LOS ANGELES – Two climbers trying to become the first to scale a 3,000-foot (900-meter) face of the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park in California without bolts or climbing tools believe they will reach the top on Wednesday, representatives said.
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, who began their latest attempt to conquer El Capitan on Dec. 27, started climbing the final 11 “pitches” of the so-called Dawn Wall on Tuesday, spokeswoman Jess Clayton said.
The Dawn Wall of El Capitan is divided into 32 climbing pitches, which are varying lengths of rock that the climbers are trying to master with only their hands and feet. The wall has been scaled before, first by legendary climber Warren Harding in 1970, but never before without climbing tools.
“We will update you on their progress this evening as best we can, but it is likely that they will finish up the climb tomorrow evening,” she said.
Caldwell and Jorgeson are using safety ropes in case of falls, and using ropes and other tools to move back and forth from their campsite perched high on the rock. Because the warmth of the day can cause their hands and feet to perspire, the two often start climbing at dusk.
Jorgeson made it to the final 11 pitches after struggling for several days last week on difficult pitch 15, at one point being forced to rest for two days while the skin on his fingers healed after being ripped off by razor-sharp ledges.