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Water near the top of El Cap?
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twrock


Jul 3, 2003, 10:03 PM
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Water near the top of El Cap?
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Quick questions. How do you get to the nearest water source from the top of El Cap? How far away is it, and will it be running in August?

Thanks in advance.

-Ron

PS - Please don't go on and on about how it is far too hot to climb El Cap in August; I already know that part.


apollodorus


Jul 5, 2003, 8:06 PM
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The nearest source of water at the summit of El Capitan is at the base of large, conspicuous trees and under shelf-like rocks along the East Ledges descent trail up there. Also look around at the various "campsites" near the top of the trade routes. People leave their extra water up there all the time. Near the top of the Zodiac is a particularly good place to look.

If everybody else has taken all the booty water because it's August and too hot to climb El Capitan, the next closest source is going to be in the Valley itself. Horsetail Falls Creek will be dry by August. Yosemite Falls Creek is much further away than just going down the East Ledges. If you are climbing Lurking Fear, or something to the far west, you could conceivabley get to Ribbon Falls Creek in an emergency (if it's still running; you can see the falls from the route), but might involve nasty bushwhacking.

If you get stuck on top with no water, stash your bags and head down the East Ledges. You can make it down to the Valley from the Zodiac in about 2 or 3 hours if you aren't carrying anything. Later, you can go back up the East Ledges and get your stuff. Before you go, find out from the Camp 4ists if there are fixed ropes on the East Ledges raps. Otherwise, you'll have to climb up past them (about 5.6, or something). If the fixed ropes are gone (i.e., because they were too ratty to trust), you can belay down the 5.5 wide slot to the two raps, and leave two ropes there. Or leave three ropes on the three raps that avoid the 5.5 slot. Check your topo, and you'll see there are two ways down that section.

Finally, keep in mind that the Manure Pile picnic ground at the base of the East Ledges trail doesn't have any water available. You can ask tourists picnicing there for some of theirs, though, and amaze them with your tales of daredevilry on the wall. Or, you can walk across the road to the river, but make sure you purify that water before drinking it. Or, you can walk the 2 miles back past the Three Brothers to Camp 4, where there are water spigots. Or go yet another 300 yards to the Lodge store and get beer instead.


micahmcguire


Jul 5, 2003, 9:10 PM
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Re: Water near the top of El Cap? [In reply to]
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yeah, I asked people at that picnic spot appolodrus was talking about for water because I could find none closer to the climb. Aside from the charity of strangers, I think the closest drinking water might be at the visitor center area a mile or so up valley.


apollodorus


Jul 5, 2003, 10:33 PM
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This is not to dis' micahmcguire, but the Visitor's Center (near the grocery store and Degnan's Deli) is past Camp 4 and the Lodge by about two or three miles. The absolutely closest potable water from the Manure Pile picnic ground is from a spigot in Camp 4. But, as he confirms, there will be people in the picnic area, especially in August. And they will not only give you water, but food, beer, leering stares at their daughters, a ride back to your car at El Cap Meadows, etc. After you climb El Capitan, you will be a bona fide Rockstar, with the attendant perks that implies. Regular tourists will want to get close and even touch you. Just make sure you rehearse your stories about "zipper aid fall" and "90-foot whipper" beforehand. Otherwise, they'll think you're just some hippy coming out of thw woods.


twrock


Jul 5, 2003, 10:35 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I will have purification tablets, so that is covered.

I found this reference on GORP in the Tamarack Flat to El Cap hike description. Can anyone verify its current accuracy? Any more precise information about how to find these springs?

"...after Ribbon Creek has dried up, you may want to continue on the main trail 1/2 mile northeast to two trickling springs."


apollodorus


Jul 5, 2003, 11:48 PM
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Tamarack Flat is towards the road that goes to Tuolumne, over the domed summit of El Capitan. That way off the summit is almost as bad as the Falls Trail. The rim of the wall is below the summit by a few hundred feet (even at the Salathe top-out), and then you have to walk the trail for another few/four miles.

When you top out on El Cap, you go down the East Ledges descent that follows the rim, raps three times and then goes down a 3rd class section to a trail. Tamarack Flats is an emergency way off, or the trail you take if you haven't been worked by the wall enough and need some extra exercise. There is no water going that way until you reach the Flats. It's faster to go down the East Ledges.


brutusofwyde


Jul 7, 2003, 12:39 PM
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In reply to:
Tamarack Flat is towards the road that goes to Tuolumne, over the domed summit of El Capitan. That way off the summit is almost as bad as the Falls Trail.

Actually, as a way off the top of the Cap'n with a haul bag, I think Tamarack Flat trail is much worse.

The Falls trail is virtually all easy downhill until the top of the falls, with only one very short uphill stretch to get to the Eagle Peak Saddle (about 2.5 miles from the summit of the Cap'n.) Usually there is a small stream before Eagle Peak, until late summer. My strategy is usually to cache half the loads near Eagle Peak saddle, and return the next day to finish the job.

Tamarack trail has endless up-and-down stretches, with the rolling uphill stretches sapping the life out of your hammered dessicated body.

In reply to:
When you top out on El Cap, you go down the East Ledges descent that follows the rim, raps three times and then goes down a 3rd class section to a trail. Tamarack Flats is an emergency way off, or the trail you take if you haven't been worked by the wall enough and need some extra exercise. There is no water going that way until you reach the Flats. It's faster to go down the East Ledges.

(nodding) Way faster. I only use the Falls Trail when the bags are so heavy and me so trashed that descent by the Ledges would be dangerous. Either way, the Falls trail lands you in Camp 4 (or more accurately, at the Mountain Room Bar), the Ledges lands you near El Cap Meadow. Scarfing a ride at these locations is far easier than up at Tamarack Flat. I've done all three ways, with haul bags, and Tamarack Flats gets two thumbs down.

Brutus


twrock


Jul 7, 2003, 6:06 PM
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Thanks for the input on the best way to get to the Valley from the top of El Cap. I do appreciate your efforts, but obviously I'm not doing a very good job of making myself clear. That isn't my question.

Let me restate the question. Maybe that will help.

I really want to know how to access water most near the top of El Cap without going all the way back to the valley floor. If the reference I found on GORP is accurate, it would be really nice to know that within a not too far hiking distance there is water available for someone camping out at the top of El Cap whether it be because they hiked in on a trail or climbed up one of the El Cap routes.

Thanks.


moabbeth


Jul 7, 2003, 6:23 PM
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Hey tw, I was up there yesterday, there is some water stashed near the top of Zodiac as well as the Nose (I was up there doing the Porch Swing with my b/f). The water at the Zode tasted like it had been there awhile but hey, it was hot and I was thirsty and it worked. There's also a spring running just before that area as mentioned above...but you'll want purification tablets, plus that water was kinda warm anyway. Fun to splash on your face but questionable to drink.


micahmcguire


Jul 7, 2003, 8:03 PM
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"a mile or so", "two or three miles," when you go on 30+ mile day hikes for fun, they all sorta run together. Maybe its that Alaska is so much bigger than California

just joshin you, don't worry 'bout it. I've only been to Yostemite once, so I would still say that I am somewhat unfamiliar with the area. Three or four miles to the nearest potable water it is. There is a creek running right under El Cap, just across the road, so bring some tabs or a filter and you're fine.


brutusofwyde


Jul 8, 2003, 5:50 PM
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In reply to:
Thanks for the input on the best way to get to the Valley from the top of El Cap. I do appreciate your efforts, but obviously I'm not doing a very good job of making myself clear. That isn't my question.

Translation: "Quit trying to hijack my thread!"

In reply to:
Let me restate the question. Maybe that will help.

I really want to know how to access water most near the top of El Cap without going all the way back to the valley floor. If the reference I found on GORP is accurate, it would be really nice to know that within a not too far hiking distance there is water available for someone camping out at the top of El Cap whether it be because they hiked in on a trail or climbed up one of the El Cap routes.

Thanks.

OK, to restate what several folks have already said:

Top of the Trade Routes, particularly Salathe Wall, Muir Wall, Nose, and Zodiac.

Horsetail creek is a gamble in late season, if you're lucky enough to come across some stagnant pockets, they can be pretty rank. Ribbon Creek, ditto. If you're doing a wall and are real concerned, best stash some up there or have friends meet you on top. Better yet carry extra up the wall. All the water in the world on the summit won't help if you're flaming out two days from the top and your partner sneak-drinks the last two gallons in the middle of the night.

If you're hiking, be ready to carry it from 4-5 miles away on Falls Trail. Hope this helps.

Brutus, been up there and dehydrated too many times to want to recollect.


apollodorus


Jul 9, 2003, 1:11 AM
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Thanks, Brutus, for the clarification on the Tamarack Flat trail. I had heard of people using it before (I think Harding used it after the FA of the Nose). Like the Falls trail, I had been warned to avoid it.

In reply to:
The Falls trail is virtually all easy downhill until the top of the falls . . .

And that is where the 7-odd miles of steep switchbacks begin, guaranteed to pound your thighs to jelly and compress your knee cartiledge into synthetic diamonds.



Even in hot weather, the summit of El Capitan has a lot of traffic. You can probably get water from people who top out with too much.

A nice campsite at the summit (rim, actually) is the top of the Salathe. It's flat, with a single tree for shade. It has a great edge-of-the-world feel to it. Another cool spot is about 50 yards inland from the top of the Nose/Dawn wall in a group of large trees. That one is so far back from the edge, it feels like camping in the woods. Further east, the summit slopes down so much only small campsites are available, but there is a nice cave under a huge rock near the top of the NA and Seo of Dreams.

This photo by Ammon ElCapbuzz is the best one I've seen for the summit of El Cap. You can clearly see how it slopes from the Nose to the East Ledges at the far right of the picture. The summit itself is a dome. The Salathe campsite is directly above the Heart.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...on=Show&PhotoID=7298


brutusofwyde


Jul 12, 2003, 7:36 PM
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In reply to:
And that is where the 7-odd miles of steep switchbacks begin, guaranteed to pound your thighs to jelly and compress your knee cartiledge into synthetic diamonds.

Actually about 3.5 or 4 miles to Camp 4 from the top of the falls. But yes, for a trail, it's steep. At least it ends at the Mountain Room Bar. :)


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