How many people get up El Cap on their first attempt?


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dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 7, 2012 - 12:07pm PT
It took me 3 tries before the weather, partner, psych and the stars aligned for a successful ascent. By then I had a good number of grade fives under my belt.
I wonder what percentage of climbers just walk up to the Big Stone and send?
Did you send on first try?
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
What? a Climbing thread!!

First try
The Nose with Mike Lechinski, I was 19

my second wall, went smoothly with DE EEE
West Face

A good Partner is key

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
He'll, aren't there a number of people who've soloed their first El Cap route? I know I read a TR. about someone doing that on the South Seas.

I got it on my second try. Weather. But my second ascent took two more attempts.

I'm on my best streak ever right now, eight ascents with no failures.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:17pm PT
Alan Bard and I walked up to the base of the Salathe Wall and climbed to the top in 3 days and a few hours in the about 1972/3. Beginner's luck. The remaining tries--the West Face solo (lack of will), and the Nose with a client (too hot)--both failed.


Ice climber
the ghost
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
First try, Nose, 1986, with a fellow Calgarian.
We practiced our systems a lot that winter, in the rock gym.

Big Wall climber
Grass Valley, CA
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:26pm PT
I soloed three pitches of the nose and bailed on my first attempt. took a nice inverted whipper and after regaining composure and setting up my ledge to chill for the eveningI unloaded my haulbag all over the thing, didn't clip anything in, climbed onto the poorly set up ledge and promptly had it slide up the wall dropping all my stuff cell phone included. Bailed that aft/eve. Had a pity party all night then sacked up and soloed the prow in 2days starting the very next day. Sent the Nose on my next try with a partner, then sent Salathe with two partners in three fun packed days. Shooting for zodiac in a couple weeks.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
Not me lol.. I only had eyes for the captain, no mentor, only knew crevasse rescue ascending techniques and aiding with one daisy. I never did a smaller wall.. and just kept banging my head on the Captain until I figured it out and got up the Salathe for my first success after 3 to 5 tries depending how you count.

Does getting a pitch up Lost in America as a belay slave for a party that quickly decided they did not want a guy who cleaned every head while ascending crevasse rescue style count as an attempt? .. My first try on getting up the Captain..

Great trips each and every one.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:52pm PT
I believe Gerry Bloch did at 68. Then again at 81. Sadly, he passed away in 2008.


Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
I remember the Captain had never looked so big as the day we walked up to actually climb it.

Nonetheless, we sent on the 1st go. Tangerine Trip, 1994.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
Did the usual SFWC first then bagged the Nose with Georges Bettembourge and Dave Cheesmond.

Slam dunk despite bad weather.

But shouldn't this thread address past wall experience as well?

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:53pm PT
ZM on first try with no wall experience at all.

Anybody can do that sh#t. Just don't bail.

Dr. F.

Ice climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
It's easier to bail than to keep going

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:56pm PT
Def haven't made it up yet, def have tried more than a few times (~8 tries I think)

Reasons for not making it up include:
-Partner wigging out
-Me wigging out
-Equipment failure
-Time constraints

past wall experience:
tried without ever trying anything else first
tried after successively getting up baby walls
tried after soloing baby walls

Have never tired it with anyone of equal or greater wall experience than myself.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:57pm PT
I've had good stats on El Cap because I go there with my betters and don't have the delusions about how fast I'll be moving that I seem to suffer on smaller formations. I think the short approach helps too. You end up climbing before it gets to be too big of a pain in the ass.

My bail rate elsewhere is a truly pathetic.

Trad climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
First try, Mescalito. No prior or post wall experience.
Dr. F.

Ice climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 01:00pm PT
This isn't about Wall Climbing
But since this climbing thread is getting a lot of traffic

Maybe someone can identify this photo of climbers on the Vampire.
Is it yours?
Have you seen it before?
An Important investigation is on going about the source of this photo.
Climbers on the Vampire <br/>
Unknown source.
Climbers on the Vampire
Unknown source.
Credit: Unknown

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Nov 7, 2012 - 01:01pm PT
I'll let you know in the spring...

Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Nov 7, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
First try was the Nose with no wall experience. It took 3 days to get to El Cap Tower, after which we bailed! WOOHOO!

Funny to look back at how ill-prepared we were...aiding the stovelegs and such. I guess everyone has to get their feet wet before they can dive in!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 7, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
I got up the nose my first try but had a good partner. Then bailed off two routes with people I met in Camp 4 both of whom freaked out, one dropped half the gear, the other just had a breakdown. Then I did Zodiac which seemed like a cruise. jcory you will cruise zodiac, I thought it was actually easier than the nose.

two miles from Eldorado
Nov 7, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Nose first try.
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