Men Of The Week: The El Capitan Climbers

What it's like on hardest free climb in the world

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[Above: Jorgeson tackles the fourteenth pitch of El Capitan's Dawn Wall]

While we’re all getting used to being back to work and moaning about the weather, two US rock climbers are on the verge of completing the world’s most difficult rock climb.

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are currently twelve days deep into the world’s first ever attempt to “free climb” the Dawn Wall of the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park. Standing at 3,000 ft, the rock face is just under three times the height of the Shard. Just think about that the next time you're sipping a cocktail in the Aqua bar.


[Above: Caldwell prepares for a day's climb]

To help navigate the climb, the Dawn Wall has been broken down into 32 sections or “pitches”, many of which are considered among the most treacherous climbs in the world on their own. At present Caldwell and Jorgeson are around halfway through the climb, with Jorgeson slowed by injuries he sustained on the 15th pitch - even tweeting that the razor sharp ledges had ripped the skin from his fingers. Having moved on to the 18th pitch, Caldwell took the decision to wait for Jorgeson so they can proceed together (at the time of writing).

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[Above: Caldwell tackles the tenth pitch]

The pair have previously attempted to complete the climb twice before, but were forced to give up. Although the pair are accompanied by a support team delivering supplies, this will be the first time the Dawn Wall has been scaled using only the climber’s own physical strength to ascend and safety ropes in case of a slip, as opposed to the traditional, safer method of using climbing pegs to help hold a climber in place.

[Above: El Capitan's Dawn Wall at night]

Frankly, the whole endeavour makes your New Year's resolution to run a 10k look a bit silly.

Despite being thousands of feet up a cliff face, both Caldwell and Jorgeson are still finding time to Instagram the whole event. You can (and should) follow them at kjorgeson and tommycaldwell.

And, as if their feat wasn’t impressive enough, a look at their sleeping arrangements [above] should make you think twice the next time you complain about having to put the heating on in bed.

Tackled anything similar?


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