East Ledges Descent - Ascent?


Original Post
Brian Banta · · Pacifica, CA · Joined May 2012 · Points: 30

My friends are headed up Lurking Fear on El Cap and I had the thought to meet them at the top and perhaps haul up some extra water for them. Any beta on going up the East Ledges route? I am assuming there are fixed lines in place. Or is it perhaps better just to take the trail up? Also is there a logical or obvious rendevous point at the top? Just thought I'd tap into the collective MP wisdom. Thanks.

-B

chrispatrick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0

According to mp and supertopo forum consensus, the fixed ropes that Sloan recently replaced on east ledges are illegal per Yosemite guidelines and I would assume would not be used by parties ascending or descending the route. This is just an assumption based on what I have read about these fixed lines.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Probably best to ask on Supertopo as it's very California/Yosemite-centric.

While the fixed ropes may be technically illegal, they're always there, in varying degrees of rot/bleaching/tat/quality. One time I did them they were fine; another time we belayed on the raps since the one appearing in best condition was still sketch (and our brains were toast at the time).

ShireSmitty · · Boulda · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 70

The East Ledges is the main way to get up and down to access the summit and get down from it. The alternative is an 8 mile hike with haulbags. The fixed lines are always there and are replaced with some regularity. You'll likely need to pass an isolated core shot or 2 so brush up on passing knots on ascent and descent if you're not dialed on it already. These fixed lines are "tolerated" by the park service as they get used many times every day and the community keeps up with their maintenance, hence they aren't "litter" left behind.

JeffL · · Salt Lake City · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 65

I think you'd be okay as long as you knew the trail. I did recently see a pic of a 'fixed rope' that was poorly secured around a hollow stump. If you jumar's that line before it was chopped, you probably would get seriously injured or worse. I would talk with a local or other climbers who came down that week. The trail is obviously safer, but a slog to bring up extra water

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

The OP may find some of the info in this 98 post thread over on the Taco Stand useful:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2785941/ROCKFALL-El-Cap-East-Ledges-Descent

Josh Kornish · · tufaclimbing.com · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 840

Just a warning,

I'm not familiar with the East Ledges but Brad G. snapped a photo of some dangerous improperly installed fixed lines that you would have no clue about if ascending.

Basically wrapped around a shitty stump.

Best of luck, brother!

Brian Banta · · Pacifica, CA · Joined May 2012 · Points: 30

Thanks Everyone!... I'll check out the supertaco thread.

B

Cameron Saul · · San Francisco · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

Just came down the lines last weekend. The first line (from the bottom) is brand new (awesome!), but the second (black) line is ready to be replaced. There's a core shot about six feet from the anchor and a few knots that you have to pass. I'm not sure I'd ascend them right now, at least until they are replaced.

Maybe best to hike it. Also apparently there's an el cap gully route west of LF that involves some scrambling, and that would put you much closer to the LF top out.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Cameron Saul wrote:Maybe best to hike it. Also apparently there's an el cap gully route west of LF that involves some scrambling, and that would put you much closer to the LF top out.
An alternate hiking approach would be to hike in from Tamarack Flat on Rt 120. Not short - 8.5 miles one way - and requires some kind of transport from the Valley, but dose save over 2K' of elevation gain.
Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35
Cameron Saul wrote: but the second (black) line is ready to be replaced.
We rode this baby down in July. We kept calling it "the black mamba." that thing was pretty mank.
Mydans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 70

The park service has to claim that the ropes are abandoned gear/litter otherwise they could be liable for their condition but when I was there in June I talked to one of the climbing rangers and he said that the ropes are an accepted practice for the standard descent on el cap. Their condition varies from time to time but I have used them to descend numerous times over the years and have even contributed some of my own ropes twice to replace damaged ones. If you're going up ask some of the dirtbags in the meadow or Tom Evans and they might know the current condition of the ropes and which ones you should use. FYI the hike from the top of the ropes to the summit will be at least another hour with a med sized load. The top of Lurking fear is about as far left as you can go. The summit is really big so you might want to try and come up with a meeting place or you could miss your friends completely.

I would not recommend the hike in from Tamarack flats. I did it one to retrieve a bag that we left after topping out and the hike took forever. As much as the east ledges suck its still the fastest way.

hope that helps good luck

Chris Maher · · Englewood, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 5

Yesterday, I left my car at El Cap Meadow and hitched a ride to Tamarack Flat Campground and hiked the ten miles from there to the East Ledges rappel expecting to descend there. But there were no fixed ropes, so I had to ascend 2000ft back up to the trail and hike down the Yosemite Falls trail. That cost me an extra 3.5 hours and eight miles. I suspect the fatality that happened a little over a week ago may have resulted in the decision to take the ropes away.

Brian Banta · · Pacifica, CA · Joined May 2012 · Points: 30

All,

Thanks for all the beta guys.... I ended up hiking the Yosemite Falls trail and bivvy-ing on top of El Cap. My friends ultimately turned back on Lurking Fear and didn't make the top. So I enjoyed the trip back down the Yosemite Falls trail instead.

Some trail beta - Spring fed creek close to the top is still running, and there is a hornets nest just off the trail just as you come out of woods to the slab section.

-Brian

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

Just came down this route on Sat. Fixed ropes are all new-ish and in great condition.

Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,625

Hey Brian,
Would you be able to locate said spring on this map? hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtY…
(if you click on the map it should drop a waypoint and you can then click the 'wrench' drop-down menu and select 'link to' to share a URL of the point)

EJoe · · Mammoth Lakes, CA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 95
Josh Kornish wrote:Just a warning, I'm not familiar with the East Ledges but Brad G. snapped a photo of some dangerous improperly installed fixed lines that you would have no clue about if ascending. Basically wrapped around a shitty stump. Best of luck, brother!
Not sure if it was from the same rope, but there was a recent fatality on the east ledges.

Props to those keeping this thread updated.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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