ElCap Report 10/4/07


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Crestline CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 4, 2007 - 07:22pm PT
Yeah... I know ... you want to know the real deal not some crappy rumor you got from some bus driver who talked to some guy who was hitching by the bridge this morning.... and you know that ECP will give you the straight sh#t good or bad, with no favoritism... Right?.... Right! So I am going to get to the Nose news first and cover the rest as usual...

I dragged my carcus out of the rack at 6am and cruised over to the cafe to get a good breakfast in, as I was going to be without any food for quite a while today. The place was a wasteland... but my buddy Ted of KFC, Lance, Ted climbing team showed up and we had a casual breakfast, then departed for the meadow. I picked up a couple of the monkeys who were hitching my way, even though the van was trashed with all my stuff. I got to the bridge around 7am. The line-up was packed with cars and there were all kinds of people there to watch the coming action.
Even our sometimes maligned ranger, Jack, was present to see the events unfold. I set up my scope and reached across the distance to get the Hubers in close so I could make sure everything was on the up and up with this whole deal.

The Brothers were smoking up the route as I got my merciless eye trained on them and started shooting.
They started a little before 7 so I picked them up as Alex climbed into the stovelegs. There was a party on a portaledge half way up the stovelegs who just sat there taking pics as Alex blew by short fixing for Thomas. I figured they would make Dolt Tower in an hour from the start but turns out they were at the Jardine Traverse cutoff in an hour... sweet!! They raced up to ECtower and in 1 min 38 sec alex climbed Texas flake. In no time at all he was on the boot and Thomas was cleaning like a man possessed.
Thomas was soon on the toe of the boot, a place where I felt they wasted too much time in the past, using 4 to 5 minutes to change over leaders and shoes and such. Thomas was out of there in less than 2 minutes and they were on record pace. They looked strong and everything was working in their favor. They smoked by a party on camp 4 and soon Thomas was on the great roof. But there things started to unravel. Thomas missed a few reaches and had to re-try a couple of moves and I said to someone.... "ugh oh.. Thomas is having some trouble".... The clock seemed to be running away from them and I started to have my doubts about this attempt. Then one of Thomas's aid slings floated away in the breeze and they were in deep doo doo. But Thomas redoubled his efforts and managed to make the pitch with just one aider but we all knew what that mistake could cost... They had to jug with only one aider now or the leader had to aid with only one aider and there was no spare. But they charged upward in a somewhat, for them, awkward style that was not the smooth rehersed style we have become accustomed to.

They went out of my view after Alex jugged to the Glowering spot but it still seemed possible. I knew that they still had to pass the two Croatian women up high in the dihedral... we wondered ... "what if one of these women was hired by Hans to seduce the manly Alex while Thomas was not looking?!!"

I just had to wait for Alex to come into view just below the Alcove.... the minutes ticked off.... It was like the astronauts going behind the moon and being out of communication for 20 minutes... I waited and watched... watched and waited... I watched my wrist watch and tried to chat a bit with the people who had chosen to watch from the bridge. I kept looking and just about when I had given up hope there came Alex sprinting into view. A vast roar, peppered with monkey calls arose from the crowd. The lads still had a few minutes but had to bust ass to get it done. Soon they were both on the last pitch with Alex racing up the last few feet to the tree and Thomas flailing at the rope with the Jumars and lunging up the the last few feet with Alex reeling him in like a giant fish on a line..

Then it was over... and soon a puzzled look came over everyones face... did they or didn't they?? I had them at around 2:51 but I had NO idea of when they started and just figured it was about 6:45am, which turned out not to be the case in the end. Anyway, Gleason got a call from SAR Greg who was on top and he said they passed him going down and said they had missed it by 35 seconds, having done the thing in 2:48:35.... of course we were just flabbergasted that it could have been so close after such a climb!! They were soon down and then things got more interesting yet......

BUT........................ turns out that they thought that Hans and Yuji had done it in 2:48 FLAT and that is why they felt they had missed it... BUT.....Hans is nothing if not a fanatic about the EXACT time for doing things....So in a rush Alex and Max raced off in the car to the lodge and a YFI connection to get on Hans's site and see if he had some change on his 2:48 time like they did... turns out he did.... 50 seconds... and so it was, that the Huber Brothers, after a long and dedicated effort to climb the Nose in the fastest time, came to be the record holders by a mere 15 seconds!!! The crowd went wild!!!!

Later we all sat around the bridge and chatted and took pictures and had some beers... everyone was pleased... but Alex and Thomas informed me that they would go again in 4 days to do the route and make their best effort to knock a few minutes off the time so as to quell any possible controversy the closeness of the times might incure.
My personal belief, from what I saw, and the way the events unfolded was that they did indeed break the record, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Hans is my good friend and a great and generous man and I wanted to make sure that his record was carefully guarded so no one could get it away from him unethically... Remember my friends... I am the guardian of the gate to the El Cap adventure and I am not about to let any BS screw up things here..... IMO it was all on the up and up....and the time is correct...

Zodiac: Andy and the girls were marching to Peanut ledge this afternoon when I left early and could, IMO, get off the route today if they really pushed...
Lower down: One two man team was doing the regular start and Michael, vying for the oldest solo of an ElCap route at 56, was on the direct start. Michael won the race to the belay at the start of 3.

Oh yeah.. one pirate, Ammon McNeeley, was seen solo doing the first pitch of the much feared Surgeon General, his defunct partner, KFC did observe a little whipper by the Man, but nothing to fret about... when partners are scarce McNeeley goes it alone...Aaaarrrrrrhhh!!

El Nino: Stanley and Martina were working below the roof pitch this afternoon while the O'Neill floatilla just plowed them under!!!

NA Wall: Yeah Timmy's Battle Star Galactia floatilla is just steaming up the route at the moment sending all nearby parties scurring for cover... they could be off tomorrow if Solo Dave gets the sharp end of the chord.

PO Wall: The team of seasoned Everest climbers with the magnificent "Bulgarian Flash" in reserve are moving right along the west coast of the NA Wall. I got some sweet shots of them in great early afternoon light....

Mescalito: Mutt and Jeff are well above the Bismark and are hitting full stride now... they had better be as the weather is looking a little on the cold and sketchy side for the next day or so. The wind has picking up and the forecast is uncertain.
Lower down... Did see T2 finish the 5th pitch up to the Stork ledge and go down to clean as I was leaving... he seems to be on the route for good and I will keep loved ones posted while I keep an extra sharp eye on this lad..

Nose: The Croatian girls should be getting off the route later today or early tomorrow... they have a ledge and fly so no worries when for them...
There is another party getting into camp 5 now and another of 3 at Eagle ledge and moving upward.
I think the party benighted in the stove legs made Dolt as I left....
Around the base? Who knows?...

There are two WDWTBRO parties, ..you know..."We don't want to be reported on" parties on the great rock, one has blasted and the other is just about to go... both are extremely well staffed and we all wish them the best of luck.

In other news... this morning was chilly with the coolest clouds passing by from the south to the north... impressive ... the wind has picked up and the forcast is calling for chance of showers at 30%... just an inconvenience I imagine.
Lots of people around with all the action on the stone and all... a memorable day for sure... come on by if you get near here...
So thats the way it is on this 4th day of October 2007 the day that the speed record on the Nose was passed to a new team... will the "old team" reappear? The answer on another great day ....
I'm out of here .... ECP's Tom Evans


Trad climber
Oct 4, 2007 - 07:58pm PT
Holy shit!

Eagan, MN
Oct 4, 2007 - 08:14pm PT
Amazing! I can't imagine what it must've been like to watch it all go down. Thanks for the story, hopefully we'll have another good one in 4 days.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Oct 4, 2007 - 09:06pm PT
I love it!!! Hans is now plotting to exploit the weakness of the flesh by pandering some Croatian women to seduce Alex, mid-route. As if that would deter the Hubers from their goals.

If I'm not mistaken, don't they have a contingient of "camp followers" already? Good fun though, very funny Tom.

I look forward to hearing what they do on their next run.


Social climber
El Portal
Oct 4, 2007 - 09:39pm PT
Thanks for the sweet peek today, Great report and great news.

The Brothers rock! Bravo, Bravo, Thomas and Alex!!

Can't blame those gals up there, the lads were stripped to the waist and smokin hot!

Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 4, 2007 - 09:40pm PT
Thanks, Tom. An admirable feat on the part of the Huber brothers, although I'm afraid that speed climbing of this kind isn't really to my taste. It all seems a little forced or something.

I wonder how quickly they would climb the Nose, using 1975 era equipment, tactics and knowledge? An interesting thought experiment, anyway, that may add a little perspective.

Social climber
St. Looney
Oct 4, 2007 - 09:45pm PT
Agreed Jobee. They are smoking hot (as are all climbers really). Congrats to the bros on the climb.

And El Cap Pics - thanks as always for a great report. I had to remind myself to breathe in the middle of it.

Oct 4, 2007 - 09:52pm PT
It's all good.

I don't care how anyone looks at it, it's fuking hard to climb that fast. Everything has to be together and clicking, even though it's rehearsed and every move is known.

It's a game that can be played here in Yosemite. Many have played.

It's a lot of fun, and I'm very happy for the Huber's for having that opportunity and making their record.

And it's unbelievably awesome .........
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 4, 2007 - 10:11pm PT
The first ascent of the Steck-Salathe route on Sentinel Rock, in 1950, took five days. In the early 1960s, Royal Robbins and Tom Frost, with much improved equipment and considerable experience of the climb, did it in three hours and fourteen minutes.

John Salathe visited the Valley a few years later, and was told of the feat. "With quiet admiration, he turned to Allen Steck and said, 'Not our route, Al. They climbed another route.'"

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Oct 4, 2007 - 10:21pm PT
WOW! Best Report Ever!

The Eye of the Snail
Oct 4, 2007 - 10:33pm PT
hahaha that was great.
Dragon with Matches

Bamboo Grove
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:28pm PT
ECR from ECP: absolutely the best thing on the internet.

Thanks Tom for the great updates, and for the great shots of Andy & me on the Zodiac last month. Your pics are getting shown off and wowing the crew here in Taiwan.

Is there a record for sending the Nose and a Croatian hottie in a push?

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:28pm PT
Quite simply the best "play-by-play" account of a speed ascent I've ever read! You kept me on the edge of my bar stool!!
I agree with WBraun, a minute here or there doesn't matter. It's an awesome achievement, totally awesome.
Thank you again for keeping those of us who can't be there in touch.

Boulder climber
Back in the mix
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:35pm PT
whatever old timer, you didn't show alex that much respect when you snaked his campsite at jtree.


hows the circuit?

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:39pm PT
good show Alexander and Thomas! truly awesome...
...good luck on your next shot, be well and climb safe!

Trad climber
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:43pm PT
Fantastic accomplishment by the Hubers. It also validates the greatness of Hans and Yuji's previous record. Without standardized 3rd-party timing though, I'd call it a draw. Great spirit of cooperation - and I admire that the Hubers want to try again to lower the mark by a more significant amount. Good luck to them - and good luck to Hans if/when he tries to lower the mark.

Great reporting too.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 4, 2007 - 11:51pm PT
Oh my gosh, this is too funny!

The Hubers do KNOTT have the record - if I am reading this properly, they have missed the record by an astonishing FIVE SECONDS!

Have a look yourself:

[url="http://speedclimb.com/yosemite/Elcap.htm"]Hans and Yuji climbed The Nose in 2:48:30[/url]

This is great news, because they will be psyched to go smash it for good the next time.

And when they're finished, they'll go smash it once more!

Congratulations to Alex and Thomas for a great effort, even if Thomas is a wanker and dropped his aider. [Let he who has never dropped anything provide the first beer]

See yous on the Big Stone!

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 5, 2007 - 12:01am PT
Pete, I noticed the same thing. It says 2:48:30 for Yuji and Hans on the page with all the El Cap records, but on the linked details page, it says 2:48:50 (twice) [Edit:]:


So I presume the :30 on the main page is a typo. If it changes to :34 then we know the site has been hacked! :-)

Anders, it's true that equipment has improved since 1975, (and since 1958), so the times are not strictly on the same footing (similar to the hour record in cycling). But I don't think the people climbing with cams are claiming they are better climbers than the previous generation, etc. They are just trying to go as fast as they can. I think times in the past several years are on equal footing - cams, TCUs, etc. Even with cams, many people don't go under 18 hours, so they are not a guarantee of a fast time, either.

Going that fast with all the runouts is kinda scary. I wouldn't want to be doing that too often just to speed up by a minute or two. But if they are psyched, why not. Dropping that aider must have been a bummer.

Oct 5, 2007 - 12:07am PT

What if?????

The watch they were wearing is not calibrated to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology).

Hahahaha soon they will have official time keepers?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Oct 5, 2007 - 12:15am PT
What if their watch didn't have a second hand? It would only be accurate to plus or minus 30 seconds! We need to eliminate this margin of error.

Thomas and Alex, if you're reading this, I still have those Sam Adams for yas!

Where's the link to the 2:48:50? This is hard typing after one beer on the walk-down, and another couple glasses of wine, man.
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