two climbed the first pitch while I was shooting today.

Over on the Trip the team of 4 Korean climbers, who fixed and hauled the third yesterday, didn’t show up.


5)  NA Wall:  Sam and Rhett climbed to the top of the 4th with some help from another teams fixed line.  Here they are at Mazatlán Ledge, giving the old ElCap salute, in the heat of the day.






























The NA Team, of Dustin Moore and Mark Richie, from a few days ago, has healed up and will be going back on the route very early in the morning. 


Nose:  There was only one team left on the Nose today.  They were Anabelle and Andria, who we watched climb, over the past two days.  I am going through what happened to them so you will perhaps be more aware of some things that can go unexpectedly wrong.

6)  They spent the night on top of the Boot, as you saw in yesterday’s Report.  They decided to bail from there, as related to me by their friends, who had talked to them on the phone.  The plan looked to be… Anabelle would do the King Swing… Andria would lower the bag down to Eagle Ledge, and then rappel off the Boot to Eagle and then both would rap to the deck.  The first part went fine and the KS was done.






























7)  Phase two was the lowering of the bag from the Boot to Eagle Ledge.  As you see here it started well enough.






























8)  A moment after I took the previous shot, Andria on the Boot, lost control of the bag which plunged out of control.





























9)  As you can see here the bag hit the end of the line moving very rapidly, and fortunately was stopped by the rope, as the swing depleted its momentum.  Very serious consequences can occur when such a massive object is controlled by only gravity.  I was immediately concerned that the women would have sustained rope burns, as the natural instinct is to hold on to and try to control the rope… not a good idea once the bag starts accelerating.



























10)  I zoomed in on Andria, at the top of the Boot, and could see she was doubled over and had perhaps been injured.  Anabelle, below, looked pretty much the same.  So I watched carefully, for a while, just in case they might need assistance from YOSAR.






























11)  After a short time recovering, probably from the shock of what had happened, the women took stock of the situation and were able to regain control.  Here the Andria is rappelling down to Eagle Ledge.






























12)  Andria has some difficulty going sideways as she was on the rap line but also had control of the haul line, which tended to pull here away from where she wanted to go. 






























13)  Andria was able, through determination and strength, to cross the rib of rock and move to Eagle.  The method they used to lower the bag and rap to Eagle was not the best but they made it work for them and that is the important thing.  A climber on ElCap, or any big cliff, needs to recognize what has to be done when things go south, and not panic.  They didn’t panic and   after some time on Eagle they reorganized and revised their approach to the descent.






























14)  Here Anabelle has the bag under control and continued down to the next anchor.  Andria came down and they continued in this manner reaching Dolt Tower as I departed.  I expect that they will be on the deck by the time you read this.  I don’t know if, in fact, they are injured.  However, after the initial difficulties, they figured out what to do and carried out a plan that would safely lead them to the deck.  I think they did pretty damn good and I am sure they learned a thing or two about bag handling and retreating off a big cliff. 
































15)  Salathe/Freerider:  I spotted two teams high on the route this morning and by noon they had all passed from view.  This shot is of a Freerider team getting ready to climb around the corner under the headwall roof.






























16)  Out west on Octopussy, John Selove is moving relentlessly toward the top of the route.  He appears to be in control of the situation and smartly is up early and leading before the sun comes on him.




























I did see Kate’s kit where it was at the end of yesterday but didn’t see her… perhaps she is doing a dash for the top and then come back and rap the route or maybe rap Lurking Fear… total speculation on my part.

So that’s the way it is, for this Monday, the 6th day of June, 2016.

On this special day we remember all those who served at the battle of Normandy in WWII.  Their courage and sacrifice saved the world from a new dark age.

Capt. Tom, saluting all Vets on this special day!!