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Two of the world's best rock climbers coped with frightening falls and the deaths of two fellow climbers on the same rock in a month-long quest to shatter a mythical record in Yosemite National Park.
Tenacity paid off Wednesday as Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell reached the top of El Capitan, the most celebrated slab of granite on Earth, in less than two hours, breaking a barrier compared to the four-minute mile.
Time - Hour - Minutes - Seconds - Weeks
The blistering time of 1 hour, 58 minutes and seven seconds capped weeks of practice and a few stumbles on the so-called Nose route that runs up the middle of the 3,000-foot sheer monolith.
Honnold didn't think they were on a record pace until he glanced at his phone timer as he ran for the tree that marks the finish line, he told The Associated Press by phone as he hiked down from the summit.
God - Rope - Tree - Caldwell - Wave
'Oh my god, we're doing it,' he thought as he secured the rope to the tree and hoped Caldwell would hurry. 'It was slightly emotional when we finished it. I had a wave of, 'Oh wow.' I'm pretty proud we saw it through.'
The duo broke the record three times in the past week, carving more than 20 minutes off a 2017 mark.
Honnold - Records - Monday - May - Goal
Honnold said it would have been easy to stop after breaking records Monday and May 30, but they pressed toward the two-hour goal he considered the 'human potential.'
Hans Florine, who has held the record on and off between 1990 and 2012 - the last time with Honnold - said the mark is equivalent to the ongoing quest to break the two-hour marathon or Roger Bannister's 1954 achievement in the mile.
'We - Barrier - Barrier - Barrier - Mile
'We were pushing the five-hour barrier before and then the four-hour barrier and then the three-hour barrier. So which one of those is the four-minute mile?'...
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