Now...before I go into full on 'curmudgeon' rant mode, a disclaimer. There are times when climbing the stairs from my laundry room to the living room with a full basket of clothes to fold does me in. I am not, in anyway, running down the physical accomplishment of the parties involved in this story I am about to tell to 'Get Off My Lawn'.
So, earlier this week, two gentleman, in a feat of great physical endurance, became the first climbers to complete a 'free climb' up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. They made it to the top, and much champagne was opened to celebrate this historic event. I just question how historic an event it really was.
'Free Climbing', in this case, implies that these gentleman made it to the top without using ropes, piton's and hammers to help them gain vertical advantage...and that is true for this climb. However...they did have a support crew with them that, that was driving ropes and piton's that they used as a safety harness to catch them if they fell...which they did, dozen's of times.
I mean...so, dying during this attempt would have had this labeled a tragedy, instead of 'historic'. But...does getting an endless string of do-overs really count?
Once again...not running down what these guys did. They lived on the side of a cliff for 19 days. Their hands looked like hamburger when they made it to the top, because you have to essentially wait for your skin to freeze so it was hard enough to resist tearing on the rock. They are studs...and completed one of their life's goals.
For the record...they did hike back down.