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Two Climbers Attempt Risky El Capitan Ascent


Scott Gediman is a park ranger at Yosemite. He says the climbers have only been using their hands and feet to scale the rock, which stands more than three thousand feet above the Yosemite Valley floor.

"These two world-class climbers are attempting to pioneer a new route," explains Gediman, "with a free-climb meaning there will be no ropes aiding in their climb, only for safety, up what's called the Dawn Wall of El Capitan."

The two climbers are: 30 year old Kevin Jorgeson of Santa Rosa and 36 year old Tommy Caldwell of Colorado. They've been climbing since December 27th.

Yosemite is a popular destination for rock climbing with well established routes.

"In fact there are books that outline these routes," says Gediman. "And what these gentlemen are doing is basically pioneering a new route and this is very slick granite, it's never been done the way they're doing it right now."

Gediman says it's creating lots of interest.

"People are gathering at El Capitan meadows to look up at the climbers," says Gediman. "So we're pretty excited about it. Of course we're concerned with the safety issues. But these are world-class climbers."

Climbers Jorgeson and Caldwell hope to reach the top of El Capitan by Friday.

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio