26, 1999 - Day 8
most experienced El Capitan climber on earth, Steve Gerberding,
sent a message by cell phone to Mark and Mike: "I have no idea
how you guys are going to get through the Grey Bands. That terrain
is too tough for a paraplegic. You'd better go around it and find
an easier way for Wellman."
disagreed, "We want to do this route in classic style with no
shortcuts. We'll find a way. If we wanted something easier we'd
have chosen a different route," said Mark, then added with a laugh,
"or skipped the whole project and gone to the beach. This ascent
is about pushing the limits and breaking through barriers. Otherwise,
what's the point?"
noon today, Mark and Mike had powered through the "Gray Bands,"
and headed for the most intimidating formation on the entire route,
The Great Roof. Moving strongly, the team reached Camp 4, one
pitch below the Great Roof, before calling it a good, productive
day and making camp. Mike continued, however to set up the ropes
for an early start tomorrow.
now on the terrain gets steeper but more direct, a definite plus
for Mark's technique and equipment.
destination point, Camp 5.