Zodiac, El Capitan A2 5.7

 
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

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SuperTopo Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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Rating Distribution
25 Total Ratings
5 star: 72%  (18)
4 star: 24%  (6)
3 star: 4%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Ryans

Trad climber
Idyllwild, CA
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   Jun 10, 2014 - 09:31am
Completed a two day ascent after fixing to pitch 3 last week. Here are my recommendations:

Gear:
-3 camhooks were enough. 2 narrow, 1 wide
-1 talon, and 2 medium sized hooks were good (I had the Cassin hooks).
-Peckers: 1 small, 2 medium, 2 large. These helped me get through every tough section (hand placed)
-Sawed-off angles were unnecessary. I didn't use mine at all.
-Fixed copperheads seemed to be in good shape, none pulled on me. I did not bounce test them.
-Three #4 C4s and two #5 C4s were okay for pitch 14. Massive runouts for me.
-Hybrid aliens (red-yellow especially) and TCUs were incredible.

Hauling:
-While hauling one of the upper pitches (11, 12, or 13?), my bags dislodged some partially detached flakes 30 feet below my haul point. Nothing you can do about it really, just be aware. It looks like more could go.

In general, every time a section gave me trouble, I got through it with peckers or camhooks. A few times I remember using the peckers to hook on top of broken beaks or dead-heads.

The route easily went hammerless on my ascent, but it did depend on some crucial copperheads and a few fixed pins.
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Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
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   Nov 20, 2013 - 11:03pm
A quick note about hauling the last pitch.

After the "Best Topout on El Cap", you are faced with one of the worst hauling setups on El Cap with 3 bolts at ground level at the lip, yucko. 15' down the hill is a nice burly tree that is a far better haul anchor, as you can set the haul up high and have some room to walk back with. With a 2:1 ratchet the haul this is a breeze. Our bags (2 side by side) snagged 15' below the lip, but just some modest rocking freed them (tie off a backup, then un-lock your hauler's cam and bounce the bags till they frig over the snag).

After all, who wants to lower back over onto the anchor after a glorious topout?!

P14 bonus beta: Most of the way is #5 C4 terrain. We took 1x #4 friend, 1x #4 C4,1x #4 old purple camalot, 1x #4.5 old red camalot, 1x #5 friend, 1x #5 C4, and 1x #5 old green camalot, and that let me leave some gear behind now and then, but it still felt very spicy.

The crack gradually widens, and you only need to save 1x ~#4 C4 to get into the roof, then it is all #3 and smaller), so leave the #4 sized stuff as pro as soon as the #4.5/#5 C4 stuff starts fitting. The #5 was bonus, and made getting through one "pod" easier than having to high step past the pod. The aiding is more overhung and awkward due to the size of the crack than I expected.
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macleodnc

Trad climber
ca
Sep 4, 2013 - 07:09pm
 
Just a heads up to anyone hopping on the Zodiac, while cleaning pitch 14 after my partner lead it, I toe hooked into the wide flake on the right side below the roof to release tension on a piece and clean in and had a college textbook sized block release from inside the crack and end up resting very precariously on my foot.
I trundled it safely but there was a party 4 pitches below us so it could have not gone so well. I looked inside the crack and there's definitely more loose rock inside So when you are on that pitch just be mindful of what is in there.
Besides that the route is awesome and although some of the wires on some of the older fixed rurps look like they have seen better days, the rest of the fixed gear wasn't too bad.
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Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
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   Jun 10, 2013 - 03:47pm
Pitch 14 - We brought one 1 #5 Black Diamond Camalot, 2 #5 Friends 1 #4 Camalot. This worked out well. But if you are conservative. bring even more #4-5 Camalots.

There are a bunch of rurps and peckers with cables about to break. Bring extra 3mm accessory cord and 1/2 webbing and read this thread Ideas for Replacing broken cables on RURPS, peckers, pitons

Just a quick IMHO on Cmac's post. We climbed this June 2013.

For mere mortal chickens like me, I brought and used triples of #3 camalots, #4 camalots, #5 camalots (new purple style), #6 camalots (new green style sizing) (actually it was two of the biggest WC friend + 1 BD. I like them better. They feel more stable.)

Definitely agree with the post about the Hawks. The cables are looking skimpy on some of the fixed stuff.

Otherwise, on the Nipple pitch, I used a couple of our BD#6 sizes to get me to reach the bolt without it being too awkward. The leapfrogging cam hooks in the middle is the tricky stuff. Only had one cam hook skate out a little and blow a bit of granite dust out.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   May 31, 2013 - 04:58pm
I climbed this route in mid may 2013. Did all clean with minimal trickery. You can see the rack I took on the recommended gear tab above. We didn't hand place any sawed angles, but if you want the full bag of clean aid tricks, bring em.

Pitch 1 - the direct variation is still there if you want to pass parties

Pitch 3 - top step to avoid nailing. Still dont see the placement? get even higher!

Pitch 4 - there was some loose rock right at the start of the pitch. Be careful.

Pitch 7 - Black Tower - definitely the danger crux of the route. Offset cams of all sizes very nice for fitting in weird scars. If you want to hand place a pin, you will probably need to tie it off. Top step to get through anything weird up high.

Pitch 9 - there was a weird pod about 30 or 40 feet up. I hand placed a large Moses Tomahawk here. A large Black Diamond Pecker would also work.

Pitch 12 - loose blocks 2/3 of the way up. Be careful.

Pitch 13 - where the topo says reachy hook move... it is REALLY reachy. approach shoes or free shoes recommended on this pitch.

Pitch 14 - We brought one 1 #5 Black Diamond Camalot, 2 #5 Friends 1 #4 Camalot. This worked out well. But if you are conservative. bring even more #4-5 Camalots.

There are a bunch of rurps and peckers with cables about to break. Bring extra 3mm accessory cord and 1/2 webbing and read this thread Ideas for Replacing broken cables on RURPS, peckers, pitons
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Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
May 7, 2013 - 06:09pm
 
You could do it if you move fast. If you fix to 3 you should be able to make it to seven. You can link 5 and 6 if you don't clip much gear at the end of 5. Getting from 7 to peanut will be a long day, and it is some of the more sustained climbing. I don't climb that fast but there are plenty of people who do. As far as I can remember those re the only 2 places i think you could sleep.
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julton

climber
May 6, 2013 - 08:39pm
 
There's another small ledge half way and just left of the zorro pitch. It's shown in the supertopo as part of the free variation.
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Brandon Adams

Big Wall climber
Monterey, CA
May 6, 2013 - 07:53pm
 
Thinking about a solo attempt sans a portaledge.

Are top of 7 and 13 the only feasible bivy spots?
Which starting pitch is preferable?

Thanks
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westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
Jun 24, 2012 - 06:30pm
 
David and I climbed this clean and topped out on 6-16-12. Lots of fixed gear everywhere. crux may be p9. P14 the wide pitch has NO bolts. Just one beefy rivet in the middle. Two new purple 5s would have made this one easier, but I had one and a tipped out 4. I left minimal gear as pro as I was on the big pieces I had. :)

Supertopo rack was good.

Offsets cams and nuts, cam hooks, big peckers and tomahawks, couple of hand placed sawed angles I think. If there is a next time I will bring two purple 5s and maybe another one to leave as pro. on p14. or maybe I will free it lol.

I may have used the Big green 5 a couple of times too. P10 and P14 once ea. Was it worth bringing it...I say yes. Did I absolutely need it...no.

2x1 hauling ratchet was extremely useful in the beginning. But thats not route beta.

We flagged the ledge as the route is steep!!!

Good luck!


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cmclean

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Jun 2, 2011 - 02:28am
My brother and I climbed Zodiac clean on May 23-26 2011. The crux is currently P9--a soloist in front of us ripped out 4 fixed heads on the pitch, three in a row down low and one up high. This makes both of those sections quite interesting. The Nipple is also devoid of fixed gear, so leapfrogging cam hooks will make it painful for the second. Overall the climb was great and much more technically difficult than other "easy" trade routes (eg lurking fear, the prow, skull queen).
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ramon

Big Wall climber
spain
Mar 14, 2011 - 05:37am
 

Hi, I need info, I plan zodiac 2011, I went through 4 en2006 belay behind the team that was re-equipping the route, we had a problem with the hammock and down from a previous attempt I realized the change that had experienced some parts as 1 entry etc.Alguien pitch you made recently
The route I can report, graduation, material etc, would my 4 trip to the valley and plan the route in solitario.Muchas thanks.
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ricardo-sf

Sport climber
San Francisco
Mar 15, 2010 - 03:40pm
 
chris ..

i think you meant to link this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8voekOOKEo&feature=related

pretty insane video of a free attempt of the nipple

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehz9TjiGzyE&feature=related
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Feb 15, 2010 - 01:34pm
cool little historical tidbit and photo from the first ascent

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsysM195yo4&NR=1
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hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
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   Jan 15, 2010 - 02:03pm
Did this in the Fall. It went clean without too much difficulty. The next weekend while on a nearby route I watched party after party pound the crap out of several different pitches. Needless to say I was very disappointed. You need to step it up and do things like this without the hammer when possible.

Hardware I would bring:

2 SO angles 5/8" and 3/4"
2 beaks med/large
a few heads

Bring offset aliens, I had 1 set, it was enough, more is always helpful. If you don't have them, find them and get them. If you want to wall climb you need to have these.

I don't think this route should be looked at as a "learning to hammer route." This route is already beat out and needs to be taken care of, when possible.


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Brendan

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
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   Jun 22, 2009 - 01:28am
Climbed this route 6/19-6/21/09
I did Tangerine trip two weeks ago, and can attest that Zodiac is definitely harder. More sustained and less fixed in it current state. GREAT ROUTE.

Beta if you want it.
Rack:
2 ea. .3"-.5" (BD C3 000-0?)
3 ea. Green/yellow/gray alien (small fingers to wide fingers)
2 ea. .5 - #3 new bd camalot
1 #4 camalot (or 2 #4 old BD camalots and 1 new #5)
2 #5 camalot (leapfrog on pitch 14)
1 set nuts, 1 set offset nuts, MICROS!
Every offset alien/cam you can get your hands on
LAs. 2 ea. #1-3
KBs 1 ea. #1-3
Beaks 2-3ea. sm, med, lg (critical for us since we didnt have offset aliens)
4 med heads, cam hooks!, lg hook, sky hook, grappling hook

Go climb this route, it is sick. Lots of opportunities to get out of your aiders and do some great free climbing (ex: lower pitches and pitch 13/14/15). Figure out the rest for yourselves!
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Apr 13, 2009 - 03:49pm
GREAT photo essay here

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=523785
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Nanook

climber
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   Dec 30, 2008 - 04:59pm
a buddy emailed me looking for extra beta so figured I'd post it here too.

Yo
El Cap in the winter is awesome. The waterfall, the short days so you spend plenty of time kicking back and enjoying it all, the incredible light.

Things to be aware of:
-because there will probably be no cars at the el cap meadow or zodiac pullout, plan on getting a visit from rangers if you spend a couple
days fixing, ect. For that reason I would not plan on camping at the base. Make sure you have your portaledge so you can bivy a few bolts up(good idea to have it set up and ready to go).
-you can get water from the hillside over by Eagles Way. We did that and didn't carry a drop up there but be careful about falling ice which is plentiful and often in that area.
-Bears still around as of a couple weeks ago.
-The runoff on Zodiac is only significant on the second and third pitch(a drip hits the belay on the top of the Mark of Zorro so don't bivy there and you have to climb through a waterfall on the Peanut ledge pitch but it is only five minutes worth of soaking and nothing like pitches 2 and 3).
-I actually started climbing the Trip a few years back in winter because I got so sick of dealing with the runoff on pitches 2 and 3. But the Trip is no Zodiac, like comparing a hand me down to a custom convertible--they'll both get you there if that's all you care about.
-It can be serious but if you're patient and have the first pitch fixed you should be able to wait for the water to move to the East around 9am-noon and then it will only blow over occasionally. Be prepared for surf though as the climbing as well as the belay of pitch 3 can receive massive water pounding.
-often when I climb the route in these conditions I just fix to the top of 4 with two ropes, but that's a lot of rapping and jugging if you've never done the route(and pitch 4 anchor gets hit by a drip so not the best bivy--basically make sure your fly is seam sealed good even though you won't ever be in direct runoff, just stuff that blows around/over).

This sounds like a lot of complications but if you're prepared it really isn't that big of deal. Probably plan on an extra day of fixing(if you're gonna fix to 4) or just fix to the top of 1 and blast through the wet part. What makes this all pretty feasible is that pitches 2,3 &4 are easy and fast. Folks who never move fast on the wall will know to plan on fixing to 4. I always bring my $15 pvc fishing style rain coat on walls. Pretty toasty to lead in but perfect for the belayer. Maybe consider bringing an extra one that you could droop over the top of the haul bag if you plan to just haul through the wet stuff.

El Cap--the time of your life, guaranteed.

enjoy
e

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Lin Hi Nun

Trad climber
Seattle
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   Nov 11, 2008 - 01:00pm
My buddy an I climbed this last October, 2008. It was an awesome experience, and my first time up the Captin'

Read our trip report here:

http://www.the-summit.net/j2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55:el-capitain-the-zodiac-vi-ca2-ish&catid=15:big-wall-climbing&Itemid=30

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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
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   Oct 24, 2008 - 01:47pm
The route went nearly clean for us on 10/21/08, placed just one Beak directly above the Black Tower.

Try it clean yall, it's more fun and not really that hard. Seen tons of rookies getting on it this season with brand new hammers and pin racks...even found a hammer price tag on the ground at the base! We also cleaned 6 new booty pins that came out easy and were next to cam placements.

Zodiac is short and straightforward, but isn't the place to go up and learn to nail. You end up bashing the route (which goes pretty clean), fixing your brand new pins in bomber cam hook placements. If you haven't climbed C3 before, go get on something easier.

The right clean climbing tools (hybrids, offsets, cam hooks) should be mandetory on this route. The climbing rangers should set up a kiosk at the base checking your rack first...

my .02 cents
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Aug 30, 2008 - 03:28pm
Here is a cool little story about first ascentionist Charlie Porter

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=538088
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Nanook

climber
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   Feb 10, 2008 - 06:23pm
Zodiac is timeless bliss.

I find the newer medium and large beaks from Black Diamond are better than sawed offs in the pin scars. They don't destroy as much rock and stick like glue. They also speed things up if you bring enough as there are only two bigger sizes. For Zodiac I'd recommend 3 ea of the three sizes of BD beaks.

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aaronj

Big Wall climber
da ditch
Jul 14, 2007 - 06:22pm
 
soloed this route yesterday and in the month since i last climbed it some pussy drilled all over it. new fatty rivet on 8 to avoid tension traverse and a fatty rivet on the wide pitch above peanut. seriously are you so light duty you have to drill all over established gumby routes? go back to the gym punk ass bitches and leave the real climbing to the real climbers. bolting on established routes is bullsh#t. your lack of ethics and ability is disgusting f*#ker.
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mswan

Big Wall climber
Santa Barbara
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   Jun 14, 2007 - 02:16am
I climbed Zodiac May 10-13 and thought it was one of the funnest routes I've done on El Cap. Cheers to the cleanup crew for making it an exciting climb, again. We fixed the first 4 pitches and had some issues rapping the shortest straw anchors. The topo says rap using 3 50s or 2 60s, but doesn't mention tying the 2 60's together. We ended up rapping about 40m to an anchor off to the climbers left, only to find that the next rap didn't reach the ground. We got back on the first line for a full 70m stretcher to the next anchor, which is the only other anchor we could find between the top of 4 and the ground. There is no way you could reach it with a 60m rope from the top of 4, so make sure to tie them together.
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Colt

climber
Midpines
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   Jun 13, 2007 - 01:51pm
Just did the route over 4 days in a team of two. Status of fixed gear…still pretty light…maybe just south of a dozen pieces on the whole route at the most (excluding old pins and heads). As far as nailing we replaced one missing head on the direct start and didn’t used the hammer again. We left one biner on a bolt and one piece of tat for lowering out when cleaning. We cleaned one fixed stopper.

Our rack was:
Hooks: 2 grappling (one filled) (used lots), bat hook (used some), 3 cam hooks (s, m, l…used all lots), talon (not used)
Nuts: 2 sets larges, 2 sets small (HB & BD offsets)
Ballnuts: Camp red, yellow and green (only placed red one time, others not used)
Rivet hangers:8…need small wires down low…any size on last 2/3 of route.
Heads:6…placed one missing head on the direct start where you move right across a ramp…all others were in place.
Pins:carried super topo package…only used hand placed sawed angles ¾” and 1”(we had two of each)…used quite a bit. One or two smaller saweds for hand placing would have made a couple of placements easier.
Cams: 1 green bd C3, 1 blue, green, yellow, red and new grey alien, 2 blue/grn, grn/yellow, and yellow/red aliens. 1 .4 and .5 C4, 3 .75s and doubles on C4s from #1-#5.

This rack was just about right for us and we are not hard core. The route felt challenging, but bringing more stuff would not have helped that. This route is quite a step up in difficulty from Lurking Fear or Ten Days After. We felt solid on Ten Days and had our hands pretty full on Zodiac. Note, with the lack of fixed gear you could end up leaving a good chunk of your rack if you don’t manager your back cleaning properly. If I was to do it again I would go the same rack minus one large set of nuts, maybe bring 1 light set of LAs instead of the supertopo pin arsenal, bring saweds for hand placing and leave .4 C4 and 1 of the .75 C4s. Would bring the small C3s if I had them.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   May 14, 2007 - 11:34am
wow --

no camhooks, no offsets, and #0 brass offset placements ..

my hat is really off to you reagan ..

.. i just finished putting the rack together for our ascent of zodiac next week ..

2 sets of offsets, 2 sets of camhooks .. and more iron that i'd like to publically comment on ... (relax everyone .. i'm kidding .. just some peckers, some LA's and some knifeblades)

.. i've stood on a #1 offset brassie -- i can't really imagine placing several #0's ..
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Regan

Big Wall climber
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   May 5, 2007 - 04:04pm
Thanks, from p.7 to p.11 I used many times brass No"0". Most difficult place, I had on p. 12, where I had very bad handplaced LA and jammed crack'n up. For me, the hard clean climbing starting from the Black Tower. I met about 5-6 heads ( including 2 on the first pitch) and about 5 old pitons (2 on the start on p. 12). From the Black Tower to the Nipple pitch everything was clean. I did Zodiac in 7 days and I did not fix any pitch.
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Shimanilami

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
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   May 3, 2007 - 04:21pm
Did Zodiac 4/24/07 4/28/07. The second pitch was wet, but the rest of the route was dry.

We brought exactly the iron that was suggested in the new Supertopo and used every single piece except for the 'heads. There was some fixed gear, but it seemed to us that there was less than what was described in November. There were 3 fixed pins on Pitch 7. I hand-placed 4 sawed-offs and nailed 2 LA's. There was almost nothing fixed on Pitches 9 & 10 besides the 3 heads that blew out on us, so we needed to nail those too (3-4 placements each.) We didn't need the hammer anywhere else.

For cams, we brought two full sets of Alien hybrids (blue-black to red-yellow) and one regular set (black through red). Bigger than that, we had Camalots/C4's exactly as recommended in the new Supertopo. We also carried 2 sets of HB offset nuts, 2 sets of HB offset micronuts, and 2 complete sets of hooks (3 cam hooks + cliffhanger/grappling hook + bathook; one set was kept on each aider because of all the hooking.)

Ours seemed like an ideal rack. We agreed that if we did it again, we wouldn't change a thing (except perhaps to leave the 'heads). The new Supertopo seemed dead-on as far as gear recommendations.

It is hard for me to believe that this route was recently climbed clean without cam hooks or offset aliens. That dude must have been stacking micronuts in some crazy ways. Bravo, my man!
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Nov 3, 2006 - 02:46pm
congrats bro --

you must have big brass balls to do zodiac clean in its current state without using camhooks or offset aliens ..

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Regan

Big Wall climber
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   Nov 1, 2006 - 01:31pm
Hi there,
2 weeks ago I have done The Zodiac solo and clean. The wall is great after big cleaning ( thanks for Big Cleaning Trio) and climbing very exciting. I did not use any aliens and cam hooks, what have forced me for stronger concentration on using brass nuts offsets and small camalots from BD instead of the aliens.
I have hand placed 3 pins: LA, sewed Angel and baby Angel.
On the route I have found about 10-15 fixed points.
Anybody heared about solo clean ascent on The Zodiac after the big cleaning?
Thanks for any info.

Regan
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tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
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   Oct 18, 2006 - 08:02pm
We climbed it the last week in Sept clean except one stickclip move on the Alt p1 start (missing copperhead ?). We carried

2 beaks
2 sawed angles: 1 ea 3/4" and 1"
nuts: regular and offset
micronuts: Trango brassies and HB offsets
ballnuts: 1-3
WC Zeros: 1-6
Hybrid aliens: 2 ea blk/blu to yel/red
Cams: 2 ea 0.5-4 C4 Camalot
2 ea #5 WC Tech Friend
hooks: 2 ea bat to 2" (inc pointed)
Cam Hooks
12 rivet hangers
A selection of pins and heads which stayed in the bag.

We climbed 4 pitches/day: fixed to p4 on day 1, fixed to p8 and slept on the ledge at p7 the second night, slept on the ledge to the right of p12 the third night, and topped out on the fourth.

The pointed Leeper hook was used on bathook holes on the Alt p1.

I hand placed the sawed off pitons on a number of pitches, including above the Black Tower.

The last bit of p8 was pretty entertaining. A beak move, a fixed rurp, a few fixed copperheads, a hook or two and some other thin gear.

There were only four fixed pieces on the Nipple traverse: two fixed pins above the bolts, a fixed ball nut, and a fixed HB offset (yellow) along the length.

We had and used 2 #4 C4s and 2 #5 tech friends on pitch 14, leapfrogging them in pairs (stand on the upper one, clip the rope to the lower one).

The route is starting to collect gear again and one can climb without hammering pitons. This was our first El Cap route.
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gheart

Mountain climber
austria
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   Oct 18, 2006 - 01:28pm
I have climbed Zodiac last week and I can probably give good beta for you. For me as a moderate big wall climber, the guidebook rack recommandation was not sufficient. Especially on the Black Tower pitch I had to get back to clean some pitons (small Lost Arrows, small Knifeblades!!!), because I needed more than there had been recommended in the guidebook.

One thing is very important i found. Bring bigger sawed angles! The pin scars (Black Tower pitch, Nipple pitch, and other pin scars on the other pitches as well!) are so big already that the pitons need to be bigger than recommended in the guidebook.

I had just two offset Alien (red / yellow) and was ok, but for some pin scras I wished I would have more, I would take double set from the smallest size to red / yellow, and therefore leave some other smallies at home.

I was lucky, that I had more than 2 beaks. I needed many of them on the 1st pitch (straight up version), where a head popped and I needed 3 beaks in a row. Also on pitch 8 the last 30 feet require lots of beak placements(or heads). Here a cheater stick would help a lot!

The pitch with the most fixed gear is the Mark of Zorro. This one should go quick. Otherwise you will find some fixed pieces here or there, we could not get out our pitons at top of Black Tower pitch, and there are fixed cams in the Nipple pitch traverse as well.

For Hooks I had one Grappling Hook, a Talon, a Skyhook and two medium and big Cam Hooks, with that you will probably be ok.

For pitch 14 two pieces of 4" might be too little if you do not free climb it, we had more than that and it payed off.

I hope that helped and you have a good time on Zodiac.

For my detailled report and pics you can se my website: [http://www.gerhardschaar.com]

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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
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   Jul 3, 2006 - 11:31pm
clusterie,
I haven't been on it recently, but the new(er) supertopo was made pre-cleanup. It didn't change since the first addition. Seems like the standard C3 El Cap rack plus some pins and heads. Recent ascents claim to have nailed more beaks then the ST rack suggests.

not to state the obvious but it sounds like a clean rack with an emphisis on offsets and thin gear should suffice. you can always hand place pins, and those big BD peckers are like freakin thin-crack hooks.

nice job on the clean ascent gentaro!
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gentaro

Trad climber
portland, or
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   Jul 3, 2006 - 06:20pm
We had pretty close to the suggested rack from the old Supertopo; doubles or triples from black alien upwards plus a double set of hybrid aliens, and double sets of hooks and cam hooks. The only additional gear I would have brought is one or two more fat pieces for pitch 14 (we had one Metolius #10 and old style BD #'s 4 and 4.5)... but then again, I might not remember it as vividly if I had sewed it up.
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clustiere

Trad climber
berkeley ca
Jul 2, 2006 - 03:33pm
 
Hey there me again just wondering what the rack these days would look like and I was wondering if the ST was from post clean up? Great job on your sends, congrats.
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gentaro

Trad climber
portland, or
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   Jun 26, 2006 - 10:54pm
Climbed the route two weeks ago and it went clean for us, thanks mostly to doubles in hybrid aliens and cam hooks. It seemed fairly clean of fixed gear, even though there were some fixed heads that we bypassed by stepping high in aiders.
Some fixed pieces I was quite glad to have, though, were: a threaded cord at the right edge of the roof on pitch 3 (never got the f-ing ballnut to stick-- hooked to the right), two--ironically-- fixed ball nuts with loops of cord on the Nipple (before it gets wide), and the bolt right at the nipple. I don't think my partner minded the bomber pin about 15-20 feet above the Black Tower, either, but I can't speak for him.
Fixed stuff that surprised us by it's absence: no bolts under "sharp" roof on pitch 8 (went left to S.S. anchors, then up), no P's at the beginning of pitch 12 (I sleep with my cam hooks under my pillow nowadays), no bolts on pitch 14 (yes, we should have known), and no fixed sling towards the top of the last pitch... but an amazing top out anyway!!
Thanks to the Cleaning Crew for hauling all the crap off of the route but still keeping it moderate, and most of all huge thanks to Ben, the best partner I could have had on my first trip up the Captain.
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StyMingersfink

climber
Mar 27, 2006 - 09:24pm
 
There were so few copperheads on the direct P1 variation because when I re-installed the pitch in Sept. 2005 I utilized peckers instead of copperheads. ;) One of them held a 15 footer with no problem.


and BTW, Karl... On the first post-cleaning ascent you were mentioning, the nipple pitch was accomplished by leep-frogging two cam-hooks to the bolt at the nipple. No additional gear was necessary! (There was a fixed LA in the corner above the anchor with a broken eye, and a fixed astro-nut about 10' from the nipple bolt. Otherwise, when you get above the Huber anchors, step down in your ladders and clip one of the chains. {This should prevent you from swinging too hard into your belayers and the open dihedral should a cam-hook pop... :) } Be sure to leave lower-out slings for your cleaner.
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Mike.

climber
Feb 1, 2006 - 02:26pm
 
Good work, martin et al.

RE: "What happened": 1) Some frightened or ill-equipped individual drilled retro bolts on the pitch. 2) Some unscrupulous, apathetic or ignorant individual replaced those bolts. 3) The pitch was restored to it's original hole count.
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martin fickweiler

Big Wall climber
rotterdam, the netherlands
Jan 27, 2006 - 12:23pm
 
Gerke Hoekstra and I did the climb in 2004. This year we made a winter ascent in January, the route has changed a lot. Hardly any copperheads in the direct start, had to place six. No bolts on the pitch from Penutledge. What happend?
By the way, I liked the route much better this time, much more adventure!

The Dutch team.
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piglicker

Trad climber
Cubage Patch
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   Oct 21, 2005 - 07:09pm
* Loose Flakes on straight line between belay 14 and belay 15. *

I remembered I was going to mention this here when I got down. If you look at this person's Zodiac picture site:

http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/yosemite/zodiac-wurzer/

you can see the flakes that I was concerned about above the belayer. We were a team of 3, and I jugged the haul line from 14 to 15 to lead 16. In the process, I jugged basically straight up from belay 14, which brought me directly over these flakes. I was *very* scared that I was going to drop these flakes on my wife who was waiting below to clean p. 15.

Has this ever been an issue for other Zodiac parties of 3 (or more)? Anybody have any feedback on this at all? The topos have beta for parties of 1 or 2, but don't have much to say about what to watch out for if there are concerns for parties of 3, where there will be someone jugging a free line that may run over different terrain.
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piglicker

Trad climber
Cubage Patch
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   Oct 2, 2005 - 06:00pm
Hi clustiere,

Our cheater stick is a 6' tent pole with a fifi hook duct taped to the end. A sling coming off the fifi allows the user to make about 2 moves up to the piece being hooked. We had a set of 4 stumps, but only the biggest 3 ever got used: 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4".

I am guessing that Aliens would have been slightly more useful in the pin scars than the TCUs. The sizes of Aliens we had were definitely more useful because of the flexible stem. But TCUs were useful because of the "triple-tracks" created by angles in the pin scars. The key is what direction the crack and scar are pointed - the double cable stem of TCUs doesn't allow them as much flexibility in some directions. We had 2 offset Aliens and 2 blue aliens, and they were all useful, though we broke a trigger wire on one of the offset aliens about mid way, rendering it useless. The flexibility of the stems on some slightly larger Aliens might have allowed us to avoid beating the stumps as much.
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clustiere

Trad climber
berkeley ca
Oct 2, 2005 - 02:32pm
 
sounds goood to go , so how long was yer cheat stick and what number stubbies, If you could remember did the TCUs work as well as the Aliens and were offset aliens usefull. Thanks fer responding to all this junk. I am trying to figgure out if it is worth doing this T direct, or Aquarian, and which would be faster.
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Gabe

climber
Sep 26, 2005 - 09:44pm
 
Nice job piglicker. Hope the climb was more authentic for ya without the X-Tra tat.

I noticed several chopped bolts on peanut above the belay bolts that are still there. Some looked like they may have been 3/8 Bomber. No chance in pullin out there remaining shaft either!...Damn corroded stubs!!......American Patchers!
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piglicker

Trad climber
Cubage Patch
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   Sep 26, 2005 - 03:31pm
Did the Zodiac about 10 days ago with wife and friend (team of 3). It was my second El Cap route, and their first.

One LA, one baby angle, 4 stumpies, and some RURPs and beaks were the only iron used on our ascent. The stumps might have been avoided if we had had some larger Aliens.

A triple set of offsets (both bronze and aluminum) was very handy, and all of them got used, especially on the Nipple pitch, where I think I placed 30 offsets. Wished we had had more Aliens, especially up into the yellow or orange Metolius TCU sizes. The middle of pitch 3 was pretty weird and blank - fifi hook on a cheater stick got us past the weirdness but still found myself hooking in a chopped bolt hole that someone had chipped the epoxy out. There were lots of places where it looked like people had tried to hook on little tiny flakes and pulled them off. Later on, the Fish hook was very helpful.

Brought the big guns for p. 14: 1-3.5, 3-4, 1-5 camalot were all used with good success and without a major runout. Watch out blindly placing large cams - they heads can twist sideways and seem "solid", but will be junk. Last pitch was kind of funky but stumpies came out to save the day. I might have been able to do that pitch clean, but I couldn't tell where the route went at 10:30 at night, and the slab below me was not making me feel that wonderful. Fish hook came in handy on this pitch as well.

The only negative feedback I would have is that the Chopper seemed to have whacked some of the belay bolts. There were always at least 3, but the 14th belay was kind of a turbo-cluster because they were all on top of one another. Pity he/she couldn't have left the damn belays alone, if bolts were chopped from there by him/her. You can see the old holes, some of which would have been much more helpful.

FYI
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billygoat

climber
Pees on beard to seek mates.
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   Jul 28, 2005 - 01:35pm
I agree it is always better style to nail less, but for the record I did not chisel or place any heads by any means. All the heads I encountered were fixed and in good condition. My partner placed a few in pre-existing scars. Many of the pins I placed were beaks and RURPS, and others were LA's. I could've cam hooked past a few of the LA's--probably.

Oh yeah, I tought I should probably add that we did not use or cary a stick clip (I have strong reservations about their use outside of sport climbing). From what I've heard, some parties have been carrying one in order to avoid some nailing. This could certainly come in handy on pitch three, and probably a few other spots--but everyone would think less of you for it.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Jul 26, 2005 - 11:07am
It's cool that Billygoat sent the climb and was honest about the style, which was great except for nailing 30 times. The first party to climb Zodiac after the cleanup nailed less than a half dozen times.

While the cleanup did many good things, it has unfortunately given many folks license to nail and head without second thoughts. Some folks have actually been chiseling head placements.

How the community deals with this condition on Zodiac is up in the air. Either folks should wait for more wall experience before heading up the route, or folks should leave all heads fixed and maybe a few pins too.

I'll agree that to get the Nipple clean, it's great to have an arsenal of Hybrid Aliens and HB offsets. It could be heavily cam hooked but you'd have to rig tricks for your second to clean it.

Peace

Karl
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billygoat

climber
Pees on beard to seek mates.
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   Jul 12, 2005 - 09:36pm
We topped out Zodiac on Sunday (7/10/05), and found the route to be in perfect condition (depite water dripping from Shortest Straw). Big tumbs up to the clean-up crew. They have done a truly excellent thing: restore Zodiac to as close to its original condition as possible. Talking with Gabe in the meadows after our ascent was awesome. We were told only about seven parties have topped out since the clean up. Twenty plus have bailed. In otherwords, climbing Zodiac is no joke!

I would highly recommend bringing the pinns on the supertopo's gear list (for once they haven't over racked). We nailed aproximately 30 times. It is possible to nail less, but far more committing. For instance, I took a big fall on the Nipple. That made me rethink doing the pitch clean. Surprisingly, the first pitch went clean with the exception of fixed heads at the beginning and one fixed angle higher up. The key is to cam hook past potential pin placements.

Bolts have been chopped, but not some of the ones folks were expecting. The bolt at the tit is still there. However, there are none on the 14th pitch. Personally, I think this is the way it should be. Gabe's advice to bring three big cams is good. We had 1 ea of #4, 5, and 6 C4s and one red wild country. This works, but I ened up nearly fixing the friend over and over. Two number 4's would have been better, three excellent. Either way, get ready to walk it out, but no worries 'cause the placements are bomber.

Also, be prepared to nail on the third pitch. And be prepared to hook too. Heed this advice, lest you wish to join the bailers. And leave the stick clip at home, lest you wish to cheat yourself of the real experience.

One more piece of beta: double sets of offset aliens went a long way. I used every single one on the nipple, and I could have used more. Tripple would be overkill, but don't heasitate for double. We also had a double set of regular aliens, though we probably could have gotten by with a single set.

If ya'll want more beta, I'd be happy to share. But for now I want to go climbing.

Peace.
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2mas

Sport climber
Norway
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   Jun 21, 2005 - 11:25pm
We did the Zodiac approx a week ago. It's still pretty clean after the big cleanup, but some gear has shown up again. I think we clipped 4-6 newly placed heads, around 6 really old bolts, one new knifeblade and one new rurp. We didn't leave any of our gear behind, and cleaned out a couple of older pieces.

The route is dry during daytime, if the sun is on. When doing the route, one should fix to pitch 3 or 4 and blast at least to 7 on the following day. The pitches below 7 recieve a lot of runoff when the sun isn't showing it's pretty face and of course during the night. Above 7 everything is dry and great!

I think the gear suggested in the supertopo would be good. We had two sawed angles and three lost arrows. We would be a lot faster if we had the right gear.

Good luck!
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2mas

Sport climber
Norway
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   Jun 21, 2005 - 11:25pm
We did the Zodiac approx a week ago. It's still pretty clean after the big cleanup, but some gear has shown up again. I think we clipped 4-6 newly placed heads, around 6 really old bolts, one new knifeblade and one new rurp. We didn't leave any of our gear behind, and cleaned out a couple of older pieces.

The route is dry during daytime, if the sun is on. When doing the route, one should fix to pitch 3 or 4 and blast at least to 7 on the following day. The pitches below 7 recieve a lot of runoff when the sun isn't showing it's pretty face and of course during the night. Above 7 everything is dry and great!

I think the gear suggested in the supertopo would be good. We had two sawed angles and three lost arrows. We would be a lot faster if we had the right gear.

Good luck!
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up2top

climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 9, 2005 - 12:11am
 
Anyone done this route recently? Has it seen much traffic this season? I'm interested to hear if anyone has been able to do it clean, yet, since the clean up.

Ed
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Jun 6, 2005 - 06:02pm
Horsetail falls is now dry .. i was looking for it this weekend .. could not find it
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Coffeeman

Trad climber
Corvallis, OR
Jun 6, 2005 - 04:17pm
 
Does anyone know how wet Zodiac is, specifically the first and last couple pitches? Are the falls soaking it pretty bad or is it climbable? Also, is the nipple still pierced or has that bolt be removed?

Thanks
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Gabe

Social climber
Corvallis, OR
Mar 15, 2005 - 02:07pm
 
The rack for the Zodiac has changed a bit after the clean-up last September. I would recommend bringing a double rack of aliens,(they fit nicely into old pin scars) 3-4 beaks are plenty, a few heads (there are only two or three head placements on the entire route)a very small pin rack may help (the first party to send after it was cleaned said they only nailed a couple of times). All bolts on p.14 were removed. I recommend three #4 camalots. Have fun, and let's keep the trash off all our climbs.
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oldskool

Trad climber
eugene, or
Mar 14, 2005 - 07:41pm
 
i was wondering if anyone knew if the rack has changed for zodiac since the cleaning? also do you think this would be a ok route to get on with marginal weather, possibly some snow and rain.
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oldskool

Trad climber
eugene, or
Mar 14, 2005 - 07:41pm
 
i was wondering if anyone knew if the rack has changed for zodiac since the cleaning? also do you think this would be a ok route to get on with marginal weather, possibly some snow and rain.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Oct 18, 2004 - 05:22pm
Some piece of beta that came to mind recently ..

p15 and p16 will link if you are soloing the route (if you have a partner there might be too much rope drag). --

If you do link these pitches, plan to backclean such that your rope stretches to the anchors.

I failed to backclean enought pieces and reached the belay with about 5' of lead line left. (I was lucky to be climbing with a 65 meter rope).
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kfons

Trad climber
Madison, WI
Aug 28, 2004 - 09:18am
 
I think the cleanup for the most part is great, however, I am worried about it too.
I am worried that the super cleaning may result in even worse conditions or possible permanent damage Many of the people heading up there may not be very good at placing heads, beaks, etc and may either damage the route or end up placing crap gear / heads or more bolts. Sometimes it might be better to leave that bolt instead of taking it out and forcing the party to use a hammer, that they may not be very good with, and end up breaking off rock, flakes, ...

Just a thought ...

Keep up the good work.

Kevin
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Wade Icey

Social climber
Madison, WI
Aug 27, 2004 - 03:49pm
 
Yo Hey-

Recent update on the Zodiac cleanup- I just received a call from the American Chopperhead himself. Here are the facts as of 8/28/04 noon.
five pitches fixed
pitches 1-5 have a total of 6 fixed pieces remaining
pitches 1-3 7 bolts have been removed
all fixed heads removed from 1st pitch variant
some fat 3/8 recently replaced anchors are deteriorating quickly due to repeated rapping and hauling (Opposite forces on the hangers)

the team is resting up at the deli- work will recommence tomorrow on the meat of the project, pitch five.

Chopperhead notes that a 1/2 full shopping bag of fixed mank has been accumulated thus far "and it's going to get a lot worse."

He also states that "the character of the route is already definately different." and that aspirants should include beaks, heads and... "they'd better know what they're doing."
A detailed report will be issued by the principals upon completion of the project.

over and out,

Wade Icey- editor at large. SEND Magazine
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Aug 26, 2004 - 05:37pm
Ammon made a pretty informative post on the clean-job on zodiac

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=844356#844356
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david_webb_aus

Big Wall climber
Canberra Australia
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   Aug 19, 2004 - 05:28pm
It has not been confirmed but I believe that Zodiac has been cleaned of heads and pitons and unneeded bolts. It was cleaned so that only bolts and bolted belays that were placed or made on the first ascent. If this is true then be prepared to bring lots of heads and pitons for this route in the future. If anyone has more info post it.
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david_webb_aus

Big Wall climber
Canberra Australia
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   Aug 14, 2004 - 04:48pm
Hi there All,
Just finished Zodiac Yesterday and found the route as good as I thought it was going to be. Just some info on the route, pitch three has a fixed head missing know my partner took a fall and ripped it it has not been replaced. Pitch Twelve had some expando on it just before you swing to the right and head to the first bolt. that expando section is now missing as I pulled it off when I fell. you need to hook the horn to the right to get to the bolts. In relation to the sun. We found we started climbing in the morning around 0630 and got into the sun around about 1100h and stayed in the sun till around 1630h. The last note is do not try to use the bolts you see to the right and left of the route as you go up these were placed by the Huber brothers or Tommy Caldwell (I think dont quote me) If you get onto these you will get off route and get stuck stick with the supertopo route info and you will be right. We left about 18 litres of water at the top on thursday 13 August
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up2top

climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 18, 2004 - 02:27pm
 
Hehe. Looks like I better bring the Crisco. CUZ I'M CLIMBIN THAT F U KER!!!!!
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Jun 18, 2004 - 03:08am
ed:

.. zodiac has about the worst sun/shade ratio on el cap .. goes into the sun early in the morning .. and stays in the sun until about 1 hour before sunset

    ricardo
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up2top

climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 18, 2004 - 02:02am
 
Anyone know when the sun hits the route in the AM, and what time of the day it goes back into the shade this time of year? Looks like it's going to be hot next week and I'm wondering if it's feasible to wait for the cooler parts of the day to climb it.

Ed
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retired

Trad climber
Phoenix, AZ
Apr 26, 2004 - 10:41pm
 
climbed Zodiac april 9-11. Great route! couple of comments: the bolt ladder shown leading to pitch 8 belay has been chopped, small nuts and cam hooks will work there. we climbed under a steady stream which was coming out of the route above pitch 13, it felt refreshing when the sun was out but a bit worrisome when you would be suddenly sprinkled during the middle of the night. the wind pushed the water around a lot and it never seemed to hit you for long but a bivy sack is a good idea even if the weather looked great. Horsetail falls never came as far west as we were.
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Kindredlion

Big Wall climber
4hrs too far from YNP
Mar 17, 2004 - 02:16pm
 
hm...

thanks guys... I will have to think about if that will work for me... I am already limited with time this weekend...

Maybe I'll just bask in the rays on southern man or south central...

thanks again guys...
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Nanook

climber
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   Mar 17, 2004 - 01:59pm
Actually the falls are doing some wierd stuff this days with strong easterly winds at the higher elevations. The beginning of the route has been uncharacteristically clear of water, though with the falls blowing around so much when it does come back West it packs a punch. The route goes now, for sure. Just be extra-careful to get past pitches two and three (ideally hauling from the ground to the top of pitch four) as fast as possible.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Mar 17, 2004 - 01:13pm
the falls are pumping. the first 3 pitches will be wet until about 11am when the wind moves the water east. around 6pm the water will come back onto the route.

so you have to work with that window on the first 3 pitches. after that you are in the clear.
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Kindredlion

Big Wall climber
4hrs too far from YNP
Mar 17, 2004 - 12:40pm
 
Anyone have any beta on the amount of water soaking the route from the falls? Think I might try to blast off this Friday... 3/19


Should I just keep my arse on the column for another week?

nudge nudge
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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
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   Mar 13, 2004 - 06:32pm
Grey is a color, circle is a shape. Look closely at the picture. Have fun ;-)
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yana

Big Wall climber
Japan
Mar 13, 2004 - 08:24am
 
I have a one qestion,the "GRAY CIRCLE" in the supertopos.
what's that meaning?Please tell me for that.
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malabarista

Trad climber
Japan
Oct 25, 2003 - 02:20am
 
Just got off the Zodiac, my first route on el cap. It blew my mind.

We climbed it clean made possible using TCU's, HB offsets, Alien Offsets, various hooks (especially cam hooks) and Lowe balls (blue and red).

I did not have to use a cheater stick on pitch 8. I followed a higher line than the chopped bolts and used a talon hook to get past.

Thanks much to Ricardo, who inpired me to try this route, and to the Huber brothers who gave us extra water when we were low due to the heat!
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Sep 29, 2003 - 12:11pm
Solo'ed this route on 9/20 - 9/26 .. (my first big wall) ..

the only place where a cheat stick was essential for me was on the missing bolts on top of pitch 8 .. (as you traverse onto the crack that enters the grey circle) .. the parties ahead of me also cheat sticked through this section

tons of fixed gear on route .. specially the upper half of the wall ..

my most memorable moment was rappelling back down to the previous station on the upper half of the wall .. you always end up hanging in space .. its terryfiyng ..

    ricardo
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Nanook

climber
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   Sep 25, 2003 - 12:23pm
as of 10/03 there are still several bolts missing on Zodiac that are shown on the Supertopo....but people are gettin by:)
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   May 27, 2003 - 08:58pm
hey, just a heads up. the webbing on the anchors of the first eight pitches of the zodiac have been replaced with steel quick links.

quick links are stronger and lower profile than massive quantitles of webbing.

if you need to retreat, thread your rope through the quick links--please don't add webbing

c
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Nanook

climber
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   May 22, 2003 - 05:31pm
Tips from April '03 ascent of Zodiac:
Pitch 1 cam hooks are less secure than the rest of the route. If you can do pitch 1 clean it will only get (mostly)easier.
Pitch 2 belay is the first haul--less than fifty meters to the deck. Hauling to pitch 1 is no fun because then you have to lower the bag out a lot(and haul it up again).
Pitch 3 bolt ladder is reachy, including a couple reaches from bolts to fixed heads. So if you're taller than your partner, do them a favor and take this one.
Pitch 8 does not have as many bolts as are on the topo and there are a couple reachy moves between fixed heads.
Pitch 9 rivet in the middle of pitch is missing.
Pitch 12 is reachy and not that easy.
Remember that Zodiac is shorter than the Nose or Lurking Fear, but not nearly as easy, climbing-wise. Have fun!
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Bob Jacobson

Advanced climber
Jul 10, 2002 - 12:26pm
 
Was at base July 5th 2002. Watch out for the Rattlesnake(s)
Saw one near start of Pitch One hiding in the Talus.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Jul 8, 2002 - 03:00pm
Just got off Zodiac June 25th. Route was not very fixed but we managed it clean with cam hooks, aliens and offsets.

Wanna run pitches 5 and 6 together without having to make freeclimbing moves after backcleaning 35 feet? You probably do want to run the pitches together since Dead End Ledge hasn't got the greatest anchor set-up for hauling. I just clipped the Dead End Anchors when I decided I didn't want to stop there and lowered off to back clean the traversing bits above the bolt ladder. Didn't take nearly as long as the second would have taken to clean it on jugs and I reduced rope drag for making it to the pitch 6 anchors.

Pictures and trip report on my site at

http://member.newsguy.com/~climbing/El_Cap_Zodiac_20_years.html

Peace

karl
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Apr 14, 2002 - 12:24am
i agree. the tower will give you a tast for some of the exposure but the climbing is not all that difficult compared to zodiac. ten days after is probably the best preparation for zodiac. the prow is also good: harder than the tower but easier than ten days after.
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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
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   Apr 14, 2002 - 12:13am
Yes, but expect much trickier clean aid on Zodiac. The Tower is a beautiful wall all around, go for it!
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RockMD

Big Wall climber
Arizona
Apr 11, 2002 - 10:26pm
 
I have a question. Does anyone think that leaning tower is a good warmup wall for the Zodiac?
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Chris mcNamara

Advanced climber
Arizona
Apr 11, 2002 - 02:21pm
 
zodiac will be wet on the first three pitches in the morning and evening due to drip/tiny waterfall. between 10am and 6pm a consistent breeze should blow the drip to the east and leave pitches 1-3 dry. if you time it right, everything should go smoothly. after pitch 3, everthing is dry to the summit.
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El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
1800' of fantastic climbing.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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