Trip Report
Working on the Winter El Cap Tan
Monday December 16, 2013 12:41pm
After a quick email promising summer type conditions in the valley, I convinced Jason Wells to book a last minute flight from Boulder to meet me in So Cal. The thought of, "El Cap in December" Psych continued for a couple of days. Although after 14 hours of traveling, for some reason I noticed Jason's mood change a little as we drove past the, "chains required" sign with snow on the road and the car showing 22 degrees temps as we pulled into the campground at 9PM on Friday.
El Cap at 7:30AM on 12/14
El Cap at 7:30AM on 12/14
Credit: Jason Wells
Our original plan of starting the Nose at 7AM quickly dissipated as the lodge opened their doors at 6:30, and we found ourselves trying to warm up with large quantities of coffee.
Temp Reading at 7:25AM at the Meadow
Temp Reading at 7:25AM at the Meadow
Credit: Tim Klein
Unfortunately, the temp gauge wasn't helping with my promise of a guaranteed El Cap Tan.
Tim Klein racking up
Tim Klein racking up
Credit: Jason Wells
Fortunately, an inversion was in the forecast and I kept reiterating that the temp is going to be 30-40 degrees warmer on EC than in the Valley. I kept Jason entertained for the next few minutes as I let my Juggs soak up the fresh heat from the dash board of our car.
8AM on the first pitch of the Nose
8AM on the first pitch of the Nose
Credit: Tim Klein
In usual form, Jason took the sharp end from the get go and short fixed every pitch up to the pitch below the Great Roof while I held onto my jugg's.
On the way to Dolt at 9AM
On the way to Dolt at 9AM
Credit: Tim Klein
Fortunately, at around 9AM the sun hit us and immediately we were able to work on the winter tan.
Pich above Dolt
Pich above Dolt
Credit: Tim Klein
The temps continued to be perfect...as if we were in Hawaii.
Looking down at the frozen Meadow
Looking down at the frozen Meadow
Credit: Tim Klein
We couldn't believe that every hour, the snow plow would come through the Meadow allowing the cars to drive through who would stop to open their window long enough to get a quick photo of the magical stone.
Tim on the pitch under glowering spot.
Tim on the pitch under glowering spot.
Credit: Jason Wells
It was quite surreal to be climbing under perfect temps in the midst of snow all around us. It was great being on lead starting with the Great Roof while Jason would Mini-Traction off my short fix.
Near the top.
Near the top.
Credit: Jason Wells
Tim leading the last pitch
Tim leading the last pitch
Credit: Jason Wells
The winter light was amazing.
Top of the Nose.
Top of the Nose.
Credit: Tim Klein

After topping out, we hit some snow and ice on the descent, but were still able to get down in a couple of hours. Tons better than expected.

Since I didn't need to get home until Sunday night and Jason didn't fly out until 8AM on Monday, we couldn't resist to hitting the SFWC under perfect conditions on Sunday.
The Valley is quite spectacular in December!

  Trip Report Views: 2,606
Tim Klein
About the Author
Tim Klein currently lives in the 5 Star Resort Town of Palmdale, California with his Wife JJ and two boys Levi and Jack.

Comments
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Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Dec 16, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
that happened
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
  Dec 16, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
BITCHEN!

TFPU!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Dec 16, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
Dont you younger peeps realize this was a multi day effort!!!


Seriously though NICE! But im still amazed the nose has become just a lengthy day climb !!!!!!!!
Prod

Trad climber
  Dec 16, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
Awesome.

Prod.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Dec 16, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Nice. and toasty!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Dec 16, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
so nice
BFK

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Dec 16, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
Is this the same Jason that did the Moonlight ascent of the Nose back in October just after the shutdown ended? If so, way to go on yet another NIAD!

I'm the guy you passed who was trying to figure out how to sleep on that ledge below camp 4.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Dec 16, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
Hell yes.

That winter light magic comes through even in the blurry pics.

Had to be finger numbing granite on the first few pitches right?

ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  Dec 16, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
not too shabby
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Dec 16, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Very good job lads...Thanx for sharing.........

Stevo
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Dec 16, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
Now that's what I'm talking about - SWEEET!
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Dec 16, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Woah!

So, how was the descent???
RP3

Big Wall climber
Sonora
  Dec 17, 2013 - 11:00am PT
Fantastic stuff. Looks like a blast! The valley sure is spectacular this time of year.....but shhhhhhhhh!
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Dec 17, 2013 - 11:11am PT
quality experience, no doubt.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Dec 17, 2013 - 11:14am PT
Damn nice work MEN!!
Andy Fielding

Trad climber
UK
  Dec 17, 2013 - 03:06pm PT
Love that glow of the sun on your last pitch picture. Nice report, thanks.
thebravecowboy

climber
in the face of the fury of the funk
  Dec 17, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
rad!
J Wells

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
  Dec 17, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
Ohhh wow, every time we come back to the Valley it just keeps getting better. This was one of the most fun times on the Nose yet. BK, yes that was us in October. It was nice talking to you! How did the rest of your trip go?
Regarding temps, with the car thermometer reading 20F Saturday morning and snow covering the road, I felt justified in mentioning to Tim that temps for the first few pitches might be a bit chilly. He promptly replied that it would be no problem for him since he had heated up his ascenders with the car heater.
Credit: J Wells
We were prepared for an epic descent, but the rope didnít get used once and we had all kinds of fun slipping on snow and occasional ice. The slabs before the fixed lines were snow covered so we did take a little detour there.
I was able to convince Tim that night climbing in December really might not be all that fun, which meant that we got to enjoy some post El Cap beers while looking at moonlit snow and cliffs all around us. We arose at the crack of dawn the next day, or 7am, and quickly bolted for ... the Lodge! Wow, these winter trips are luxurious. We spent 2 hours at the Lodge cracking jokes and getting wired on Peets coffee. Tim brought up that I have never climbed the South Face of the Column during the daylight and convinced me that it really might be a quite enjoyable during the day. Another stellar winter Valley sunset and we were on our way to Tim's house in So Cal, which we hit by 10pm.
Unexpected low fog layer as we departed for home
Unexpected low fog layer as we departed for home
Credit: J Wells


McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
  Dec 17, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
Amazing!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Dec 17, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
Wow!
Way to go boys!!!!
That's darn quick!
sullly

Trad climber
  Dec 17, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Handsome. No shirts. What's not to like?!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Dec 17, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
Sh#t howdy . . . gettin' 'er done.
JOEY.F

Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
  Dec 17, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
Magic!
Enjoyed your TR very much.
Jim Herson

climber
Emerald Hills, CA
  Dec 18, 2013 - 10:21am PT
No rain? You guys are off your game. Good job managing to have fun anyway.

Great job! Nice cool down on the SFWC. The civilized 10pm return home was unfortunate but otherwise an outstanding weekend!

-Jim
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Dec 18, 2013 - 10:41am PT
Good job!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Dec 18, 2013 - 10:44am PT
Oh California.... <3
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Jan 24, 2014 - 06:12pm PT
TUBES OF EFICENCY,,,BOY HOWDY,,,
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