Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by n1 on Tuesday January 06 2015, @10:04AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the not-a-molehill dept.

For most climbers, The Nose of El Capitan is such an outrageous challenge that climbing it is the crowning achievement of a climbing career. Now John Branch reports at The New York Times that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, are trying something that has never been done — scaling El Capitan's Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park, as smooth as alabaster, as steep as the bedroom wall, and more than half a mile tall — without the benefit of ropes, other than to catch their falls. “If they get it completed, it will be the hardest completed rock climb in the world,” says Tom Evans. “This will be the climb of the first half of the 21st century.” After a week of slow, steady progress, and with good weather forecast for the next week, optimism is building that Caldwell and Jorgeson would complete a task they had worked toward — studying, training and failing on a couple of prior pushes — for several years with single-minded obsession. Evans says that only about 13 of El Capitan’s climbing routes had been free climbed, meaning that moving upward is done only with hands and feet. The Dawn Wall, so named because its southeast orientation catches the first light of morning, is far harder than any of the others. “What makes the Dawn Wall so special is that it’s almost not possible,” says Alex Honnold. “The hardest pitches on the Dawn Wall are harder than I’ve ever climbed.”

The rock climbing on this particular route is defined by grabbing edges of rock as thin and sharp as razor blades, and balancing across the most friction-dependent smears of blank, glacier-polished granite. But part of the difficulty of such a quest is the cumulative effect on the mind and body. Climbing for days in a row can rub fingers raw. Sleeping in slings amid the elements can be taxing, if not dangerous. Climbing mostly in the late afternoon and into the night, using headlamps and the lights of the roped-in camera crew recording the expedition, Caldwell and Jorgeson are moving steadily. Family members and friends are tracking the climb through text messages and social media and if things continue to go well, they will converge on El Capitan sometime in the coming days. “Best case is seven days,” Caldwell says of the finish. “Worst case is mid-February. Or not at all, I suppose.”

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @11:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @11:49AM (#132193)

    “Worst case is mid-February"
    Is someone helping with supplies or is this a joke? How much food did they bring anyway? Any pictures of them taking a shit off the wall?

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @12:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @12:02PM (#132197)

      These are free-climbers, who believe in using as little equipment as possible. That goes for supplies too. I believe they sustain themselves by licking moss and birdshit off the rock face as they climb.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:07PM (#132208)

      This is a "free climb" in rock climbing parlance, not free climb in the colloquial sense. They have support, they have anchors, they have tie offs and ropes and plenty of other things going for them. They don't have to carry up all their food and water so they can take a rest for however long they like in their cliff cabana. The holds certainly are not as thin and sharp as razor blades (think about that for a second) and this is definitely not the hardest free ascent in the world.

      The story is a mixture of glorification of a truly hard endeavor and clickbait. Not a bad story and definitely worth reading, but not entirely truthful in a forthcoming manner either. You know, like anything else from National Geographic.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by SecurityGuy on Tuesday January 06 2015, @08:27PM

        by SecurityGuy (1453) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @08:27PM (#132343)

        It might be the hardest, depending on how you're measuring. I'm sure there are harder boulder problems, but they're not ~30 pitches long. If this has never been done, it needs to be done, rated, and repeated before there's really a consensus on how hard it is.

        The holds certainly are not as thin and sharp as razor blades (think about that for a second)

        As a former climber, this stuff bugs me, too. No, they're not climbing on holds like razor blades. They are climbing on things that non-climbers would consider unclimbable, but a recreational climber would look at and see a hold, if perhaps a hold they aren't good enough to use. The "smooth as alabaster" bugs me, too. Sure it is, but that's not the part they're pulling on.

    • (Score: 2) by gman003 on Tuesday January 06 2015, @02:53PM

      by gman003 (4155) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @02:53PM (#132244)

      They brought food, and are resupplied by other climbers from time to time. They talk in the NatGeo article about how the cold temperature keeps their food fresh - there's some nice pics of their sandwiches.

      No shit-pictures, but I'm sure if that's what you're into you can find some.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:42PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:42PM (#132216) Homepage Journal

    All by myself. It is quite a cool experience.

    I was taught by a US Marine, when one is in a war, one probably does not have ropes, pitons, carabiner clips or rock hammers.

    Quite a cool experience, but a very dangerous one. I decided to give it up after making my peace with my Maker one fine afternoon, then pushing off a rock wall as hard as I could, so I would not land on the debris at its base.

    I've been contemplating taking up climbing again as of late, though I expect this time I would use the equipment, and climb with a buddy so as to have a belay.

    I'm fifty years old, I may even take up smoking!

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @02:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @02:12PM (#132231)
      Just wait till the "gecko" gloves and shoes tech becomes better :).
  • (Score: 1) by JMV on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:26PM

    by JMV (3741) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:26PM (#132252)

    True free climbing is done completely without ropes. These guys, while crazy, are at least using ropes to catch their falls.

    • (Score: 1) by draconx on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:41PM

      by draconx (4649) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:41PM (#132259)

      Free climbing refers to not using gear to assist the climber's ascent (in contrast with aid climbing; i.e., "free from aid"). Gear is (normally) still used for protection in case of falls.

      Climbing without any protective gear at all is called free soloing, which is a type of free climbing. These climbers appear to be attempting a trad (traditional) climb, which means they place removable protective gear in the rock as they ascend.

    • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Tuesday January 06 2015, @04:35PM

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @04:35PM (#132271) Homepage

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_climbing#Common_misunderstandings_of_the_term [wikipedia.org]

      The two most common errors are:

              Confusing free climbing with its subset free soloing, a willfully risk-taking endeavor involving climbing with just one's hands, feet, and body without any rope or protective equipment

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
  • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday January 06 2015, @04:27PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @04:27PM (#132270) Journal

    I would have to say Glaswegian, or possibly Geordie.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @05:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @05:29PM (#132285)

    It's been a while, but it had to happen. STOP POSTING CRAP LIKE THIS.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:06PM (#132310)

      Or better yet, stop posting links to NYT regardless of context. I'm not logging in, and I'm not masking myself as $searchbot to view it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:48PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:48PM (#132320)

        You don't have to log in to view the article.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @08:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @08:29PM (#132345)

          NYtimes is one of few news sites that flat-out refuses to function unless you accept cookies from them. That's a good enough reason to avoid them.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @07:52PM (#132324)

      It's been a while, but it had to happen. STOP POSTING CRAP LIKE THIS.

      Whatever you're whining about, either don't read it and post a story that interests you. The forum members have a variety of interests and experiences, it is not here just for your entertainment.