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Return to the Challenge - July 19, 1999 - Day 1

July 19, 1999 - Day 1

At 1:30pm today, Mark, Mike and photographer, Eric Perlman, began the Ascent of El Capitan. Surrounded by five TV news crews, assorted reporters, and dozens of well-wishers, the men strapped into their climbing harnesses, hooked onto the ropes and headed up the gleaming, granite wall.

With three thousand feet of vertical to climb, their spirits were high and their nerves were steady. Mark kissed his girlfriend goodbye then hauled himself over the heads of the crowd and into the vertical world. Mike followed quickly behind.

Eric was just above, filming the first 50 feet. The climb went slowly but steadily as Mark and Mike found their rhythm.

Four hours later and 500 vertical feet higher, they arrived at Sickle Ledge, site of their first bivouac. After setting up their portaledges and organizing their gear for the evening, the men called in at about 6:00 PM with reports of success and the satisfaction of having finished a good first day on, the rock.

Tomorrow they confront the first of the dreaded pendulum traverses.

 

Return to the Challenge - Daily Report, Day 1

 

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