/ Near death on the wall (El Cap)

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David Coley - on 10 Aug 2017
All very of its time, and of the people involved, but still a good read, and a good reminder to not take a down jacket or sleeping bag on El Cap.

http://fishproducts.com/topos/nativeTR/nativeTR.html

A Longleat Boulderer - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Great read... but god... talk about a blase attitude!!
plyometrics - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Cracking read! Thanks for the share.
Fredt on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Its worth reminding people that if you are rescued in Yosemite, and have down gear, then that will be reflected in how much they charge you, both financially and legally.
TRip - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to Fredt:

> Its worth reminding people that if you are rescued in Yosemite, and have down gear, then that will be reflected in how much they charge you, both financially and legally.

Have you got a link to back that up?

I don't see what is wrong with a down bag and a goretex bivi bag.
atrendall - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

You've obviously never been on El Cap in a storm. Down will get soaked even in a g/tex bivi. I remember being caught 26 pitches up on Salute Wall for 24 hours and even synthetic stuff was getting soaked but at least still relatively warm. People rescued at the same time (we climbed out under own steam) were sued for negligence because of the gear they had e.g. down, and ignoring the forecast storm and people were getting bills of $30,000 I think.
TRip - on 10 Aug 2017
In reply to atrendall:

> People rescued at the same time (we climbed out under own steam) were sued for negligence because of the gear they had e.g. down, and ignoring the forecast storm and people were getting bills of $30,000 I think.

Have you got a link to back that up?

There is no mention of it in any of the guidebooks or the Supertopo How to big wall book.

Ian Parsons - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

There's discussion about it here, Tom: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2525588&tn=0
It's certainly been standard advice for a long time.
David Coley - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

> Have you got a link to back that up?

> There is no mention of it in any of the guidebooks or the Supertopo How to big wall book.

Not to the money side (which I have no idea back), but the message of "no down" is stated I believe in the supertopo
David Coley - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

> Have you got a link to back that up?

> I don't see what is wrong with a down bag and a goretex bivi bag.

You will be soaking from the storm hitting before you got the ledge up. Water will be everywhere, in everything, on the ledge floor, running down your clothes whenever you reach out. You will probably be in your bag with some wet clothes on and with you wet harness on, clipped in with wet lengths of rope. If you got it wrong you might even be in a small water fall (El Cap is topped by slabs so the run off down the face can be considerable) as many routes follow the kind of features that water likes.

There will be much unpleasantness. However, the temp (in summer) is not that low, so with modern synthetic stuff you should be fine. Just damp.
timjones - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

> Great read... but god... talk about a blase attitude!!

In what way do you think their attitude was blase?
duncan - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:


There are no specific gear requirements in law but you can be fined for 'creating a hazardous condition'. This can include needing rescue due to being inadequately equiped. Two examples: team abseiling The Nose with only one set of Jumars and getting stuck, the Austrians with down bags caught in a storm on The Shield. The latter were fined $13 325, the cost of their rescue. http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13199702200/Stranded-Inadequate-Clothing-and-Equ...

The storm was not forecast until the last minute, three days previously people were getting heat-stroke on the valley floor. It starts warm, dumping inches of rain, this runs off the rocky summit of El Cap within minutes, turning the black streaks to waterfalls. You do not stay dry in a waterfall even with the best mountain wet weather kit, a goretex bivi bag, inside a portaledge with fly. Andy Perkins described a storm in a portledge on Sunkist as like 36 hours in a washing machine on spin. Any down gear is useless. When you're wet and miserable, temperatures drop, rain turns to snow, your ropes freeze, and hypothermia can set in very quickly. This happened to me on Zodiac.
krikoman - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to timjones:

> In what way do you think their attitude was blase?

their altitude, was blasé. Their clothing blousey
Offwidth - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:
Thanks for the link Duncan. I was well aware of the issue from friends (and am pretty surprised people contemplating a Yosemite big wall don't know) but knew of no concrete examples of those who were fined.

In reply to Trip.... read Chris' book more carefully (as he recommends!): p.120 ...read the Jon Dill article.... gear lists all say synthetic.. go up, go down and stay put covers it as well.

http://www.supertopo.com/topos/yosemite/stayalive.pdf
Post edited at 14:57
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Offwidth - on 11 Aug 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Just did a search on what exists on the park website and found this (aside from several links to John Dill's article):

https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/danger-zones-the-nose.htm

Includes: "Synthetic clothing and sleeping gear are essential."
TRip - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Anyone got any recommendations for good, cheap, synthetic sleeping bags?

Kemics - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:
https://rab.equipment/us/ignition-3

i have a rab ignition 3. New cost about £100. Synthetic. Nice and toasty, good fill, packs down small. Does me well. I bivied out in January this year with a hard frost on the ground and was toasty sleeping in only base layers

edit: I took a super lightweight bag up el cap before and was miserable. Every morning I was shaking so badly with the cold I couldnt eat breakfast and just had to start climbing to warm up. Bought the rab bag as a replacement!
Post edited at 12:15
TRip - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to Kemics:

Thanks. Does anyone know anything about the £50 sleeping bags Decathalon make?
Orange - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

I haven't got one, but I've looked at them in store and they looked pretty bulky.

Snugpak bags are pretty good, cheapish synthetics. As has been said before though, not the basecamp range because the pack size is monumental.
Mr Lopez - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

Yhm tom
David Coley - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

I know nothing about them, but I'm guessing they would be ideal
Stuart en Écosse - on 12 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

I'm sure it was Andy Perkins who was caught in a horrendous rainstorm on El Cap and said that he and his partner, I forget who, would have died if they'd had down gear. They had Buffalo sleeping bags and clothing so although soaked, they managed to stay just warm enough to survive.
Fuchs on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to David Coley:

Reads to me like a story of some guys making one dodgy decision after the other, then thinking it was the choice of sleeping bag material that was the only real mistake ...
duncan - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to Stuart en Écosse:

Andy Perkins' story I also alluded to is here: http://climbers-club.co.uk/journal/original/1995%20Journal-p10-18.pdf
He had a goretex-covered down bag inside a portaledge with new fly. They got soaked, very cold, and needed a rescue.
guy127917 - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:

Great read, thanks for the link
Stuart en Écosse - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:

Ah, thanks.
jon on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:

Hi Duncan, any idea how AP got his ledge and stuff off the wall?
TRip - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:

Thanks for this Duncan. I'm going to take El Cap a bit more seriously.

What clothing would you normally take on a 4 day route?

Cheers,

Tom
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TobyA on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to duncan:

I remember reading that way back when, I think Andy published it in Climber as well. I first read about Lofoten in an article by Andy in Climber as well, which I think is how he knew Odd Roar-Wiik who did loads of the FAs up there.
TobyA on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to TRip:

The Alpkit ones are meant to be decent quality and not too expensive.
A Longleat Boulderer - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to timjones:
> In what way do you think their attitude was blase?

Two critically damaged ropes early on, a storm later with wet down equipment and a dude with the onset symptoms of hypothermia... and they carried on.

I mean, top f*cking effort. But in my view that is a fairly blase attitude to your own safety. Perhaps I'm wrong.
Post edited at 21:04
Kemics - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I had an alpkit one and was shivering on the valley floor! (Although it was their super light mountain-ghost one) in fairness to alpkit. I sent it back because the performance was so bad and they did give me a full refund. So still a happy alpkit customer. Just bought one of their bivi bags
timjones - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

I read it as one rope that was damaged close on the end and the damage could therefore largely be eliminated from use amd one 7mm cord that was probably just used as a lower out line.

As for the storm I'm not sure that retreating was an option at that point.

I'd guess that it was indeed largely due to the down bag that they failed to.complete the route under their own steam.

At the end of the day we are all merely armchair critics ;)

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