The 7,500-foot challenge of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan has beckoned to mountain climbers for more than 150 years, but no one’s ever been stark raving mad enough to climb the thing stark naked. In what may start a new streak of naked rock climbing, we get word from Climbing magazine that notably buff mountain climbers Leah Poppajohn and Jonathan Fleury just completed the balls-to-the-wall task of the first naked climb of The Nose on El Capitan, pulling it off on June 6 in the span of just 12 hours.
We Did It!!! @j.fleury and I climbed The Nose naked; the first naked ascent of El Cap! (for you non-climbers out there: "naked" is not a fancy climbing term like "free". It straight-up means I did it without any clothes.) We even broke both of our personal time records on the route: 12hrs exactly! I'm telling ya'll- lightweight is the way to do it! It's hard to express what I feel after a life dream has been achieved. Yes, I feel some sunburn. I feel a bit sore. I feel proud of myself of course. But overwhelmingly, I feel so loved. I feel supported and encouraged by my friends, all the monkeys, my family (who answered my victory-announcing phone call with EVERYONE on speaker phone to hear), and especially my favorite monkey, Robbie. He has helped me every step of the way, (and even managed to get us on the news!) Anyhow, thanks ya'll for knowing that something this silly was still, honestly important to me. I guess the thing is, I thought I'd be saying that this is the greatest accomplishment of my life, but that's not true. It feels so much greater to be the best friend, daughter, sister, and partner that I can be. Working at that is always my most worthwhile struggle, and greatest achievement when I feel this kind of love. #FNA #themonkeysaresending #niad
“We Did It!!! @j.fleury and I climbed The Nose naked,” 29-year-old Leah Poppajohn proclaims on her Instagram page. “We even broke both of our personal time records on the route: 12hrs exactly! I'm telling ya'll- lightweight is the way to do it! It's hard to express what I feel after a life dream has been achieved.”
We cannot strip down the significance of the impressive 12-hour hiking time. According to the rock climbing authority that is Wikipedia, “The Nose typically takes fit climbers 4-5 days of full climbing, and has a success rate of around 60 percent.”
“The biggest difference was the ease of peeing at hanging belays,” Poppajohn told Climbing magazine.
While these two jaybirds were wearing shoes and backpacks, they were otherwise completely naked. “Clothes only slow you down,” Poppajohn said. “I thought I would move slower and more delicately, but it turns out clothes might as well be sandbags.”
The most significant risk you know, aside from falling and dying was sunburn. “Sunburn wasn't too bad,” according to Poppajohn. “I taped up a tube of sunscreen and attached it to my harness. When getting close to the top, I realized I was getting a little burned, but it was my lead block.”
“Climbing takes so much of your focus, you forget you're naked,” she continued. “As I was stemming up the first section of the great roof, Jon admitted that he had never stared at a vagina for so long. Just a part of the job description of an attentive naked belayer.”
“Belayer” refers to a rock climbing rope manipulation technique to ensure your climbing partner does not fall. I imagine climbing El Capitan naked is a great way to get belayed.
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