El Capitan is located in Yosemite National Park. It is an incredible monolith and the entire park is a fantastic experience. I saw mountain climbers attempt El Capitan when I was there. They looked like ants! That gives you a bit of an idea of its size and the effort involved in such a challenge.
FOR Sir Edmund Hillary, comradeship was “the greatest of all feats” and the force that drove him upwards. George Mallory provided another glimpse into the adventurer’s mindset: “Because it’s there,” he quipped when asked why he was tackling Everest.
“The Dawn Wall started out as an escape from a deep pain Tommy felt from the sadness of splitting up,” Mrs Caldwell said on her blog. When he first studied the route, “he deemed the wall impossible to free-climb,” she said. But then he met Becca. “He came back to it and with the excitement of a budding relationship between us decided that the Dawn Wall just might be possible. Our relationship began with this route, and the Dawn Wall has weaved its way through our lives together over the past six years.”
Last week Caldwell, 36, completed the final sections of the route that he considered “extremely hard”. He had tears in his eyes as he made it to a spot known as Wino Tower — so-called because another climber, Warren Harding, weathered a storm there in 1970 and when park officials tried to rescue him he rebuffed them, offering them some wine instead. Caldwell could have pressed on alone, but he appears to share Sir Edmund’s respect for comradeship. Instead, he waited to support his partner, Jorgeson, who had struggled with a difficult section for a week.
Caldwell’s faith in his colleague was well placed: late on Monday, Jorgeson made it to Wino Tower, and the two are now at the same stage. The remaining 1,000 feet, while still challenging, is technically easier. “This journey isn’t over yet, but we can start to see what it might look like standing on top of this route. And it’s beautiful,” Mrs Caldwell said.
by Rhys Blakely
Above: Film clip of Yosemite National Park.
With thanks to The Australian
Yosemite climbers reach peak of El Capitan granite rock face
THE two climbers scaling a sheer slab of granite in California’s Yosemite National Park without climbing aids have reached the top of the 914-metre (3000 ft) peak after more than two weeks of effort.
Shortly before 10.30am AEDT, 30-year-old Kevin Jorgeson and 36-year-old Tommy Caldwell reached the summit of El Capitan on Wednesday, said spokeswoman Jess Clayton.
The two men began their climb on December 27 and have been free-climbing, a technique that shuns climbing aids other than harnesses and ropes to prevent falls.
The world has been watching the pair’s gruelling journey up the peak’s Dawn Wall route. But Clayton says they men won’t give media interviews at the top, instead waiting until Thursday to discuss their ascent.
Throughout the climb, both men have had their fingers sliced by the needle sharp handholds on the granite wall and have needed to take rest days to wait for their skin to heal. They used tape and even superglue to help with the process. Caldwell has set an alarm to wake him every four hours to apply a special lotion to his throbbing hands.
The men also took physical punishment when their grip would slip, pitching them into long, swinging falls that left them bouncing off the rock face. The tumbles, which they called “taking a whipper,” ended in startling jolts from their safety ropes.
Eric Jorgeson, Kevin Jorgeson’s father, told KGO-TV his son has always been a climber and watching him fulfil a long-time dream makes him proud.
“He climbed everything he could think of. It made us nervous early on as parents, but we got used to it,” the father said.
The two started climbing El Capitan (there are more than 100 routes to the top) when Kevin Jorgeson turned 15, and it has been a birthday tradition ever since.
From The Australian - January 15th
Yosemite National Park In HD