El Capitan history (brief)|
"To climb anything on the cliff proper, top to bottom, was about as likely as a trip to the moon. I think it's safe to say that no being before 1950 entertained even a moment's thought about climbing El Cap," wrote Steve Roper in "Camp 4, Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber".
As of 1956 the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome are unclimbed.
The Northwest Face of Half Dome went in 1957 and the nose on El Cap in 1958.
In 1970 Warren Harding made a much-publicised first ascent of the "Wall of the Early Morning Light", up the tallest portion of El Capitan in its southeast side. With Dean Caldwell, he spent 27 nights on the wall, living mostly in tented hammocks designed in coordination with Roger Derryberry. When a 4-day storm rolled in, the National Park Service decided, after 22 days, that the two needed to be rescued. Ropes were lowered, but after much shouting back and forth, retracted. Harding, in his book Downward Bound, recounts what might have happened had the rescue persisted:
"Good Evening! What can we do for you."
"We've come to rescue you!"
"Really? Come now, get hold of yourselves - have some wine."
The Nose 3,000 ft 31 pitches
Rating: 5.9+ A2-
The most popular and historically famous route is The Nose.
From 1950 to 2000, the Nose went from impossible to last great problem to hardest rock climb on the planet to classical alpine rock climb.
The rating 5.9+ A2 is based on using Aid to get around the Great Roof and Changing Corners.
- 1958 - Climed for the first time using siege climing (climb for a few days then retreat to the floor). Over a period of 18 months, Warren "Batso" Harding (5'-5"), Wayne Merry and George Whitmore spent a total of 45 days on the wall. Some 675 pegs and 125 bolts were placed.
To beat a deadline set by the park service Harding spent 14 hours from dusk to dawn, hand drilling 28 bolts in a row by headlamp
- 1960 - Second climb of El Capitan, completed in 6 and 3/4 days by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost.
- 1969 - First solo climb of the Nose by T. Bauman.
- 1975 - Nose is climbed for the first time in a single day by John Long, Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay.
- 1993 - Lynn Hill, America's premier rock climber, makes first free ascent of The Nose. Her first attempt was stopped only on Changing Corners by a piton jammed in a critical finger hold. After removing the piton she re-climbed the route from the ground reaching the summit in 4 days.
In August Hans Florine solos the nose in 14:10.
- 1999 - Most parties take three days to climb The Nose and bivy on a variety of ledges such as (from ground up) Dolt Tower, El Cap Tower, Camp IV (pitch 20), Camp V, and Camp VI.
- 2002 - Yuji Hirayama and Hans Florine speed climb the Nose route in 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds.
- 2004 - Two Japanese climbers died of hypothermia in the middle of pitch 28.
|8,9 ||The Stovelegs
| ||Camp IV
| ||El Cap Tower
| ||Camp V
|17 ||King Swing
|22 ||The Great Roof 5.13c
| ||Camp VI
|27 ||Changing Corners 5.14a/b
Mountain Project: Climbing Yosemite > The Nose
The Nose of El Capitan - VI 5.9 C1 Photo Gallery by Simon Vos at pbase.com
The Nose (El Capitan) at Wikipedia rates it a 5.13+)
Other historic climbs
The ascent of the North American Wall in 1964 with Royal Robbins, Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt and Yvon Chouinard, was considered the hardest rock climb in the world at the time.
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People on El Capitan using GigaPan - GigaPan allows you to stitch photos together creating a Gigapixel image then click on thumbnails or use the slider to zoom in.
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