Monday, October 13, 2008

Tom Evans of ElCap-Pics - MVP/Climbing

A new feature of my blog is going to be the occasional highlight of someone - a person, group of people, organization or maybe a company - that brings something to the table that goes above and beyond the average.

Tom Evans, who goes by the name of elcap-pics on Supertopo and other places online, is the first to be so distinguished.

Tom is a Supertopo regular who provides pictures of climbers who are on routes of ElCapitan in Yosemite National Park. His latest report, at time of this post, highlights the successful speed ascend record of Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama as they break their previous time record on The Nose.

I met Tom when I was in Yosemite a short while ago. He was posted in his usual spot, on the bridge near El Cap Meadow. He's easily recognizable with his camera and telescope set up. After all, not many people have a camera lens in size that looks more like a telescope used by a sea captain!

The man is very approachable, and he keeps a telescope set up nearby, as so many people want to "take a look." He's very generous in focusing on the latest activity and explaining exactly who you are viewing and where they are at on which route. When I went to take a photo of the Nose while standing next to him, he stepped in and helped me set my camera in the best way possible to get a good photo.

I can't imagine what that delicate piece of glass on Tom's camera cost, but he uses it daily to shoot photos of any climber on the formation that asks him to, and he offers copies of the photos on a "donate what you feel they are worth" basis. Considering how cheap climbers are when it comes to spending money on anything but gas and gear..... it's a pretty amazing thing that Tom is so generous. There's simply no possible way he can recoup the costs of that camera lens and his time spent through donations on those photos. Still, for many a climber, an ascent on El Cap is one of their most coveted goals, and to have a photo of the ascent such as Tom is able to provide is certain to be a cherished momento.

Tom's threads on Supertopo are always interesting, with little details that bring the photos to life. He does this all out of the kindness of his heart. It's certainly an act that deserves recognition.

His website does have two posters available for sale, and they are really beautiful and distinctive. Quick - take a peak! I told you so!

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