Larry Dolecki on the East Buttress of El Capitan (5.9 A1)


In October 2000 I climbed this route with Larry Dolecki, whom I had met on Mt. Logan. But it was really too hard for me, as I had to take tension on many of the hard sections. There were 13 pitches, with four of them being hard 5.9 and some quite challenging 5.8s. In the photo, Larry has traversed and is about to go straight up a 5.6 ridge in the middle of the route. To put this in perspective, this pitch was the easiest of all the fifth-class pitches! This is a really great climb if one can handle 5.9 efficiently. It has tremendous variety, is in a great position, and is a true bottom-to-top route on El Cap, though at the short eastern end. The descent involved four long rappels in the East Ledges gully, but the anchors were fixed and there was no problem. Our time for the ascent was just over 7 hours, which is quite fast. The route-finding can be a little tricky -- Larry had done it before -- and will require careful reading of the topo to figure out some of the traverses.

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