Two men set out Wednesday to complete a vertigo-inducing, skin-tearing, 3,000-foot climb up the sheer face of the granite rock formation known as El Capitan using only their hands and feet — a feat never before achieved.
The climbers, Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell, had ideal weather for the 19th day of the attempt. It wasn’t cold enough to chill their fingers, but it wasn’t hot enough to make them sweat excessively, which makes the climb more difficult.
They were scaling what is known as the Dawn Wall of the formation, part of Yosemite National Park in California.
The men have worked with ropes and harnesses to protect them if they fall, but they have made the climb using only their bodies — and paid for it. The men have posted photos to Facebook of chalky hands bloodied by the rock’s razor edges.
Caldwell, 36, of Estes Park, Colorado, and Jorgeson, 30, of Santa Rosa, California, have spent their nights in sleeping bags suspended horizontally from the face in what are known as portaledges. A crew, working with tools, is helping haul their gear up.
It took Jorgenson seven days just to complete Pitch 15, one of the hardest segments of the climb.
- El Capitan's Dawn Wall: The Beauty of the Long-Distance Climber
- '3,000 Feet of Blankness': Pair Take On 'Hardest Rock Climb Ever Done'