Two rock climbers in Yosemite National Park are attempting what just might be the most difficult ascent in the world: a free climb of the 3,000-foot-high Dawn Wall on the park's legendary granite monolith, El Capitan.
Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are attached to ropes to keep them from falling, but aren't using the ropes to help with the climb. Every inch will have to be earned as they utilize small cracks, nooks and ledges to pull themselves up.
If Jorgeson and Caldwell succeed, they will become the first ever to free-climb the Dawn Wall.
“What makes the Dawn Wall so special is that it’s almost not possible,” climber Alex Honnold told The New York Times. “The hardest pitches on the Dawn Wall are harder than I’ve ever climbed.”
The pair, who've attempted to free-climb the Dawn Wall twice before, have been documenting the effort extensively on social media.
So far, the climb has already taken a toll, especially on the fingers.
My battle with the #DawnWall boils down to this right hand razor blade. It's so small, tape prevents a proper grip for the crux sequence. So, I'm practicing patience and resting until I can try Pitch 15 without tape. Every fiber of me wants to send this pitch. Thanks to @sparkshopclimbing for the screen grab. @adidasoutdoor
On Monday, the Jorgeson and Caldwell were resting "and trying to grow skin back on their fingertips so they can continue to do battle with the hardest climbing sections, which involve grabbing tiny, razor-sharp edges of rock," Josh Lowell with Big Up Productions, which has been documenting the pair, told The Associated Press.
After more than a week on El Capitan, the duo are roughly halfway up.
The climbers have been sleeping in tents attached to the wall, with supplies being brought up by other climbers who are using ropes, the Times reported.
Jorgeson and Caldwell have cellphone reception -- hard to come by in much of Yosemite -- and conducted a live Q&A via Twitter on Friday under the #AskDawnWall hashtag.
They've even been able to watch Netflix during their downtime:
This is not the only unusual feat on El Cap in recent days.
Over the weekend, photographers tracking the pair spotted a climber at the top who was naked except for a harness and a pair of shoes. The unidentified nude climber was doing what's known as the Porch Swing, which looks like this when attempted by clothed climbers.
Videos of the attempt are being posted on YouTube.