ElCap Report Farewell Tour 10/1/2023

ElCap Report Farewell Tour 10/1/2023
By Tom Evans

Yo … Today, 9/30/23 has been better, weather wise, than expected, as the rain has held off nicely until now at 4pm. I did go down to the Captain and shoot a few shots, as most teams were ledged up but a few had leaders out working on the pitch above their belay.  So, some of these shots are from yesterday, a splendid day with fair skies, clear air, and warm sunshine, and today.  It appears now that the shutdown has been postponed for a month or more and that is enough to let the Fall climbing season continue.  Now is the time to get here and do that climb you always wanted to do but never took the time. Interesting routes are being done and the trade routes are mostly empty or close to empty. The Nose is wide open, Zodiac only has one party on it, Salathe is empty too.

Today’s ElCap Report…Written just for you… Unique in all the World!

1) Ryan Laroche bailed off SSPO… going to Native Son… he didn’t much like the look of the Coral Sea pitch there… so he bailed over to Shortest Straw.  I saw him this morning leading the second pitch of the Straw and got this shot. I think this one will work out well for him.


2) Mescalito:  Yesterday I spotted Hailey Kellackery leading this pitch while Yolan Caballero managed the belay. They are a couple pitches above the Ecuadorian team and should slowly pull away from them in the ensuing days.


3) Rope Dance… A nice afternoon breeze wafted up the corners of Mescalito and their rope did the sensuous, wandering dance of the wind.


4) Shortest Straw… Nick Stevens is moving smartly up the route and is seen here on its closest approach to Zodiac. Notice the Lightning Bolt Roofs of Zenyatta Mondotta, on the left of the shot.


5) I just missed the swing of the Rubber Band Pendulum, on SSPO, but got Ollie, sticking the sketchy moves to the corner.


6)  Higher on SSPO I got Ollie on the nice corner up to the junction with the PO.


7)  Magic Mushroom is yielding nicely to Paul and Sunny. The route is shaded for a lot of the day and as result of height and shade it is cold up there. Here Sunny is catching the first warming rays of the sun as she belays Paul higher up.


8)  Higher, in the afternoon yesterday, I caught Paul cleaning Sunnys lead past the famous, Canoe, high on the Shield headwall. I think they went off today 9/30/23.


9) Back on the North American continent, on the Sea of Dreams. Mark and Skot are ripping along the pitches. This shot, from the morning that produced some weird light on the wall as a combination of smoke and fog, made the normally dark rock look golden.  Skot out on the lead here.


10) Later that morning, as the air cleared, Mark took the lead on the now normal looking Diorite that inhabits that grand feature.


11) Today, with the rain, the 8-person team from Ecuador, ledged up most of the morning and did get out on the lead up Mescalito’s long right leaning corner, which climbs up to the Molar traverse. The paraplegic climber they are escorting made excellent progress up to their camp yesterday and everything looks like it will continue as planned.


12) In this unusually clear shot this morning, I was able to see inside of Skot and Mark’s portaledge to see right into Skot’s face… take a close look and see his entire face clearly looking right down at the camera, placed behind my van in the line-up. I can see very little of anything thru the viewfinder of my camera and many times I have to sorta guess at what the shot will produce.  I could see the ledge amidst the black rock but nothing in any detail.  Imagine my surprise when I processed the image and cropped it deeply to get this shot... only then did I see Skot's face!  Impossible to plan such a shot!


Other climbs in progress include…. A two-person team, climbed the Black Tower on Zodiac this morning… another team climbed above Sickle Ledge in an effort to beat the crowds, surely to infest that part of the Nose route tomorrow…Pete Zabrok and Luke’s team, way out west on Hole World, were ledged up the entire time I was there.  Pete posts detailed reports on their progress daily, on Facebook and probably Instagram so go to his facebook page to read all about it…Joe Marlay and Kenny Rose are said to be lurking around with undisclosed plans that will soon be exposed ... Marek is about ready to blast on Bad Seed and is taking a day off to rest up from the long trip from Scotland .....I think that about covers the situation at this juncture. If I have missed someone do not hesitate to contact me.

So that’s the way it is, on this damp Saturday, the last day of September, 2023.

Capt. Tom…Your keeper of the flame, still working, just for you.