Mountaineer George Mallory was once asked “Why did you want to climb Everest?” His famous response was “Because it’s there.” Today, climbing Everest, although still extremely dangerous and often lethal, does not have the cache it once had. After all, the biggest complaint among serious mountain-climbers is that the peak is filled with tourists and garbage. So where do you go if you are seeking the thrill of the Climb? Well, if you’re Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell you head to Yosemite to ascend El Capitan. At a mere 3,000 feet, the granite monolith is a foothill compared to Everest, K2 or Kilimanjaro. And it’s been climbed before many times. So what’s the big deal about this expedition? Jorgeson and Caldwell are free-climbing. As in: using only their hands and feet.
No picks. No toe-holds. No ropes (well, actually, there are ropes, but not to pull them up, just to make sure the free climb doesn’t turn into a free fall.) “The razor-sharp holds on the rock wall tend to cut their fingers, so they spend occasional rest days in their tents, suspending them hundreds of feet up as they let their fingers heal,” reports Bored Panda. They are about halfway up and are sharing their adventure on Twitter. You can look at some of the photos here, but if you have a fear of heights, you may not want to.