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Return to the Challenge - July 24, 1999 - Day 6

July 24, 1999 - Day 6

Another productive day for the climbing team. After a delightful night's sleep on the rare flat ground of spacious El Cap Tower, Mike led the dreaded "Texas Flake" an enormous detached flake of granite about 70 feet high. He wedged himself into the four-foot wide crevice, put his back on one side and feet on the other and just wiggled his way up, six inches at a time. Unfortunately, there's no way to place any protective hardware in that chimney. If Mike had fallen, it would have all been over. But he didn't fall, and Mark was soon scrambling up to join him.

After Texas Flake, the route follows a diagonal ladder of bolts across a blank section of holdless rock, then turns straight up the side of "Boot Flake," another prominent feature on the massive wall. By the time Mark and Mike were established on top of Boot Flake, the two felt so comfortable, they decided to set up the Portaledge and make camp right there.

With everything set, Mike continued climbing into the late afternoon, setting the ropes for tomorrow's all-out push across the terrifying "King Swing," a 50 foot sideways leap through empty air to reach a distant crack system that leads to the upper section of the mountain.

The team is now about halfway, 1500 feet up, higher than the Sears Tower or the Empire State Building, with another 1500 feet to go..

Return to the Challenge - Daily Report, Day 6


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