Scorched Earth A4 5.8

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Scorched Earth interview with Randy Leavitt
Tuesday February 22, 2011 3:57pm
scorched earth interview with Randy Leavitt on 2/22/2011

Rob Slater had scoped it. He actually had the name picked before he saw the line and I liked it as well. (its a civil war reference).

"Lefebure" was hottest woman Rob had seen. No relevance to the route. He just had the name and wanted to use it. so it got used on the first new pitch of the climb.

Big Brother was the hardest pitch which is reference to 1984 Orwell book

Steeper Than God is the steepest pitch i had done on El Cap. Maybe one of the steepest pitches on El Cap. It probably overhangs 50 feet."

The Poison Pill was extremely scary. I was surprised to hear it is still there! I wouldn't aid that pitch these days because i value my life more than putting cams behind a loose block. After climbing Wyoming Sheep Ranch in 1984, Rob went to work at the Chicago Board of Trade to try and get rich. The Poison Pill is a reference to his line of work. It is something you put in a deal to prevent a hostile takeover"

Son of Poison Pill was maybe even looser but it was easier to weight the rock around it.

Walt Shipley and Toy Johnson had started on Native Son right before we started. We had independent starts but we thought we were racing for the upper pitches. Luckily, it turned out we had scoped different lines. They took the Finger of Fate while we went to the right to the Leavittator. It all worked out, but for a moment there we though we were racing for a first ascent.

On the Leavittator my biggest cam was 6" homemade Yaniro cam. I would then put it against wood blocks (something I learned on Excalibur). I would free climb, sometimes up to 5.11, then hang on the cam. I ran it our because didn't have much gear. It was one of my most memorable leads. It was mostly 8-inches - a bit of a scary size. Often the most memorable pitches are offwidths because you can't fake your way up a 8-inch crack when your biggest piece is 6 inches. Today, with monster cams, that pitch is probably C1.

Farewell Yosemite was named because it was Robs last big Yosemite climb. There was nothing left he really wanted to big wall climbing in Yosemite. You spend enough time on the wall and feel like you've done enough. Its not that interesting. Its not new territory anymore. We both wanted to find new territory.

Randy taught rob to BASE jump but they were not big jumping partners because randy was on fed probation for getting busted after climbing El Cap and jumping off.

Lost in American was a great line. If you look at it in morning light, can see the whole thing connect. I like to see a line. Scorched Earth doesn't really have that kinda line, but it has really cool parts of the wall connected to Aurora and Tangerine Trip.

Rob was favorite climbing partner. We just always had a really good time.

  Trip Report Views: 1,763
Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on earth had been spent on the face of El Capitan – an accomplishment that left friends and family pondering Chris’s sanity. He has climbed El Capitan more than 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that asks the question, “Why?”

Outside Magazine has called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He is the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced more than 5000 dangerous anchor bolts. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and serves on the board of the ASCA and the Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains BASEjumpingmovies.com, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

Comments
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Dickbob

climber
Westminster Colorado
  Feb 22, 2011 - 04:10pm PT
Fantastic! I love this kind of stuff. Met Rob on a random rap ledge in eldo. Teamed up our ropes to make it to the ground in one instead of two raps. Much respect for him.
D.Eubanks

Big Wall climber
  Feb 22, 2011 - 06:15pm PT
Good stuff, met Rob at the base of El Cap before they finished the 1st ascent of the Wyoming Sheep Ranch, he was totally friendly and seemed like a good dude. When I read about the tragedy on K2, I was so bummed. I still have the little stuffed sheep him and Barbella left on Wolly Box Bivy.

Much respect to Rob and Randy.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 22, 2011 - 11:00pm PT
Scorched Earth was one of my favourite El Cap routes. Here's a shot of me leading just above one of those nasty detached flakes Randy was talking about above - I'm past the nasty bit which is just visible down low. This pitch is vertical or slightly overhanging, and isn't the slab it appears to be in this photo with the camera turned.



Tom and I put together a 32-page photo trip report on a website years ago, which amazingly STILL WORKS. I just can't believe the links aren't broken, or that the text hasn't become unreadable like so much of the other stuff I had written on there.

Anyway, you can click here to begin a 32-page photo trip report on Scorched Earth:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos/Big_Wall/BFC_s_Big_F_ckin_Cams_for_El_Capitan_5017.html

P.S. Beware of flying pigs!

Cheers,
Pete [and Tom]
BrentA

Gym climber
Roca Rojo
  Feb 22, 2011 - 11:05pm PT
I forget which mag had the Slater interview in it, but it lived on my toilet for years before I climbed this route.

I don't know what attracted me to it.

A very steep line. Not as great as some of it's neighbors, but it was a greater mystery at the time we climbed it.

With more than ten years past, still a great memory. We put up a new pitch in the middle somewhere using a 12' cheater stick. Much prouder, than the stick move on big brother.

Lead Leavitator with two blue tube chocks, leapfrogging...good times.

Hope more people are enjoying this.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Feb 22, 2011 - 11:13pm PT
I love the back story on the pitch names

TFPU!
klaus

Big Wall climber
Pacif*#ka Muthaf*#ka
  Feb 22, 2011 - 11:19pm PT
Nice! Hey I think I know this Toy Johnson guy.
Buju

Big Wall climber
the range of light
  Feb 23, 2011 - 12:09am PT
cool stuff!
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El Capitan - Scorched Earth A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Scorched Earth
Photo: Chris McNamara
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