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2 free-climb Nose route

October 25, 2005

A husband-and-wife team became the first people in more than a decade to free-climb Yosemite National Park's legendary Nose route -- one of the most difficult ascents up 3,000-foot El Capitan.

Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden of Estes Park, Colo., spent four days ascending the granite monolith, gripping rock by hand and using ropes and other gear only to prevent a fall.

The couple completed the climb Oct. 14.

Protruding from El Capitan's face, the Nose is difficult to climb because the hardest sections -- Changing Corners and the Great Roof -- come near the end when climbers are exhausted.

"There are no real holds, just tiny imperfections in the granite, and moves have to be perfectly timed," said Lynn Hill, who in 1993 became the first person to free-climb the Nose.

Two days after reaching the top, Caldwell repeated the climb in less than 12 hours -- the second person to free-climb the Nose in a single day.

-- Bill Becher

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