YOSEMITE (CBS) – Two thrill-seekers in Yosemite National Park are trying to tackle one of the toughest climbs in the world, CBS This Morning reports.
For the third time since 2010, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are attempting the near-impossible: to “free climb” the smooth, 3,000-foot wall of granite called the Dawn Wall. That means no ropes, other than to catch them if they fall, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.
It’s the most dangerous route of El Capitan, and the half-mile climb could take weeks to complete.
The two have been documenting their progress online since they started their ascent on Dec. 27. Over the weekend, they both worked to complete the 15th of 32 “pitches,” or legs of the trip. It was, perhaps, one of the most difficult part of the climb.
“There’s this crazy arctic windstorm happening today … It’s getting pretty rowdy!” Jorgeson said in his video update.
The two say winter is the ideal time to make the climb. The wall is in the sun, but the cold keeps their bruised and bandaged hands from sweating. Caldwell is the father of a 20-month-old son, Fitz. In a Facebook post before the climb, he wrote, “For me the Dawn Wall is the perfect venue for some of the most important values I want to show Fitz. Optimism, perservereance (sic), dedication and the importance of dreaming big.”
“Mentally, they’re as high as kites right now. They’ve gone as far as they’ve gone much more quickly than they thought they would,” said Caldwell’s father, Mike.
Caldwell and Jorgeson attempted this same climb in 2010 but were stopped by storms. Another try the next year failed because of an injury and the sheer difficulty of the climb. But this time, they are making their best progress yet.
“There’s a lot less ice this morning and it starts to get exciting now, so that’s the latest,” Jorgeson said in another update.
At this rate, they could make history by this weekend.
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