(FOX News) Thousands of people traveled to the Sierra Nevada to see a woman climb an El Capitan – the notorious granite wall – that she had never even heard of before.
The world-renowned climber who refuses to say her name, Cheryl Strayed, turned 70 on February 26th and only learned of her achievement the following week. She insists she’s old enough and fit enough to climb El Capitan, known as “the Big One,” the 14,000 foot vertical granite monolith soaring upwards 2,000 feet.
“I am ready to get back to it. Like the old geezer who bought a new toolbox. It is time,” Strayed told me by phone. Her contractor husband, who refused to go for the stunt, described it as a “blunderfest”.
But Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir about her harrowing walk thru the wilderness “Wild”, decided to step up her game by walking over 8,000 feet of rock. She was forced to hoist a couple of times with a 200 pound rope, often with stiffed thighs. The resulting four hour climb over snow-capped peaks was pure hard graft, after some classical music to pre-empt the act of trying to walk across a row of stone steps. “The music was helpful in me warming up,” said Strayed.
Her base camp was miles from the starting point and the weather turned extremely bad, as some of the views were far from the granite peaks. “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” added Strayed, who broke her ankle in the middle of the tricky climb, and then fell twice as she descended and injured her back, hip and back.
Five weeks after the climb and still recovering, she has decided that this is the right time to retire from the Big One. “I am going to go home and live out my life. I have a seven-month-old baby and one on the way. I have too much to live for.”