Unconquered mountain faces are becoming increasingly hard to find these days. But on Wednesday (?
Unconquered mountain faces are becoming increasingly hard to find these days. But on Wednesday ( November 18 ) climbers Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell made mountaineering history when they become first to conquer the south-east face of the E1 Capitan Peak in Yosemite National Park, California.
It took Warren, aged 45, and Caldwell, 27, a month to get to the top via the south east face -- called "The Wall of Morning Light". Last week ( Thursday, November 12 ) they rejected a rescue attempt by a team of 26 climbers who were airlifted to the top by helicopter. The attempt to pluck the men to safety was made after they had been battered by snow and rain, and their food was running low.
It two climbers, both experienced mountaineers, lived for the last five days on sweets, sardines and dried meat. During their ascent, they communicated with people on the ground by stuffing notes into empty food cans and dropping them.
As they reached the top of the 3,400-foot peak in Wednesday, after more than 20 days of dangling from vertical stone wall, Warren and Caldwell were greeted by park officials, newsmen and fellow mountaineers who had climbed up easier routes. Onlookers, including Harding's elderly mother, stood on the valley floor below and watched through binoculars. And to a fanfare of car hooters from the onlookers, the climbers swigged bottles of victory champagne on top of El Capitan.