The Final ElCap Report 6/14/11

The Final ElCap Report 6/14/11
By Tom Evans

Yo… Beautiful day here once again.  The Good News is that activity is heating up on all major routes.  The Bad News is that this is the final report that I will be writing on this site, unless I am able to arrange something different, for the internet, in the future.  I was hoping to make it to the end of the month before retiring the Report, but I can’t make it… so this is the Final  ElCap Report.

I started the Report, several years ago, to bring ElCap back into the world climbing spot light, after it had languished in the backwaters of climbing for many years.  I got some help with posting pictures and soon the site took off, not only as a photo site but a site that told the stories of many climbers, well known and unknown.  Soon the site drew climbers to the ElCap Bridge, to see for themselves what was going on and in the process we developed the sense of community that had been missing for some time.  We had a new place to hang out and tell the stories of our adventures, all the while getting to watch our friends and fellow climbers striving to reach their dreams.  I have tried to make the site better by posting as many images as practical each day, and at the same time tell, in a few simple words, what I was seeing as I photographed the teams on the wall.  

I was surprised at the huge number of readers who visited the site and the positive response to what I posted.  It was not a simple matter of taking a few shots and writing something up in a few minutes.  It became an all consuming task, requiring 4 or 5 hours a day on a computer with the notoriously shitty internet connections here in the Valley.  It was a physically demanding schedule that allowed no time for anything else.  So now the time has come, as I approach my 67th birthday in a couple of days, to let it go and get out and do the other things I love to do in Yosemite.  If I could find an internet connection that is faster and reliable then it would not be so hard to do the report... that is the crux of the issue.  Shitty internet just takes hours to post with and I can't keep it going like that.  Maybe things will change .... in time we will see.

I want to thank all of you who donated to the site, no matter what amount you sent.  As you may have read, I was robbed of most of my photo equipment this winter and have slowly replaced some of the essential items, as I was not able to collect any insurance.  My heart felt thanks goes out to all of you who have encouraged me over the years and offered your support.

The Final ElCap Report…written just for you…unique in all the world!

Zodiac:  Dan and Steve are moving along well now and climbed out of the White Circle and I think might just make Peanut Ledge this evening, late.

Steve hauling freight on the Nipple pitch.


























Higher up the 5 man Korean team didn’t make Peanut last evening, but was up early and heading to the top as I departed around 4pm today.

Greetings from Peanut Ledge!



























A new team of Kevin and Robby are fixing the first couple.

Zenyatta:  Mark is rolling along now and will top out a couple of days ahead of schedule I think.  With this ascent the oldest solo will be 55 now.  Read it and weep Ottawa Doug!  

Mark out on the lead early this morning.

























Lower down a 4 man Korean team fixed the first two while I was watching this afternoon.  Should be a good test for these experienced and tough climbers.

Mescalito:  Mike Donaldson is making very rapid progress on this route.  I suppose he has realized that it is nearly impossible to retreat now and so is focused on the task intently.

Mike leading to the Molar Traverse this morning.

























Mike doing the Molar Pendulum this afternoon in deep shade.



























Lower down, Greg and Wally pushed past the Seagull this morning and were moving up the long, right leaning, seam as the afternoon shade overtook them.

Greg and Wally passing the Seagull.


























Lower down a team of excellent Korean climbers has fixed 3 on the route and will blast in 2 days.

The Nose:  I will miss writing about the King.  I climbed it in 1971 in a classic ascent and it will always have a warm place in my heart.
Today it was pretty busy with a couple of solo climbers on it and 3 wall style teams too.  A wall style team climbed off Camp 4 early and was last seen above Camp 5.

Early start from Camp 4.


























The solo is Todd Johnson, who recently climbed it with OK Tony in around 8 hours, if I recall.  Todd is out on his own after being inspired by Mason’s 15 hour and change (a lot of change!) solo a few days ago.  Todd was really smoking up the route and ran so hard on the King Swing that he nearly reached the Ear on the Salathe!  Todd ended up with a time of 14:15!!  The other solo retired from Dolt.  A few Dolt boys were out too.

Todd busting the King Swing.

























The Shield:  Well I really screwed this one up.  I didn’t notice the team on the headwall yesterday or today until late in the afternoon… sorry boys!  Time to retire for sure!  

Climbing above the Triple Cracks on the Shield.


























Salathe:  The Slovakian team continued above the Spire today and will soon be in the wet, slimy part of the route.  These three guys are tough though and will press through any difficulties.

Slovakian’s on the pitch above the Spire.


























In other news:  Well there is some big doings on the Chouinard Hurbert route as Hondo is soloing it for 60 Minutes.  Lots of locals are employed and it should be interesting to see what spin the editors put on the event.  All the best wishes go out to Alex, one of the really nice guys in the climbing community.

Scott Deputy and I at the Bridge this afternoon.



























I will still be shooting at the Bridge as usual and doing the “Ask a Climber” program until I depart for the summer months in early July.
I hope I have offered some inspiration to all the climbers out there who aspire to climb the Captain.  The Report has been a wonderful thing for me, as it has allowed me to meet and get to know a great many climbers who would never have even spoken, to an old timer like me, under different circumstances.  I have enjoyed reporting the great ascents by the big names, but even more, reporting the trials, tribulations and successes of the so called “regular climbers” who would never have had their pictures taken or their exploits written about on the Internet.






























So that’s the way it is, for this Tuesday, the 14th day of June, 2011.
Best wishes to you all and I hope to see you at the Bridge in the future.
Signing off, your man at the epicenter of the center of the Universe… the ElCap Bridge….
Tom Evans



A walker not a climber but a lover of all things mountain. Your photos of El Cap have been magnificent and showed such fabulous rock architecture. They will be missed, especially by me here in England. Good luck to you.

Wet palm mouse hand !

As a "regular" rock climber (no big walls for me yet, or maybe never), every time I look at your pics on my computer, my mouse hand gets a soaking wet palm !

The images you capture are all classics, and I want to personally thank you for bringing this part of climbing into my living room (and sometimes, a-hem, into my work office !)

Thank you SOOOOO much for all you have done, as I am certain that your pics have inspired generations, young and old. Now, there are many many fans of Tom Evans, Photog.

-- Tim B



Thank you very much for your time and your effort. Perhaps someone else could continue your job. But you will remain as one pioneer in this field.

Thank you very much.

stunning pictures summer after summer

Dear Tom,

I'm holed up on the east coast, and your pictures of the Valley have been great way for me to stay connected.

Thanks for you time and effort over the years. I hope you got as much out of this as all of your readers and El Cap climbers.


thanks Tom

the one, the only, the first, the best

Tom, this is sad news! I

Tom, this is sad news! I have only hung out on the bridge with you once, but I have imagined myself being there a thousand times checking out this page.... It is a sad thing to see this go! enjoy your free time, and throw a post up here once in a while please!



I'm sorry to see you go, this site was my inspiration to go ahead and try t climb El Cap, so much I actually MOVED to cali to get better and do it!

Please let the website on! it will be a great guide for newbies like me!!!

again .. thank you!!!


Thank You!

It's been a pleasure Tom. All your effort and expertise has been appreciated around the world and I (WE) will miss it. We understand how much work it as been and that has not gone unnoticed or been under appreciated by myself, my friends, and all of us who have experienced El Cap through your lens and your excellent reporting. Many Many Thanks!

Best Wishes,


Thank You

One more... Thank You for all.

from a climber's mom

I just want to thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and by posting your report enabling me to watch my son achieve his dreams from the other side of the world. I am so grateful for your report monitoring his progress and survival! Thank you,you have done a wonderful thing for all us waiting at home for news.
My son and his friend are hopefully on the Peanut Ledge by now....I hope! Lynn Jones (very proud mum)

Thanks Tom!

Tom, you're a piece of El Cap history now!
Thanks for the good times, the good stories and the awesome photos!

Mark Hudon

thank you Tom...

for giving us "regular" climbers that beautiful spotlight -- see you soon.

Stuart Paul

Thanks from a Brit

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the fantastic photos and reports you have posted over the years.

You made our ascent of The Nose last September, 17th-21st, even more special as families bcak home could watch the progress.

I'm sad you are retiring but hope to see you on 'The Bridge' again some time in the future.

Best regards,


Hove, UK.

Thanks Tom!

Heres just one more of many "thank you" comments. I hope your doing well in the autumn! If you make it you can get a hug from a beautiful German girl! ;) All the best Tom, you are an icon! Thank you!

-cj from Tasmania

a big thank you from france

a big thank you from france !

i hope to see you again on the bridge



A BIG thank-you from IRELAND. Never been to the US,might never go the way i would like to!,but you have brought a big chunk of the big-rock into my life.
It's ALWAYS better to be on shore wishing you were out there than being out there and wishing you were on shore.

Thank you

Thank you Tom, you brought the valley closer to germay.
I was reading almost every day while having coffee at work!
Kind regards,


us new-timers were inspired by old coffee table books and pictures of yosemite's golden years. it seemed that we were either born to late or racked up to late to be part of an iconic era of climbing. lucky for us, you came around and created and/or exposed a contemporary iconic era of yosemite climbing. the efforts of the cubical puke have now been documented, broadcast, followed, used for inspiration etc etc. When we are stuck in cube-land we have the elcapreport to go every afternoon to feel a part of the yosemite climbing community. when we are lucky enough to be there in the valley we have the bridge to go to every afternoon to feel a part of the yosemite climbing community.

you've united and inspired so many of us every day and a hearty THANKS for that. we'll all miss reading the report - but we'll be happy to know that you'll be able to enjoy your time in the valley the way it was meant to be enjoyed… by doing whatever the eff you want!!

Hope to bring you a cobra sooner rather than later…


Hard to believe it's over. You were the first person I met the first time I came to Yosemite. You were on the bridge, doing your thing. I've followed the Report ever since. Enjoy the rest of your stay this time in Yosemite and I hope the next time Mary and I come there, you'll still be on the bridge taking pictures. We'll miss the Report, as will all of your readers, Tom.
Have fun with all your new spare time.
Dave and Mary

Thanks Tom!

There's a group of us in Seattle who are sorry to hear your reports are ending. It's been wonderful to read your writings and hear the updates of activity. Thanks for making us feel like superstars for a brief moment. Perhaps we'll get to see you again on the bridge one of these days. You're a legend Tom!

Thank YOU!!!!

Thank Tom! Your report has been an invaluable resource and inspiration. Best of luck with future endeavors.

The end of an era!!

Thanks a million Tom. It won't be the same.
Congrats on a job well done and happy birthday. Go play.

see you around!


Thanks Tom!

Thanks for all your work on the El Cap report Tom! It has brought the Yosemite climbing community close together. I will miss reading the reports but I'm glad that you're off to do other things you enjoy!

Thanks so much and Cheers!
Ben V

Glad that our paths crossed in this journey of life...

Tom -

Thank you for all of the time you devoted to your well-followed, ElCap daily reports over the years. I have been struck with the bond among the climbers, both on your site and with you at the bridge. Truly a labor of love over these years. You have touched many lives.

May God continue to bless you always.

Carol Sabreen

Thank you!


Thanks so much for all you've done for the climbing community. At the end of the day, it's the community that makes what we do special and memorable, not just the spectacular routes. Thanks for playing a big part in enhancing that community in the Valley each year. It means a lot to a ton of people.

Stanley Hassinger

Big thank you

Dear Tom
Your report has brought the big stone into our offices in those years, where we were unable to touch it ourselves. In "yosemite-active" seasons it has helped our loved ones at home to worry a bit less.
A big thank you for all your efforts and many greetings from Switzerland.
Marc (Team "Old Germans")

Cheers from Finland


Massive thanks for providing great news day in day out. Sure everything will still go on over at the Captain, but when sitting here in Finland in front of my PC, it feels like 3000ft curtains have been closed and the show I was just getting into is over.

When all the surfing climbers (including you reporting) were chucked out of the Lodge into the rain by some on-duty-supervisor, I remember thinking that your work that so many highly value is not an easy task and requires stamina that only a former bigwaller would have.

One the most important things in bigwall climbing is to wear bright clothing. THis became clear when you showed us our great niad photos you had taken (after kindly lending me a fluoro shirt from you van a couple days before).

Good luck with your next project!

Tom, the effort and

Tom, the effort and dedication you've put into the report the last several years has been a tremendous benefit to the entire climbing community. You'll never truly know the gratitude of those of us who have stayed connected to friends, love ones, and our our future dreams by living vicariously through your photographs and reports. THANK YOU doesn't come close to covering it, but bro...thanks. It has been a pleasure. I hope to see you again some day down at the bridge.

Epic Ed

Thanks for the good times and

Thanks for the good times and classic pics!


Thank you for all the time and energy put into this!

thank you

Tom, Your reports and photos have brought joy to the hearts of climbers around the world. Enjoy the downtime and hope to talk to you again... just another aspirant, JohnR

Todd's Nose Solo

CONGRATS to Todd for blazing up the Nose. Thanks Tom for the excellent photos of our friends.

Nate Moore

Thanks Tom!!!!!

The El Cap report has brightened many a climbers day and inspired us all to spend more time in beautiful granite playgrounds.
Hope you have a great summer and we'll look forward to seeing your work and reading your words again in the future!
Ben H


Thank you for all the effort you made to share el cap with the world. This report has definitely inspired me to add a trip up the captain to my list of life goals!

Good luck,



Tom the El Cap report has been a welcome diversion, and helps relive my own El Cap ascent. Thanks for all the time, energy, and commitment put into these reports.


Hy Tom!

Hy Tom,

here is Gerda, the elcap rooky from last year, the girlfriend from Stefan Brunner of Austria.
It´s a pitty when you stop the report. We red it every day, so we could be a little bit in the
valley even though we are at home.
But we really understand you, when you want to use the time for other exciting things.
Thank you for a great Elcap Report allover the time.
Looking forward to see you in fall - i have a open problem there...

Gerda :-)

Hey Tom, On behalf of all

Hey Tom,
On behalf of all girlfriends (and boyfriends) with partners climbing El Cap, thank-you so much for writing the report! It was awesome to be able to track what was happening on the wall.


Thanks Tom, it was a great run and you deserve some time off for yourself.
Good luck with the new adventure.

Eric Patterson

Thanks for the memories!

Happy Birthday! Thanks for all the great writing and pics.

Now you can retire from your retirement!

-The Fet.

Thanks Tom!

So entertaining watching fools go up the 'Big Stone'

Enjoy your time off


Thanks Tom!

This report has been a joy to read after spending a summer in the valley years ago. Wishing I could return more often, this report makes me feel at least a little connected and is a wonderful reminder of what life can be like outside of a city/work.

Thanks for your time, the great writing and shots. Hope you enjoy your new free time!

A surely missed daily read


Each and every day during the climbing season, when I am connected, I have read your reports. They bring much inspiration to myself - an armchair big wall climber - as surely many, many others. You are correct in saying that you brought the big stone back into the limelight and your stories, photos, and seasonal insights will be missed. Enjoy your retirement, or whatever you may be moving on to. You've done a wonderful job and hopefully someone will take the reigns and continue on with what you've started.



End of an Era

We will miss your report, Tom! Thanks for doing it for so long, and thatnks for the effort you put in on the El Cap community's behalf. We really appreciate the hours of slow, boring uploading you have endured to get things posted. Please leave the site up for awhile if you can, there are many shots I want to get from it! See you at the Bridge.


Thanks...You will be missed

Thanks Tom...This site was the first site I checked every morning. The shots are great and the writing is even better.
I'll miss it..
Good Luck

Thanks for your service to the community!


Thanks for documenting the exploits on the Captain for as long as you have. the climbing community will miss this venue and what it has offered to both active and armchair El Cap afficianados.

I wish you a fun and healthy retirement. Cheers!

Eric Barrett


Good Luck Tom, thanks for all your efforts. Great to hear that you saw Pat Milligan the other day.
John Gregory

Thank You!

I'm Mr.yoon's Wife.
Thank You for the picture everyday.
I look forward to see tomorrow picture.
God bless Korean team.

Your posts will be missed

I've so enjoyed reconnecting and reading your posts and seeing your amazing pictures. Happy Birthday and enjoy your second retirement.

A sincere thanks.

Just another climber and fan of the report. Thanks again for all the years of amusing reports and amazing photography. Enjoy your new free time! Cheers!

Thanks for the photos and the red shirt commentary

I take a lot of photos of climbers and am always telling them to wear red or other bright colors. I loved your photos and particularly your comments about climbers wearing red shirts.