Two Americans halfway done with ‘hardest rock climb in the world’

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YOSEMITE VILLAGE, Cali. — A couple of U.S. men are about halfway done with what is often referred to as the ‘hardest rock climb in the world.’ And they are doing it with just their hands and feet.

That’s right. They’re free climbing… up  a half-mile section of exposed granite in California’s Yosemite National Park.

For those unfamiliar with free climbing, here is the definition according to the American Alpine Institute — “Free climbing does not mean “without a rope.” Conversely, free climbing absolutely requires a rope. The defining characteristic of free climbing is that it does not require an individual to pull on protection. The protection exists to keep a climber from hitting the ground should he fall, not to aid the climber on his ascent.”

Tom Evans, a climber and photographer, has been documenting the progress of Kevin Jorgeson, 30, of California, and Tommy Caldwell, 36, of Colorado, as they scale their way up El Capitan.

According to The Guardian, El Capitan is the largest monolith of granite in the world, and rises more than 900 metres above the Yosemite Valley floor.

The men eat, stretch and sleep in hanging tents suspended to El Capitan’s Dawn Wall. They have been staying connected with their supporters through social media websites.

Josh Lowell with Big Up Productions has been documenting the duo’s climbs for six years now. He says the climbers are currently “resting and trying to grow skin back on their fingertips so they can continue to do battle with the hardest climbing sections, which involve grabbing tiny, razor-sharp edges of rock”.

If all goes as planned, the duo could be at the top as soon as Friday or Saturday, Lowell said.

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