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


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John M

Nov 7, 2012 - 02:10pm 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.

This is a classic tale. Way to go.

Social climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 02:19pm PT
Lurking Fear in 2008. First try in a day.

I did 1/2 Dome the year before. Then just a month before we did SFWC with the LF partner who had similar experience level as I. All in a day. The weekend we did LF we were thinking of doing the Salathe, but didn't have any desire to sleep on the wall or haul under any circumstances. So, we settled on doing 2 walls in a 3 day weekend. On Friday we climbed Leaning Tower. My partner forgot his headlamp and I got a vicious stomach bug that made me nearly puke every time I tried to eat anything. Jugging the first two pitches on WFLT and spinning around was a nightmare.

We got to rest a bit on Saturday and since we couldn't conceive of falling asleep at night went over to Lurking Fear and started climbing in the evening. Topped out after 24 hrs in delirium having eaten nothing at all during the climb. I was trying to convince my partner that it's imperative for me to take a shower before going to sleep since we were sweaty and exhausted, but he called b.s. on that. Long story short, I was trying to swallow down some canned soup when back at the car and all of the sudden I wake up 15 min later and I still have a mostly full can in my hand and soup in my mouth.

It helps to be young, psyched, prepared, and have a partner of similar abilities. I'm proud to say that I've climbed Captain twice now and never slept on any wall.

Social climber
boulder co
Nov 7, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
I failed 4 times before I summited

twice on lurking fear (1 time got psyched out and once in the oct 2004 storm)

failed on the muir twice (once a partner got hit by a rock and the other we got snowed on)

Now I'm 3 for 3 in the last couple of years.

Mark: how can you claim 8 successful ascents in a row when I distinctly remember you getting rescued off Iron hawk in June. I hate to knit pick but if it were me I would say I had failed on that one given the circumstances
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 7, 2012 - 02:47pm PT
"I'll let you knww in the spring."-Briham

Do that.

I'm laying out a line in vegas based on that outcome. We have to figure out the odds. Good thread to help establish the odds on the bets:

"Briham will send his first El Cap attempt."

"Briham will bail his first El Cap attempt."

It's looking like...'s just too, too early to say.

Maybe after the holidays, folks got more to bet with, he may have broken a finger, his partner may have taken a powder, yada-yada-yada...

Seriously, Briham, good luck, enjoy the preparation and the pre-climb foreplay. It's your wedding night, after all.

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Nov 7, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
Here's my marker. 20 internet bucks on Briham making it to the top.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Nov 7, 2012 - 04:07pm PT
I did, but I'd also soloed a few in Zion before (and failed twice in Zion before getting up the first one).

Second day seems to be the worst, the hauling is still hard, the exposure is getting crazy, and the soreness starts. I haven't done an aid route in almost 10 years, but man the Shield looks good. It's been on the list for a long time and I figure once I get older and have "retired" from trying to freeclimb hard things, I'll get back to aid walls. But probably more in a push style...hauling all that sh#t is a PITA. I like the climbing, like being up there, but could do without the vertical freight hauling and cramped camping.
The Warbler

the edge of America
Nov 7, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
I started up my first EC route via the Salathe Wall in '72 at the tender age of 17, with an old canvas duffel bag, a swami belt, a rack of pins, and a 17 year old partner. We didn't stop 'til we topped out 5 days later. No falls, made all our bivi ledges, and summited in spite of Eric's desire to rap from Sous le Toit.

Late September and no one else on the entire wall, not just the route, for the whole time.

The next year, did the second ascent of The Mushroom with Richard Harrison and was batting 1000, 'til the wood block debacle with Chappy on our FA attempt of Excaliber...

If we had had cams that thing would have been in the bag too ;-)


Trad climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
I hope to this May!

Credit: micronut
Already psyched and this thread is just fueling the fire!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 7, 2012 - 05:55pm PT
Third attempt. First two on the Nose, I think in '81 and '82, but between inexperienced partners and fighting through the usual cluster$%uck we didn't get past Sickle. Third attempt on Zodiac in '83 went like a charm. In fact, I think it was DEE's climb the year before or so that inspired me. I was hanging out with his protege, Bob Cox, and we would go to the Meadow every afternoon to check on his (and the Troll I think?) progress. To a 17 or 18 yr. old, it looked just too rad, so of course I started hatching plans of my own for the following summer.

Trad climber
East Coast US
Nov 7, 2012 - 06:02pm PT
Not me. We did score the RNWFHD then tried El Cap (Muir) the next year and failed. I think we got up on our third attempt (Nose). Failed two times after that distinctly because of weak partners (different partners, both on LF)... and I hate to say that because I was the weak partner on our first attempt (Salathe).

Trad climber
New Mexico
Nov 7, 2012 - 07:16pm PT
Triple direct, first try. You have to want it, a good partner doesn't hurt either.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Nov 7, 2012 - 07:21pm PT
Two half-hearted attempts before climbing the big stone on my first real attempt.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Nov 7, 2012 - 07:25pm PT
First attempt. The Nose - weather mostly. It was 95 degrees and we were moving too slowly.

Second attempt didn't even get off the ground. Partners bailed. I wasn't really in shape for it. Could have done it, but it would have been ugly. Maybe not. We will never know.

Now I am working on losing 40 pounds and train like a mad mad to be faster and more efficient.

We will have to see how that goes. The goal is to get it done by next Nov. 2013

I am now 50 years old.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 7, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
Yep, I did, but as someone posted upthread, I had a good partner who had done it before. We arrived with about 8 days climbing time available, shooting for Salathe. But there was a crowd, so we did a few SW base crack climbs. Big slow party still gumming things up above, so we went and did the Good Book, it was hard, so rested a day. Then did the E. Buttress of El Cap figuring we were out of time for a full wall. But that went so well we changed our minds and fixed and hauled to Sickle, then launched and still made it up and down and back to work Monday morning. For spuds like us, it was a pretty good week of climbing. It was a big advantage to be firing Yosemite cracks so we could free all the Stovelegs (exc. pendulums), this created a lot of upward momentum.
Spike Flavis

Trad climber
Truckee California
Nov 7, 2012 - 07:53pm PT
Did the Nose w/ Bill Anderson in 1985.

No hauling or fixing. 1 bivy sack. 2.5 days.

Bill was THE MAN and I have to thank him for taking me on EL Cap as my first wall.


Nov 7, 2012 - 08:12pm PT
I hope to this May!
I'm with micronut! May is going to be the month! and the excitement just keeps building

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:44pm PT
Lurking Fear, first time aid, first time big wall, 3rd time in yosemite!
Captain...or Skully

Nov 7, 2012 - 09:51pm PT

Trad climber
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:53pm PT

HA!!!!! I was just about to say frogs!

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Nov 7, 2012 - 09:54pm PT

But what's the hardest part of A4?
Messages 21 - 40 of total 197 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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