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Summit of El Capitan in GNP

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Offline Talusman

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Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« on: October 27, 2016, 07:45:12 PM »
Another one day trip to GNP, as screebird and I wanted to finally summit El Capitan (EC). We hit the Guadalupe Mountain trail head and headed up early in the morn. AS the trail nears the upper part of GM it breaks out into the open and the back north side of EC comes into view

Our Destination



Another perfect day with sunshine and no wind. The heat would not be noticeable until the climb back up the saddle onto GM. We descended the middle ridge that appears out of the left of the picture and goes down. Down was easy and seemed steep, but very doable. We planned in making the EC summit and them attempt to go back down in the valley that disappears to the left, dropping off into Guadalupe canyon, going by the spring there and onto the EC and trail below that leads back to Pine Springs.

Looking back up the ridge we dropped. This looked so very steep from below and we would find out later it was not a picnic



Looking back up GM and the ridge we descended after we start up to the horn. I wanted to see and show screebird the infamous screaming gargoyle in the horn.



A shot of the horn we are heading to.



The screaming gargoyle protruding from the horn



Various pictures taken from the area. The drop to the cliff bottoms is really amazing. As always. pictures do not do it justice.





The view up to the left and the way to start around the ridge until we reach the summit. Again, some very tough brush to hike through. Only when you reach the edges does the going get easier.



A view back to GM



And another





We keep making progress. Going to post this much and come back to keep posting. I hate to lose any work to an internet disconnection.

« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:32:58 PM by Talusman »
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline dprather

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 07:55:15 PM »
Good stuff
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 08:05:41 PM »
We keep making progress and get some intermittent views of the EC peak.

A good view of what we walk around. Ground is easier but its daunting to look over the side



Salt basin to the west





At some point you travel a way and think you have reached the summit ahead, but this is a false summit. The true peak is the one furthest south. When you reach this there is a log book in a container like the one on GM and Shumard. But it might suffice for some people to reach. We laughed aat a note that was left stating "this is not the peak!"



The true peak comes into view as you keep moving around. The distance you observe from GM is much further on foot than what it appears from GM



The Summit of EC and some views around screebird in the real peak log








Looking back towards GM and over the pine forest of the north slope of EC. We walked around through it and it is very thick and nice. Would be a great place to camp.



Coming back down to try to lower valley into Guadalupe canyon. A view to the east



getting lower



I'll post and finish up when I return



« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:36:12 PM by Talusman »
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 08:31:26 PM »
A shot of Hunter peak to the east as we descended




The valley leading to the drop into Guadalupe canyon. The trees through here are some real stunners. In person very impressive



We reached the end (I didn't take a picture) and cam to a 75' straight drop. We had my 6 mil 200' rope and our gear, but was planning on a sloping drop that would allow us to back down with the rope safely. But the pure vertical drop was more than to much for me to try with the 6 mile so we retreated to climb out where we dropped in. We definitely brought much more water than to Shumard and had no tequila this trip. The heat of the afternoon would make the climb out as much as a challenge as I have ever had.

one view up the ridge



another



Forgot this picture. A view from the false summit to the real EC summit



Starting back up the climb out and a look back. We had climbed up from that drop in the bottom left



another look back



All in all a great trip. The graph of the way to the peak. You can see where we drop off into the gully below and how steep it was to climb out after a long day. Then the false peak, the real EC summit, back over the false peak before we drop down to the valley slot. We tooled around an extra mile and a half to add to the total so it was over 11 miles that day and a lot of vertical.



That climb out in the heat and sun was one hot tiring son of a bitch. I could get a full max heart rate going every 10 yards and then stop to breathe. But we want to do it again and drop down the eastern side of EC and see all the cliffs that sharp canyon slots to that side. We will bring my 11 mil rope and then rappel off to the EC trail and Guadalupe canyon next trip for an easier hike back to the car. A highly recommended trip in my book. and Lance and John and Derek, I found a few 1000 rappels for you to do on this trip!







« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:39:54 PM by Talusman »
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 09:59:06 PM »
Nice work Talusman and Screebird! Those are some sheer cliffs

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Offline alan in shreveport

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 10:09:17 PM »
Congratulations - great hike and report/pictures. We admired EC from GM when we were there , and I knew people had done it, and I knew it was harder than it looked from GM - you proved it. Those false summits are a bitch. Can you not get up from the regular EC trail ? Where does it go ?

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 10:40:38 PM »
That damned false summit got me as well.  I couldn't get over how "tilted" El Cap was.  It looks a lot more level from the summit of Guad Peak.

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Offline jasonmerlo

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 07:57:35 AM »
This may be a dumb question, but if you rappel down how do you retrieve your rope?


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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 11:29:46 AM »
This may be a dumb question, but if you rappel down how do you retrieve your rope?

You pass the rope around a tree or through a sling, descending ring, or carabiner, and rappel on the doubled rope.  When you're down, you pull one side of the rope, abandoning your sling, carabiner or whatever, but retrieving your rope.  It was a 75' drop and he had 200' of 6mm, enough for a 100' rappel.  A 9mm rope would be more typical for this sort of thing.

Talusman, you mentioned camping on the north slope of EC; is there a level spot anywhere?
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 11:37:00 AM »
This may be a dumb question, but if you rappel down how do you retrieve your rope?

You pass the rope around a tree or through a sling, descending ring, or carabiner, and rappel on the doubled rope.  When you're down, you pull one side of the rope, abandoning your sling, carabiner or whatever, but retrieving your rope.  It was a 75' drop and he had 200' of 6mm, enough for a 100' rappel.  A 9mm rope would be more typical for this sort of thing.

Talusman, you mentioned camping on the north slope of EC; is there a level spot anywhere?

Actually, I tie an extra ring into the sling and attach a 3 mil pull cord and drop it below. After you pull you rappel rope through you then pull the sling down as well. This leaves nothing behind and my preferred way is to not leave anything behind if possible. There was an old rappel anchor driven in between some rocks there, so some one had already dropped down here before.

There were no completely level spots in the trees, but some close enough. A search around might find a near level spot, but most of this area is sloping as EC drops pretty quickly as you move away from the summit.
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2016, 11:45:53 AM »
Congratulations - great hike and report/pictures. We admired EC from GM when we were there , and I knew people had done it, and I knew it was harder than it looked from GM - you proved it. Those false summits are a bitch. Can you not get up from the regular EC trail ? Where does it go ?

Alan, my next trip up there (besides catching the fall colors in McKittrick) will be to go around the EC trail and then up Guadalupe canyon. I want to search all along the eastern side of EC as I go up Guadalupe canyon. There may be a way to climb up, but it may require some rock climbing skills and the associated equipment. There is a few other slots that drop into Guadalupe canyon from the east side of EC, but I want to see them first had to decide. I'll let you know what I find next trip.

The EC trail takes you to the Salt Flat overlook and then all the way around the western side of EC to Shirttail canyon and Shumard canyons. Its a long hike all the way and good to stay at the camp area overnight near the ranch house on that side. You get a great view of El Capitan from below and up close. This trail is mostly level, some up and down and not too hard at all. I've done it but never climbed up and through Guadalupe Canyon to the GM summit trail. Another item on my list.
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

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Offline backpacker56

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2016, 01:19:18 PM »
Actually, I tie an extra ring into the sling and attach a 3 mil pull cord and drop it below. After you pull you rappel rope through you then pull the sling down as well. This leaves nothing behind...

Ah, clever!  Hadn't thought or heard of this before.  You just have to bring the 100' of parachute cord, which doesn't amount to much.  Of course, if it snags, you'd probably have to abandon your sling, rings, and paracord, but it's a chance you'd have to take.
"Ah, sure, I'm a gnawed old bone now, but say, don't you guys think the spirit's gone!"

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Offline Lance

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2016, 01:48:51 PM »
Sweet trip report Talusman! The summit of El Capitan is definitely on my list. When I was there last year with Laurence Parent, he said he knew some guys who trad climbed it in the 80s. Crazy stuff! Also, Picacho told me he did a 75' rap down the low point between GM and EC which ended up taking him to Guadalupe Spring and the El Capitan trail.  Again, nice work! Looks like a helluva bushwack.

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Offline Talusman

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Re: Summit of El Capitan in GNP
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2016, 05:51:22 PM »
Sweet trip report Talusman! The summit of El Capitan is definitely on my list. When I was there last year with Laurence Parent, he said he knew some guys who trad climbed it in the 80s. Crazy stuff! Also, Picacho told me he did a 75' rap down the low point between GM and EC which ended up taking him to Guadalupe Spring and the El Capitan trail.  Again, nice work! Looks like a helluva bushwack.

yea, I saw the spot where he rapped down. I guessed it to be 70' foot. I wonder if he was the one that put the anchor there. I'll bring a heavier rope next time so I can do the same as Picacho. I also want to explore that whole east side and see how many potential spots there are to climb and rappel. The bushwhack is mainly knee high and once you reach the cliff edges and move around the rim it's easier for sure. We need to meet up there with Homer Wilson and do some exploring! And yes, you need to catch up on your reports from there!
"To Think is easy. To Act is difficult. To Act as one Thinks is the most difficult!"

 


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