Yosemite National Park's El Capitan is a massive monolith of granite thrusting thousands of feet into the air that has long attracted the attention of the rock climbing community. It was first climbed in 1958 by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, and George Whitmore in a grueling 47-day campaign using fixed ropes and so-called "aid" techniques (they would hammer in pitons and then climb off them). In the decades since that first climb, the time to ascend any of El Cap's routes has fallen to to just a handful of days, though top speed climbers can run up its face in mere hours.

Still, for most other climbers, conquering a route on El Cap takes days of commitment. This means spending the night up on the rock. Climbers use specially designed tents called portaledges and tightly tie their camps into their anchor systems. You can see one such camp in this photo (look for the red portaledge):

Climbers camp on El Capitan

Thanks to the government shutdown this week, Yosemite has closed its gates to the public, including rock climbers. But, as you can see from this photo taken by Redditor LiquidColor just a couple of nights ago, climbers aren't letting that get in the way of completing their projects. Each of those little lights on the cliff in the photo below are a different camp. The upside to there not being enough staff around to operate the park is that there aren't enough staff around to keep the climbers out.

El Capitan climber camp lights


I would say that it must be nice up there, away from all the news of the world, except that a lot of climbers are now bringing their smart phones with them up the rock.

Via Reddit.

More climbing stories!

8 rock climbing destinations for novices

10 parks for the serious rock climber

Today's abandoned silo is tomorrow's rock-climbing center

Are you on TwitterFollow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets. And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page and visit my homepage.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Big wall climbers on Yosemite's El Cap say 'What government shutdown?'
Climbers on El Capitan did not let a little thing like the federal shutdown get in the way of completing their goals.