HAPPY CAMPER, 1964
This hammock bivouac photograph on the Dihedral Wall helps me remember
how much I loved climbing El Capitan, and how much I enjoyed this route.
Clean as a whistle, the Dihedral Wall sends endless corners up
through facets of massive El Capitan granite.
One crack to follow. Always
tipping, keeping the aspirant attentive and appreciative.
It was an aid climber’s dream.
And that was me.
Royal had developed a strategy to use the recently developed
jumar ascenders for bringing up the heavy haul bag.
“This system made hauling vastly easier, and the speed of an
ascent could be increased with the second man jumaring a pitch at the
same time the leader hauled the bag.
These would become the chosen methods for thousands of big-wall
climbers to come.” (Ament,
Spirit of the Age) So,
in June 1964 we approached El Capitan with the intention of testing this
system while making a two man ascent of El Cap and the second ascent of
the Dihedral Wall. The
system worked well. The
route was spectacular.
A bonus feature of this climb is the opportunity for hammock
bivouacs. Here, on our
second night on the wall, my European style net hammock is suspended
below Royal. A lightweight
duvet and cagoule ensure a sound and comfortable night’s sleep.
HAPPY CAMPER, Tom Frost, bivouac, Dihedral Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California. Second ascent by Robbins and Frost, 2 through 6 June 1964.