The plan, such as it is(again)

The plan as usual is highly subject to modification.... I might not be able to start on time due to crowds, I could get pinned down by a storm, I might be slow, I might be fast (not!!!), etc...

This plan is even more speculative than most. Solid parties do the route in 4 days, I am planning on 6 and bringing food for 7 and water for 8. If I take 6 days its only three pitches a day which seems plausible.

I leave Sunday the 4th, and start climbing Monday the 5th.

The route is Zodiac on El Capitan (far right, through the great circle).

The plan is to hump loads Sunday night and then start climbing Monday. I don't plan on fixing any lines, but rather just to blast off and keep going (but I may fix if I only do three pitches the first day and the bivy at 3 is wet).

I am bringing a portaledge, so I am not focusing on making it to any particular bivies, but rather just plugging away and making at least 3 pitches a day.

If I start and finish on schedule I should be back by Sunday the 11th. Don't officially start to worry until Tuesday, 5/13, 8pm. I do not feel emotionally committed to topping out on the wall, I'm just going to see how things go, so I may very well be back early. Ian ( will be in the valley the weekend of 5/10-11, so it might be good for him to check on me and report back if something interesting is going on.

El Cap is not a wilderness, if something happens to me (and I'm conscious), I can yell down to the crowds in the meadow. Its extremely unlikely that I would just vanish without a trace. Generally, if something goes wrong, YOSAR (the rock rescue people) get notified very quickly.

I will have one bag, white+duct tape(a5), a Fish double portaledge (black with white trim and a purple fly). I have a red helmet, black tights, white shirt. My rain gear is black, except for a yellow slicker. The lead line is blue-green with pink, the haul line is black/yellow/pink.

I am bring supplies for 7 days and 6 nights on the rock. 3 liters per day x 7 days is 21 liters or 11 two liter bottles, plus I'm bringing an extra.

The weather forecast is as good as you can get this time of year. Right now it seems more likely that I'll be hot than get stormed on. But who knows about a week form now.

Things that are right about the plan:

Things that are wrong about the plan:

I am taking two wicking layers, two thermal layers, and a gortex shell layer. I am also taking a rubberized fully waterproof jacket. I have a synthetic bag, bivy-sack, and a fly for the ledge. I have a hammer, heads, a small pin rack, 3' cheat stick but no bolt kit.

I am aware that the classic, early season way to get waxed on Zodiac is to get past "The Nipple" (pitch 10), feel like you can no longer retreat, and then get stormed into stupidity and/or death. My plan is to stay dry at all costs, and ride out any storms. I have beta that "The Nipple" can be reversed (painfully), so I'm not afraid to bail from high up.

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