Author Topic: TR: Zodiac Oct 08  (Read 2631 times)

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Offline offset

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TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« on: February 04, 2009, 11:03:03 am » there i was, pooping on the top of el-cap and it was snowing.  it was 95 degrees shuttling loads 4 days ago....  "i gotta come back and do this again" i thought to myself.  This was in May of this year after climbing tangerine trip.  In the next few months el cap is still on my mind.  Do i push my luck and try this thing again?  Was it a fluke?  What makes Zodiac so classic?  Should i spend my vacation back in the same place? So many questions just go away when you start up the wall. 

We have this running joke that everything on the valley floor in yosemite takes 4 hours.  It's not really that much of a joke, and certainly motivates you to get moving and get on the wall and out of the mess of the tourons and traffic.  The valley is very much like bellevue square.  just substitute the 'cougars' with bears. 

Anyway, all this just leads up to finally being packed and shuttling loads to the base of Zodiac.  We were going full wall style with redundant ghettoblasters, a box of wine, an arsenal or iron and more chef-boy-r-d than i care to admit.  It takes a day for the two of us, myself: bob and my partner: ryan, to organize and shuttle the 2 loads to the base. 

The next day we go back with our food and climb/haul two pitches.  A trip report we read earlier said "if you can climb P1 of zodiac, you can climb zodiac".  Not sure i totally buy that, but it did provide the closes thing to a fall in our 5 days of climbing.  To keep the pitch clean was 3 inverted camhooks in a row to reach the anchor.  well, as i was placing the 3rd camhook - the one i was standing on popped but i was caught by the one i had just placed.  so, does it count if you fall up to a camhook??  whatever.

racking up at the base 

Cleaning pitch 1

Hauling P1photo credit for all distance pics: tom evans

Leading P2 

so we had the 1st two pitches fixed and to the buffet!!

The next morning was an early one as we had a long day ahead.  the plan was to jug the 2 pitches and lead another 4.  luckily these were the easiest pitches of the route with many bolts and some easy free climbing.

hooking on p5   

to a reachy rivet

to the first bivy

cleanliness is next to godliness

we were now getting to the meat and potatoes of the route and some very classic terrain.  from the black tower, through the gray circle, the nipple pitch and the mark of zorro.  ok, so now we are understanding why this is considered such a classic line.

the black tower has some thin nailing

cleaning above the black tower

same pic as above...from another perspective

going into the gray circle

pitch 9...whatta beauty!

mid pitch 10

lowering out while cleaing the nipple (p10)

So now we are thru the harder stuff and the top is within reach.  we bivy at pitch 13 (3rd and final wall bivy) aptly named 'peanut ledge'.  it is as flat as a park bench and shaped like a peanut.  the pitch coming off peanut is the only reason to bring big gear.  at one time there was a line of bolts next to the 4.5" crack the goes for about 80 feet.  those bolts have been chopped, as they were not part of the original route.  so there's a bit of a runout.

running it out on p14

while i lounge at the belay


sharp edge on P14

leading p15

looking back at the fragile hook travers (p15)

the (alleged) best top-out on el cap

the payoff!!!!!!!!!

...what a bitchin climb!!!  big thanks to climbing partner ryan for no clusters and good spirits thru the climb.  big thanks to tom evans for the great pictures and a bitchin day of drinkin on the bridge.  big thanks to the weather, although it was actually snowing when we drove into the valley - it  was sunny and 70 every day w/ no wind. 

does it quench the thirst...  nope...already have the next topo hanging in the cube.  can't wait for spring!

Offline johnmac

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 11:35:19 am »
Thanks for posting up and sharing the TR. Excellent!

Offline xtrmecat

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2009, 10:09:38 am »
Thanks for the TR. I need it to get psyched up. Looks like you had a good trip.

Offline offset

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 10:12:02 am »
get psyched!!!!

2nd trip (climbing aside) was soo much easier than the first.  a lot less of the mental and wall math stuff going on.

Offline s111887

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 03:57:28 am »

great pics..


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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2009, 09:32:53 pm »
Loved your TR, Dude.....Super pics, etc.
At least your didn't have to spend 2 days at Peanut in a storm.....That sucked.
Good job!


Offline Alpine07

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 12:49:05 am »
Awesome trip report, and fantastic pictures! it has gotten me stoked for rock season, and hopefully, my first big wall.

Offline scottydo

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2009, 02:33:04 pm »
Great TR. Those were some phenominal pictures that really showed the climb.

Offline Mike.

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Re: TR: Zodiac Oct 08
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 08:58:48 am »

Great work on the route and the report, offset.

Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.