Trip Report
2011-01 El Cap Base, breaking in a newbie
Thursday February 3, 2011 7:59pm
Folks, no major adventures here, but some impressive showing for a dude on his 1st ever day climbing cracks and 2nd time ever climbing outside!

It all began late one night as we pulled into central station. No waiting for a campsite!

We slept where we fancied:

We opted for the easy way out and bought breakfast in the cafeteria rather than mess up this beauty:

Perfect conditions on the backside of Columbia boulder:

We had to keep an eye on these dudes or they would try to steal our snacks. Winter's tough:

We decided to look for life at the base of El Cap, because we were lonely at Camp 4:

But we had to stop for some artistry on the way:

Boy that rock do look purdy, and my new point and shoot can zoom pretty well! But no bodies to be found here

Except this one:

Here's le_bruce and I getting ready to do battle:

And bing:




and there we go...

And here's our newbie hero on his first ever crack, Moby Dick Center, with Ahab looking all juicy in the background:

Some moves he looked like pro:

Others not:

But look at that mix of suffering and bliss, I think he's addicted now:

Even this...

Couldn't dampen this

And then my main hombre brought up the rear:

But just one pitch was not enough, and I'd never been above that, so onward and upward

And then a rap from the tower:

And he took this picture from the ground looking back up at us. Moby Dick left is tantalizing:

And Little John Right is pretty cool too:

Here's from above:

And then it was time for le_bruce to set off into the great wide open:

Not exactly sure which way to go, but he committed this way and it worked out:

Toward the end of Little John Right, El Cap Base
Toward the end of Little John Right, El Cap Base
Credit: nutjob

With a cool little step-across:

About then a flood of cold air started rolling into the bottom end of the valley from the high country. It revealed its path to us:

And then from one minute:

To the next, we were enveloped:

Time to pack up and hit the road:

A little frozen fog catching on the flash:

And another wonderful day snatched from the jaws of winter!

Good times.

  Trip Report Views: 4,159
About the Author
nutjob is a climber from Berkeley, CA.

Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
'Cause I speak of the pompetous of love

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Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:09pm PT
Nice great pics nothing better than spending a little time on El cap Cool stuff
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:15pm PT
Right on, Nutjob! TFPU, man!!
Gotta love those days. Nicely done.
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:21pm PT
Your trip reports are always worth checking, THANKS

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:40pm PT

Wow, second time out and he's craggin' on El Cap.

that's so awesome!


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:53pm PT

Hey, any ice falling from above?

  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:59pm PT


30 mins. from suicide USA
  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:59pm PT
looks like a blast....good job.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Author's Reply  Feb 3, 2011 - 08:59pm PT
Ice falling... there were actually a couple of hardcore looking ladies who decided not to climb there that day out of concern for falling ice. I'm guessing they were local and were more picky than us.

There were little specs falling, but I didn't hear any major chunks at all through the day. I think a marble-sized mushy piece hit me on the shoulder or helmet once.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 3, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
Awesome Pics nut job, thanks for sharing, way to kill it in the snow!

Trad climber
  Feb 3, 2011 - 10:50pm PT
great pix.

i dont know about the hat.

Gym climber
  Feb 3, 2011 - 11:11pm PT
Sights for sore eyes. And MDC first crack ever? Hence the "pulling open the crack" technique. You assassins! Thanks!!!xn
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Feb 3, 2011 - 11:36pm PT
this is a great trip report and great time

Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
  Feb 3, 2011 - 11:40pm PT
Way to pull out of winter for a few hours.

Trad climber
  Feb 3, 2011 - 11:48pm PT
Ahab "looking juicy"-- maybe from ABOVE! LOL
That left side is pretty fun too.

Random Nobody
  Feb 4, 2011 - 12:04am PT
Bad F*#king Ass!!!!

That's what its all about.

Getting a newbie out there on a solid fun crack in the middle of winter, and walking away with great memory and a smile...

Thanks for the post nut!!!

Cheers to the trio

Big Wall climber
  Feb 4, 2011 - 12:27am PT
hey nutjob, thanks for the tr, great pics from bivy to gastoning to fogathon. ss
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 4, 2011 - 01:07am PT
Gotta love Little [Howard] John[son's] - spent a few nights bivi'd up there before launching.

Cool photos and unusual [for me] wintertime angles of the sun, much lower than I'm accustomed to.

See you on the bridge in the spring, eh?

Trad climber
Phoenix, AZ
  Feb 4, 2011 - 01:58am PT
Looks like you guys had a blast. I'll bet none of you will forget this trip soon. Good stuff! And now the rest of us know when to hit camp 4:-)

Trad climber
Northern California
  Feb 4, 2011 - 03:30am PT
Dang! Awesome TR-- thanks for sharing!

  Feb 4, 2011 - 03:43am PT
Fantastic, thanks for sharing this!

  Feb 4, 2011 - 09:31am PT
Cool stuff, literally.

In front of my computer
  Feb 4, 2011 - 09:50am PT
First time crack climbing ever is on El Cap? You've ruined him for life!

Looks like everyone had a blast. Great post!

Jay Hack

Trad climber
Detroit, Michigan
  Feb 4, 2011 - 10:15am PT
That got me so psyched, thanks for the winter stoke!
this just in

Justin Ross from North Fork
  Feb 4, 2011 - 10:51am PT
Gotta love those winter crowds. Nice climbing bros!!!
seth kovar

Reno, NV
  Feb 4, 2011 - 10:58am PT
Awesome!!! tfpu, good stuff

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Feb 4, 2011 - 11:13am PT
Moby Dick Center was the first time I touched Yosemite rock in 1978. It was really slippery in RR's, I was "burning rubber" all the way up!
Denise Umstot

Princess of the El Cap Bridge!
  Feb 4, 2011 - 11:25am PT
Sweet TR! One of my first climbs was Little John! Way to get after it and have fun :)
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Feb 4, 2011 - 11:50am PT
great TR, thank you.

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
  Feb 4, 2011 - 11:58am PT

Way to get out there in the winter! Those pictures were great and looks like you guys had a great time! Isn't that what it's all about? Oh, hell yeah!!!


Gym climber
  Feb 4, 2011 - 12:16pm PT
Great pic of Middle, and way to reel 'em in!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Feb 4, 2011 - 12:26pm PT
Thanks for posting.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Feb 4, 2011 - 12:51pm PT
Climbing content-check

El Capitan-check

Lotsa climbing pix-check



Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Jan 14, 2015 - 05:12pm PT
Bump... I was just re-reading this a few days ago, and then le_bruce separately reminded me of the same day.

Nature wears so many beautiful faces, and this year she cooperated to help make a dream possible for Kevin and Tommy, firmly planting a major milestone in the annals of climbing history. But 4 years ago around this same time, it was all buried under a peaceful white blanket and nobody was around except a few average Joes messing around. And of course Kevin and Tommy were up there somewhere kicking ass.

right here, right now
  Apr 11, 2017 - 08:35am PT
Bumped into this thread looking for pictures of cloud phenomena.

All hail the N00B!
Nut: how's he progressing? Update!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Feb 28, 2019 - 09:23am PT
Bump for winter weather.

Monterey, Ca
  Mar 3, 2019 - 08:51am PT
Holy sh#t.

I lurched forward in my seat and laughed in response to the words, "Moby Dick."

Such good pictures!

The type of TR I aspire to make.


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Mar 3, 2019 - 10:04am PT
Still brings a smile to my face :)

Zay, you are one of the current torch-bearers dude, posting up the goods amidst a shortage of climbing content.

le_bruce, my forearms and crack muscles are a bit weak at the moment, but my core is better than ever. With a little gym commitment, I'll be ready for you to yank me up the Rostrum.

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
  Mar 3, 2019 - 11:12am PT
Sweet action!
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