SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A pair of climbers attempting to scale a massive granite face on the El Capitan rock formation at Yosemite National Park without bolts or other climbing tools were waiting until nightfall to continue their nearly two-week effort, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are trying for the third time to conquer the near-vertical face of the 3,000-foot high formation’s so-called dawn wall using only their hands and feet to climb.
“The challenge is to do all the sections without using gear to help them get up the wall,” said Big Up Productions filmmaker Josh Lowell, who is documenting the pair’s efforts. “They’ll still have the rope if they fall, but they’re trying to use just their hands and feet.”
Because the warmth of the day can cause their hands and feet to perspire, Jorgeson and Caldwell were waiting until dusk on Tuesday to get started, and would climb in the light of headlamps that they wear.
After several years of preparation, Jorgeson and Caldwell tried to scale the near-vertical rock face in 2010 and 2011, returning this year for what they hope will be a successful effort, he said.
The pair are using safety ropes in case of falls, and do use ropes and other tools to move back and forth from their campsite perched high in the rock, he said.
But each day, they methodically try to climb one of several “pitches,” varying lengths of rock that they try to master with only their hands and feet, until eventually they have climbed the whole wall.
“They’re incredibly determined,” Lowell said.