Prod, start early fixing to p4, it is a longer day then you'd think.
And, this is REALLY important...if you can't make it to 4, do not fix to the top of p2 unless you use a rope protector. My buddies core shot their rope bad jugging up to the top of p2. Was like halfway cut through, there is a bad edge just below the anchors.
You need to go to either p3 or 4, not 2. p3 is a pretty short easy pitch.
And fwiw, I would not fix the first 4 with a partner. Do it yourself man. Most likely they will try to talk their way onto the climb, or you'll end up wanting them with you. Face it alone from the ground!
I'm in the midst of planning a trip to the valley with a friend in a couple of weeks. If (and it's a big if) we get a decent weather window, we're planning on getting on a wall. After reading a bunch of threads here on winter walls, Lurking Fear is at the top of our list. We've been planning on leaving the pig on Thanksgiving ledge, topping out, and rapping the route, but we're definitely reconsidering after reading this thread.
So here's the question- would you still recommend the east ledges over rapping for a winter (or late march in our case) ascent? I've heard some horror stories about east ledges being a wet, icy, snowy nightmare. I'm thinking that we'll check out the conditions when we get there and plan on it being a lengthy PITA either way.
I descended the East Ledges last winter after a push of Zodiac - there was about a foot of snow on the slabs. It was far more do-able and far less scary than I had imagined. You should be fine in a few weeks.
Rappelling Lurking Fear could be good this time of year when the route is deserted - it's just no good to meet someone coming up as you're heading down.
No issues, but it can freeze up quickly at sundown. Instead of crossing back and forth across the wide, open drainage as usual down near the Wild Dikes, stay nearer the edge and 3rd class on dry rock. Not too dicey with a haul bag (EC for me to say, Gabe humped it). This was in early Feb a few years ago--one of CA's top 5 snowfall seasons.
Good to know, Pete. I was wondering and secretly fearing descending the East Ledges with all the recent snow, if we went up last week.
I've done a few walls in winter conditions, but only one in Yos. Did Leaning Tower in a push a couple of Decembers ago. The descent was interesting, but also not as bad as I thought. Definitely thought provoking though, as there was stuff coming down and things were wet and loose.
I have decended the east ledges a bunch in snow. Never THAT much of an issue. Although i have always had light loads. And be ready to punch through the snow a few times. If you have past knee injuries that could be bad. Here is a shot of Lincoln Else punching through the snow near the top of mescalito after a january nose ascent
But if doing lurking fear in a few weeks, keep in mind the last 1/3 to half the route will be wet, and the descent will be wet. I kinda just like to climb in dry rock dry conditions. so this time of year i would stick to the east side of el cap.
Concur with Chris about SE Face. East Ledges is OK when there is actually snow - deep snow that you punch through as described above. It might be a different story if there was only a light covering, or worse - iced up.