I'm still hesitant to go up there, I've checked the base a few times in the last couple months and the trees along the bases have gotten clobbered, it's hard to tell if its from the October falls or more recent. It's your life, if you do it climb that ramp pitch fast.
As of October of 2017 the second pitch ramp is in a direct fire zone from unstable blocks coming off the second pitch of t trip. I had to self rescue my friend when he pulled off a 5 foot block on the second pitch of t trip and it clobbered the ramp. Since the new year I have yet to go up there to retrieve my gear, evaluatate the conditions of the flakes in question and reestablish t trip. I do not recommend climbing the tree route until then. I identified one twenty foot section peeling off and anouther at least as large has been seen falling off that section above the ramp. I'd also be cautious around the base in that area as well.
We just climbed to El Cap Tree two days ago. Nice Route and went without any problems.
Noteable about the bolt ladder on the first pitch especially for beginners might be that there are ONLY bolts and no clips so make sure you bring 5-7 rivet hangers (or use your nut wires).
You can rap from the second belay anchors in an emergency. There are two old buttonhead bolts roughly 40 ft below and 15 feet to climbers left. With a small swing you can get ahold of the anchor.
I saw this anchor while cleaning the second pitch and it was getting late so I rapped down to it. The left leeper hanger is spinning a little but the right buttonhead with smc hanger was holding tight. Left a nut and cam to back it up. Two 60m ropes made it to the bottom with no issues.
I would not suggest using this old anchor. Only in an emergency situation.
At the time of the El Cap tree FA Steck had a 10" 78 rpm disk, on the back of which was piece which included the words: Here's a "real opportunity" for somebody; it's got to be....somebody else, not me!
We'd challenge each other with "Here's a real opportunity for you,
Steck/Swift!" whenever confronted with a pitch we didn't want to lead ourself.
As noted below make sure you've got an idea how to pendulum, because you swing left off the first bolt at the top of the 3rd class.
Moving around the arete was what I thought was the crux. You can use a double length sling girthed on the flake for good pro, so you don't swing back into the corner in a fall.
Only about 1 of 4 bolts on the bolt ladder has a hanger. Bring enough wired nuts or rivet/keyhole hangers. A few extra small cams will allow you to protect the climb very well.
Alternate between a medium size hook, e.g. a black diamond cliff hanger, and a large fish hook, e.g. a 3" pika, and the top C2 section is easy. IMO easier than below, where the fall would not be clean.
The free climbing pitches above are easy with short cruxes.
The first pitch is a brilliant aid lead for beginning leaders and cleaners (make sure to have pendulums and hooks understood before jumping on it).
Due to a late start, didnt get to sample the rest of the route.
The party before us (and then ourselves) lost a draw while cleaning the bolt ladder (back cleaning leads to hard tensioning of the rope rightwards so missing a draw will swing you out of its reach). So make sure to be careful cleaning or you will donate booty.
An adventurous 4 pitches of climbing.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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