Curious : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

My husband and I experienced Yosemite last week as the horrid windshield tourists (we are backpackers, but due to recent surgery could not undertake anything major), and were continuously drawn day and night to the climbers on El Capitan. These people are on my list as being some of the most courageous on this planet!!

As we watched these climbers, we were plagued by numerous questions. Many of our questions can be answered by reading and researching, I'm sure, when I get to the bookstore, but two questions I'm dying to know: 1) how in the heck does one go to the bathroom while camping on the face of El Capitan, and 2) how do you get your tent (? correct terminology??) to attach to the face? 3) what do you climb after you've tackled the BIG one???

Please know that we have nothing but respect and admiration for these climbers, and we mean no harm or disrespect by asking these questions. We are only curious.

Sincerely, Debbie and Glenn Eichel

Thank you so much, and keep climbing!!!

-- Deb Eichel (, July 15, 1998


Well Debbie and Glen, withhout going into a lengthy detail I will try to answer your questions. First, we go to the bathroom by urinating in a bottle. (Like a gatorade bottle) We crap in a bag. (zip lock, lunch bag, etc.) This gets put in a PVC container and hauled to the top where it can be disposed later in a proper place. However, some people still go on the wall or throw the bag off, which is bad in my ethical beliefs. Second, we attach the "portaledge" to an anchor. The anchor is either preplaced bolts or we create one out of our own technical equipment. We then hang the portaledge to that anchor and to ourselves through our harness. Sometimes there is a spacious, or not so spacious, ledge where we can just plop down and sleep. Third, after the big one people do many things. Some hate it and never do it again, some go on to bigger and harder routes up El Cap, some do smaller ones, some go to other locations, etc. This is your hardest question because it is so individually determined. There is a book that answers a lot of your questions. If you go to a climbing shop they may have it there. I can't remember the name, but it is a book for people who have questions and the title will be self evident. If you have any further questions feel free to e-mail me. Ronnie

-- Ronnie Miller (, July 15, 1998.

Debbie, The book that Ronnie is reffering to is called "How do they get the rope up there?", and is in most larger book stores (Walden, Barnes&Noble, etc). It details all you might want to know about wall climbing, from safely on the ground. Have fun, maybe someday you'll be sending the BIG ONE!-Mike

-- Mike Tea (, August 11, 1998.

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