Sunday, August 5, 2012

East Ledges Haircut

My love for climbing El Capitan has evoked a sense of personal responsibility to ensure that El Cap takes care of climbers, and climbers take care of El Cap. After climbing this monster piece of granite, every climber uses the East Ledges Descent. ~500 feet of technical terrain require 4 rappels featuring fixed lines. By the end of the spring season, the ropes were in bad shape. 

One of the many core shots seen on the old lines 

Though the fixed lines were still 'safe', constant use and abuse left the rap route in need of some new cord. I have personally ascended and descended the lines over 10 times in the last few months, and am used to navigating through the maze of unusable and dangerous ropes vs. usable ropes. 

Which one do I use? Only one rope didn't feature numerous core shots or knots to pass. When climbers leave a new rope to replace an old one, often times the old ones don't get taken down. 

Edelweiss hooked me up with a spool of 10mm static line to give the ol' descent a haircut.  

200 meters of Edelweiss static rope

Cord ready to be put into commission 

An old rope featuring a sheath that has slipped so far that it is unusable

Cutting old line

The new rope in action

The casualties. ~1200 feet of dead or nearly dead rope.

Everyone, climb the captain and and enjoy a nice ride down the East Ledges!


  1. Excellent work, Cheyne! Thanks for your stuardship, in addition to your inspiring stories and adventures!

  2. Good work, Cheyne, thanks.

    It that the black rope I gave you?

  3. Thanks for your work, this was super awesome to see!! Such a quick and pleasant way down :)

  4. Thanks Cheyne. Cheers, eh?