El Cap Hilton, base of Scorched Earth
This is photo #3 in a series of 32. You can click here to return to Photo #1.
This is a shot of the world-class El Cap Hilton. For a minimal fee [a twenty-minute hike from the road - more when carrying a pig], you get a roomy, soft and flat area to prepare your gear. It's high enough above the river and marsh grasses that the mosquito problem is negligible, at least in the late summer when we were there. Bears and other odd creatures of the night like ringtail cats and spotted skunks will get your food, though, so make sure you hang it from the trees or your fixed lines.
"Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok, [PTPP] still groggy from lack of coffee, is pondering how to get all our gear into two pigs, a piglet and a Blue Whale. This was our blast-off point for Scorched Earth. Not shown is most of the climbing gear, already up at our Advance Base Camp at the top of pitch 2.
The bags in the tree at the far left edge of the photo are hanging from the haul line, which goes straight up to the P2 ledge, 58 metres above. You can see from the position of the rope that the wall starts off very overhanging, and it never lets up until the last two or three pitches. It's the steepest part of El Cap, between Native Son and the Tangerine Trip.
At the middle right of the photo is a 16-inch (400mm) plywood cam I made for the Leavittator, the notoriously WIDE offwidth pitch that follows the right side of the enormous Golden Finger of Fate, a four-hundred-foot high rather detached pinnacle.
[What a load of crrrrrrap, eh? "You must alvays have a vell-organicized belay." I'm doing my best to minimize the clusterf*ckage, and somehow make our loads ready for hauling. This always takes ya longer than ya think, eh?
[Just to the right you see the blackened wall next to the fireplace. According to Chongo, Scorched Earth is so named because the original start [which we did not attempt] begins in the fireplace[!] Campfires are no longer permitted at the base of El Cap, and neither is camping. While you're fixing, you need to either bivi on the wall, or return to the Valley. Technically, this could mean hanging your ledge from a rivet five feet off the ground, though I'm not sure this BWT has yet been tested with the rangers! - Pete]
You can click here to move to the next photo in the show - hope you're not afraid of snakes!
|Photo Location:||North_America: United_States: California: Yosemite_National_Park: Yosemite_Valley: El_Capitan|