Trip Report
Lurking Fear - El Cap
Tuesday February 18, 2014 6:28pm
Trip: Yosemite's El Cap - Lurking Fear

Date: 7/8/2012

Trip Report:

The Architect contemplates the task ahead in the Merced River

El Cap, Lurking Fear, C2 5.7 19p. 3 camps on the wall.

Lurching Steers Beta (by Ivan)

We arrived at the base to find that a bear had torn Ivan's gear and supplies a new, slobbery as#@&%e. All that was left were a few unchewed cigarettes, some unpunctured water bottles, and 3 small cans, well coated in saliva (we hope) and dirt. Vienna Sausage, anyone?

Not to worry: we send Ivan down to procure more supplies and toss our garbage. Unfortunately, he tossed three days worth of my food (stowed in a garbage bag) in the dumpster as well.

Large mammals can be a problem in Yosemite.

From the base. Our fixed lines appear at left.

Plumage. This photo, taken after the climb, includes only the gear we took on the wall. Ivan's foam pad, torn to shreds by a playful bear and lovingly reconstructed by a local artist, is on the left.

Our first aborted attempt at hauling the equivalent of a battleship up Lurking Fear's 2,200 vertical feet result in a general order to lighten said ship and shorten our time on the wall from 5 to 3 days. After a redistribution of food wealth I wound up with Ivan's Cambells Chicken and Dumpling Soup, which is basically snot in horse c#m as near as I can tell, as well as several squshels of gummy worms and a North Sea full of Swedish Fish. The Beanie Weenies were self inflicted.

Once we were off the ground, things went relatively smoothly, with only one sleeping bag destroyed and the usual array of trinkets dropped (and some recovered later) en route. All poos were on time and on target, we didn't run out of water (a gallon a day per), and nobody took any giant rides earthward.

Being the newest big waller, I was relegated to leading some C1 and low 5th, removing stuck pro, pig wrangling, and fully exploring the operation of our only belay chair. My trip up the wall was therefore slow, scenic, comfortable, and, with the exception of some strenuous sphincter isometrics while trying not to stare down 50 feet of offwidth runnout, a pleasant way to spend a few long summer days.

A 2:30 am start under moonlight enabled us to arrive at Camp 1 just before dark, thanks to Mike's affinity for combining swinging and climbing. Mike and I played house on our two man ledge while Ivan gently attempted to cajole his Pringling portaledge 80' above. Eventually, the dynamic trio: Ivan, his portaledge, and his sleeping bag, produced a white mushroom cloud of down fail, punctuated by a verbal explosion that cut through the darkness like the shriek of a Valkyrie betrayed.

I still hear echoes of that mournful cry every time I see a can of Beanie Weenies.

Mike jugging P4

Pat leading P5 (by Ivan)

Mike leading the P7 traverse

Double butt shot, P8. 50' of runnout on this offwidth - not a problem for the swallows who were flying in and out of it, though (by Ivan)

Camp1 for 2, below P10. You really can poo where you sleep if you're careful. Mike and I spent a pleasant evening here listening to Ivan and potato chipping portaledge destroy his sleeping bag together 80' above us.

Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) at Camp 1, a thousand feet up the wall. Hummingbirds, salamanders, and other quiet little spirits revealed the wall's less intimidating nature on numerous occasions.

Pat ascending back to the P10 anchor from Camp 1 (by Ivan)

Mike responds to a suggestion while on lead

Big Man, Small Umbrella. Temperatures were in the high eighties, but our route enjoyed shade until midday (by Mike)

Ivan practicing his 'long haul' technique - to the ire of his pig wrangler below

Mike on the mantle at the start of P14

Camp 2, P14. I used the belay chair at left to extend my sleeping platform for my feet

A belay chair is a must on a route like Lurking Fear (by Mike)

P 15

I heart hauling. P 17 (by Ivan)

Thanksgiving Ledge (Camp 3, P17)

Thanksgiving Cave

Topping out on P 19

Victory Dancers

Mike rap scouting. Ivan and I followed, each riding a pig. It took us about 6 hours to rap the 13 pitches down the face.

The Bull Whip Effect: the ends of ropes dropped when rapping often exceed the speed of sound and explode

Ivan and his pig fight the urge to swing

Typical clusterFk

3 More Raps

Last rap

Schist, sh#t, and grit

We happy few

The Big Man Upper Pining it wit J Roc

A nice, cool cave on a 90 degree day

Fleetwood Mac's Latest Album Cover: 'Tumors' . We climbed Daff Dome's West Crack on our last day

Descending Daff Dome

Glacier glass (Daff Dome)

Gear Notes:
Belay Chair and umbrella a must.

2 double rope buckets (Fish makes em) would have been exceptionally nice.

A dry bag works well for poo, but one without a burp vent might provide a better ambiance next time.

Fighting the Swing - descent, El Cap
Fighting the Swing - descent, El Cap
Credit: Tvash

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About the Author
Tvash is a climber from Seattle.

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  Feb 18, 2014 - 06:31pm PT
One more time!


Author's Reply  Feb 18, 2014 - 06:34pm PT
Can ya tell I'm home sick today?
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:01pm PT
bump for climbing content.

looks like a fine time was had by all. thanks

  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:02pm PT

Can ya tell I'm home sick today?

Ahhhhhhh. . . that explains it!

KP Ariza

  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:15pm PT
Great job guys! Cool photos as well.

Just curious, why rap the route? Shouldnt take any longer than three hours tops to get to the base of Manure Pile via East Ledges.

Author's Reply  Feb 18, 2014 - 09:11pm PT
Abject stupidity most likely.

Actually, rapping was clearly the way to go. 6.5 hours - all downhill, straight back to our ground gear, less than 2 litres of water each req'd for the trip. Plus, it was spectacular. You're rapping El Cap, EL F*#KING CAP, in a few short hours that fly by like swallows.

For each rap we fixed and sent a scout down first to grab the anchor, then switched to a std double rope rap for the pig wranglers.

It would have taken much longer and much more water to haul all our gear up and over the top, thrutch it all the way down, and clamber back up to the base to fetch our left tings.

In the July heat, which was pushing 95 F the whole time.
KP Ariza

  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:26pm PT
My bad...

Author's Reply  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:31pm PT
We had the discussion. I was leary - rapping presents such wonderful opportunities to fail, but the heat and loads decided it.

Plus, we'd left a couple of ropes used for the first day's fixin' dangling enroute, so there was that.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 18, 2014 - 07:53pm PT
Great description of the Campbell's soup!!
Thank you!!!!!
Looks like a great time wit the boyz!!!!!!!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 18, 2014 - 08:59pm PT
Nice send and report and pics!

Emphatically concur with rapping the route - good call.

Also, the best picture of a Big Wall Frog I have ever seen!

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Feb 18, 2014 - 09:33pm PT
Nice clear pics..beautiful weather...looks like a wonderful climb shared by good company...Thanx for sharing.....


  Feb 18, 2014 - 11:00pm PT
Way to go and great photo's!

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 18, 2014 - 11:12pm PT
Pretty good TR from such a humble climbing area.


Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Feb 18, 2014 - 11:30pm PT
I just read your report tripping out on an Ambiental Trace Mix and it was an awesome.


'Xcept that rapping sh#t always makes me anxious.

The start is a long way to hump wall gear....

Oakland, CA
  Feb 20, 2014 - 06:33pm PT
Nice pics - like the one looking out from T-giving cave. Peaceful feel to it, love that Ribbon area.

Another obvious reason to rap instead of hoof it over the east ledges is the fine view of the Martian landscape. Or is that lunar?

Looking at your partner's pen work on the helmet - is that SS? The f*#k is that about?

Big Wall climber
  Feb 20, 2014 - 06:50pm PT
Great job guys! If you average in the approach and descent with other climbs, you may aswell have done the reticent wall! Well done now start planning the next one!
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Feb 20, 2014 - 10:27pm PT
Awesome pics and report guys. Thanks.

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