Two climbers in Yosemite National Park have made it halfway up one of the toughest rock walls in the world, El Capitan, and as part of a bid to assail a route known as the Dawn Wall without aid, the pair are spending more than a week living on the rock face.
Climbers Tommy Caldwell, 36, of Estes Park, Colorado, and Keven Jorgeson, 30, of Santa Rosa, California, set out just after Christmas to scale the route, one of the most difficult multipitch climbs in the world. As the Daily Mail notes, though ascents up the rock face generally use an approach known as aid climbing, the pair are endeavoring to cleanly free climb the Dawn Wall, using ropes only for safety. No climber has ever succeeded in conquering the route’s 32 sections without the aid of ropes before.
— Mark Hales (@HalzeyMh) January 6, 2015
The two climbers are chronicling their progress on social media, while a film crew from Big Up productions, which has followed them for six years as they prepared for their ascent in Yosemite, documents them as well. Big Up’s Josh Lowell noted that the climbers were doing well, taking Monday to rest and regrow skin on their fingers as they wait to attempt the next section. The pair relaxed in tents they had affixed to the rock face, sleeping and eating while suspended over a thousand feet in the air.
After more than a week in Yosemite, the climbers are roughly halfway up the rock face, as the Huffington Post observes. Supplies have been brought to them by other climbers, who are using ropes. The duo also, surprisingly, have cell phone service, which allowed them to conduct a live question and answer session on Twitter last Friday.
The climbers have attempted to assail the Dawn Wall twice before, and were foiled by weather conditions in their first endeavor. During their second try, Jorgeson broke his ankle in a fall. Though they are attached to ropes to prevent a fatal drop, each inch up the rock wall must be earned by gripping perilously small cracks and ledges that can be razor sharp.
“What makes the Dawn Wall so special is that it’s almost not possible,” climber Alex Honnold observed.
— Ernst Arbouw (@ErnstArbouw) January 6, 2015
Last year, another climber in Yosemite fell to his death while making a solo ascent in the Tuolumne Meadows area. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Brad Parker had tragically proposed to his girlfriend earlier the same day during a separate climb.
Though the duo face several difficult sections in the days ahead, the best case scenario puts the climbers atop Yosemite’s most challenging route by Friday or Saturday.
[Image: bigupclimbing/ Instagram via the Daily Mail]