Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yosemite climbers summit world's largest rock

Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; CBS News, DailyMail, AP; ABC; Wiki
Caldwell balances on the edge of his tent, pitched on the sheer rock face and floating in midair, as the two climbers made their ascent, which taken more than two weeks (DM).
Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley, after adequate rainfall (

Jorgeson in green celebrates (ABC/DM)
The stark beauty of El Capitan always seizes the gaze of sightseers in Yosemite Valley within the country's most popular national park, which is often on fire.

But two small dots on the granite wall are the focus of the attention now. Climbers Kevin Jorgenson and Tommy Caldwell are near the end of a climb long thought impossible. John Blackstone reports. UPDATE: They've succeeded!

Yosemite climbers make history
Louise Boyle (Reuters via Mail Online)
Impossible: The two climbers balance on a razor-thin ledge during the climb of the momentous El Capitan, which has tested their endurance to the very limits (Mail Online).
Caldwell, center, stands with a photographer at a base camp before continuing to climb the half-mile section of exposed granite in California's Yosemite National Park (AP via DM).
People watch as two climbers vying to become the first in the world to use only their hands and feet to scale a sheer slab of granite in Yosemite National Park, California (DM).

On Monday, Jorgeson climbs what has been called the hardest rock climb in the world: a free climb of El Capitan, the largest monolith of granite in the world (DM).
Yosemite climbers make history as as they become the first men to reach the top of El Capitan's Dawn Wall without bolts or climbing tools.
  • Tommy Caldwell, 36, and Kevin Jorgeson, 30, reached the summit of El Capitan on Wednesday afternoon.
  • On Jorgeson's Twitter account on Wednesday, a message read: "It's not over till it's over. #DawnWall."
  • They are now the first to climb El Capitan's so-called Dawn Wall without bolts or climbing tools.
  • Caldwell and Jorgeson, who began their climb on December 27, are expected to celebrate privately with their families at the summit.
  • Jorgeson was forced to rest for two days while the skin on his fingers healed after being ripped off by razor-sharp ledge. More + VIDEO
What is El Capitan?
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park viewed from the Valley Floor (Mike Murphy).
It is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face, and is one of the world's favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers.
The formation was named "El Capitan" by the Mariposa Battalion when it explored the valley in 1851. El Capitán ("the captain," "the chief") was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as To-to-kon oo-lah or To-tock-ah-noo-lah. It is unclear if the Native American name referred to a specific tribal chief, or simply meant "the chief" or "rock chief." In modern times, the formation's name is often contracted to "El Cap," especially among rock climbers and BASE jumpers.
The top of El Capitan can be reached by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail next to Yosemite Falls, then proceeding west. For climbers, the challenge is to climb up the sheer granite face (and that has just been accomplished without ropes). There are many named climbing routes, all of them arduous. For skydivers, the challenge is to achieve sufficient horizontal separation from the sheer granite face before opening their parachutes. More
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