Courtesy Brett Lowell(MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif.) — Two men were on the verge of making history Sunday, nearing the top of Yosemite National Park’s legendary El Capitan, using only their hands and feet to climb the nearly vertical Dawn Wall.
Free-climber Tommy Caldwell was just a thousand feet from the top, but he was determined to wait for fellow climber Kevin Jorgeson, who had fallen behind after struggling to scale some of the most difficult parts of the ascent.
But Jorgeson said in a Facebook post that “momentum has returned to my side.”
After the turn in his fortunes, Jorgeson was just a few hundred feet behind Caldwell late Sunday, high up the steep half-mile wall of granite that faces east towards the sun.
Over the course of the climb, which began Dec. 27, they have been sleeping in nylon tents that are anchored to the wall at only one point.
“If you look at that wall, it looks like glass,” said Big Up Productions filmmaker Josh Lowell, who has been filming their climbs for the past six years. “It’s really difficult to imagine how anyone could free-climb it.”
They’ve been eating their packed hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sandwiches with salmon and getting caffeine boosts from their flasks of coffee.
The adventurers have been able to stay in touch with their loved ones, and perfect strangers, using a cellphone and even hosted a tweet chat Monday, though they’re avoiding calls because they want to stay focused on the climb.
“Pretty exciting, um, but it’s far from over yet,” Jorgeson said in a video released from the sixth day of the climb.
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