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


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 81 - 100 of total 197 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Social climber
Mill Valley, CA
Nov 8, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
What incredible timing for this thread as I pondered the same question yesterday while I hiked our last load down after bailing from Zodiac. Cap'n 1 - Mike 0.


Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Nov 8, 2012 - 10:22pm PT
First El Cap attempt: Zodiac 1999. Made it in 4 days at age 46. Not done with El Cap yet !!

Trad climber
Westboro, MA
Nov 8, 2012 - 10:34pm PT
2 for 2 - Nose (77) and Salathe (78) - similar to Steve A, Was young and fit (and stubborn). Had good luck with the weather.
east side underground

Hilton crk,ca
Nov 8, 2012 - 10:39pm PT
Dihedral Wall June '85 - Nope - you think it was a little hot ?


Oakland, CA
Nov 8, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
1st go: Sent with a strong partner who'd been up LF. We did WFLT together. Triple Direct, mid-August '06, full moon, no one else on all of SW face except for Yo and partner, who were completing their Albatross send (later to become one of this site's best TR's). Before fatherhood - big factor for me I think. All kinds of fun, great memories.

2nd go: Failed miserably on the Tangerine Trip, June (?) '07. Strong partner but I let myself get into the wrong head space. Scheduling an int'l flight five days out from your day 1 is a terrible idea, too easy to take hold of that excuse when you get scared (as I did). Shitty feeling to let down a solid partner.

3rd go: Bailed from the Alcove, super strong partner, this summer. Just hit a mental redline. Reversing the Hollow Flake pendulum with the pigs took some doing. Once again, feels bad to let down a good partner.

El Cap can get you when you least expect it. Looks like all systems go on the Salathe here in this pic, staying loose and having fun past the Ear, but waking up 12 hours later I was done.

Hopefully get it this next June.
bigwall shitter

Social climber
the wild west
Nov 9, 2012 - 12:05am PT
Mark, just wondering why you don't consider this a "failure?" Not an attempt at flaming just wondering. Or have you done 8 El Cap routes since?

Disclaimer: I've never done a big wall and I suck. Just curious as to what defines success and failure on a big wall.

EDIT: BTW, this is one of my favorite TR's ever and have shared it with many people. Very inspiring.

He climbed and hauled everything but the last two pitches by himself, that is a hell of a lot more work than climbing the whole thing to the very tippy top with a partner. I'd count that as an ascent of el cap, not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than I could do.

carry on
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 9, 2012 - 12:27am PT
I got up East Buttress on my first attempt less than a month ago....but that doesn't count as a true El Cap experience. Hope to get on it sometime in the next year. From the look of things, there will be lot's of TRs! Micronut is already running stairs and hauling in the gym!!

Santa Cruz
Nov 9, 2012 - 12:33am PT
Climbed New Dawn with Hoipoiloi for my first El Cap Route. We were on Wino by night two. It was pretty mind blowing to go from, can I do this at all to 1800 ft up on the 2nd night. That broadened my horizons a good deal

5 for 5 now.
Andrew Barnes

Ice climber
Albany, NY
Nov 9, 2012 - 12:42am PT
SteveA and Gunkie,
The thing about the second pitch of the Mordor wall is that in its current state it's impossible not to aid on the bolts - because the bolts are filling up the bathook holes. Now one could choose not to clip the bolts for protection after using the bolt for aid, but this is now taking the game of artificial climbing to the extreme of artificiality. Basically, adding the bolts has irrevocably changed the nature of the route.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 9, 2012 - 03:56am PT
Bailed on our first attempt--Salathe in 2007. We had done multiple grade Vs and RNWF, but never hauled before on a route, which ended up being pretty mentally daunting when planning on a multi-day ascent. Bailed due to time and just being psyched out. Went back the next year and climbed the route in 2 bivies, starting a current 5/5 El Cap ascent streak. I think the first send is both the hardest and most rewarding.
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 9, 2012 - 04:50am PT
First try: Mescalito 1994; OK!
Second try: Muir 2005; bailed!

Nov 9, 2012 - 06:12am PT
Climbed the Nose on my first try in 1992, leading and hauling every pitch. I must have been in good shape then! No previous wall experience, but I'd done several trips to the Valley, including Steck Salathe etc.

Trad climber
East Coast US
Nov 9, 2012 - 06:44am PT
The thing about the second pitch of the Mordor wall is that in its current state it's impossible not to aid on the bolts

Very good point, Andrew.
Matt Thomsen

Big Wall climber
Nov 9, 2012 - 07:14am PT
Climb lurking fear first try in 2004, in a team of three. Both partners had never climbed el cap. Good times! I have bailed a few time sence though...

Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Nov 9, 2012 - 07:28am PT
Mark, just wondering why you don't consider this a "failure?" Not an attempt at flaming just wondering. Or have you done 8 El Cap routes since?


What if you just cleaned a route? My girlfriend recently followed me up Zodiac, where I led and hauled every pitch. Do you think she climbed El Cap? I certainly think so...

Therefore, it is not flawed logic to say that if you jugged out two pitches from the top after a solo of a damn hard route, you get credit!

Trad climber
Washington DC
Nov 9, 2012 - 07:44am PT
NA Wall 77 with Bill Denz, first try. Nose with Lars Holbeck 78, first try. Salathe with Stu Polack 78, bailed after free blast. Heat. Never went up again. Decided long free climbs were more fun.

Nov 9, 2012 - 08:01am PT
I have very fond memories of the Nose. It was my first and only real wall. Before that my longest route was East Butt Middle, I guess. Started climbing regularly Fall '85. First 10a lead May '86. First 11b lead Taurus at Sugarloaf Mar. '87. Nose July '87. I did it between 2 of my Ph.D. prelim exams, one of which I failed, hah, hah.

Social climber
boulder co
Nov 9, 2012 - 10:10am PT
It's hilarious to me that a couple of posters on the last page consider Mark's ascent of iron hawk a success. You either top the route out or you don't. it's black and white and from the look of those pitches on the topo they aren't trivial, otherwise he would have sent them. Mark's obviously a great climber but he got rescued and jugged the last two pitches. And if he didn't have the advantage of having buddies to come get him it would have been yosar or a hellish descent on a traversing route.

Roger; to answer your point I don't really think you can claim you climbed the zodiac if you jugged the whole thing, yeah its hard work but in my opinion if you didn't lead anything then there's an asterisk next to the ascent. Just my opinion but when I was learning I was told you aren't really climbing until you're on the sharp end.

2 cents
Captain...or Skully

Nov 9, 2012 - 10:18am PT
A Deli Council would rule in that manner, also.
It is what it is.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 9, 2012 - 10:22am PT
ie, a telephone repairman can climb el cap. I wouldn't mind jugging a route, maybe if I was the video camera guy or something, just to be up there. A fun thing to do but it's not even comparable to following a normal trad route, where you at least do the moves. Jumaring is more like rapelling than like climbing, even if you do take out gear. Hey if someone wants to hire a guide to get this great experience, go for it. I'm impressed with the guy above who climbed his first wall at age 46, I plan to make my own return as well!
Messages 81 - 100 of total 197 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews