The Big Climb My Life


The Big Climb

Thirteen-year-old Ella and her dad try to climb El Capitan, a towering rock in California. Ella gets a scare on her first night sleeping on the wall - 150 metres above the ground.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to The Big Climb. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

BIRD SCREECHES

0:00:180:00:20

Hello. I'm Ella, and right now,

0:00:200:00:23

I don't know how the rest of my life is going to pan out.

0:00:230:00:26

I guess it could go one of two ways - up...

0:00:260:00:30

or a very long way down.

0:00:300:00:32

I'm attempting to climb one of the world's biggest rock faces.

0:00:360:00:40

It's called El Capitan, or El Cap for short.

0:00:400:00:43

It's in the USA.

0:00:430:00:45

It's nearly a kilometre high, which probably doesn't sound like much,

0:00:460:00:51

but that's six London Eyes stacked on top of each other.

0:00:510:00:54

In the climbing world, this is one of the toughest challenges there is.

0:00:560:01:00

I kind of underestimated how big it was.

0:01:000:01:02

It's much bigger when you come to this angle.

0:01:020:01:04

Many experienced climbers never make it to the top,

0:01:040:01:07

but if I manage it, I'll be the youngest girl ever to do it.

0:01:070:01:12

'I'm 13. I live here in Sheffield with my family.

0:01:160:01:20

'I split my time between my mum's house and here at my dad's flat.

0:01:200:01:24

'He's a famous climber.

0:01:240:01:26

'He travels all over the world to climb the biggest,

0:01:260:01:29

'scariest rock faces he can find.

0:01:290:01:31

'I've grown up with his love for it,

0:01:310:01:33

'and I guess that's where it all began.

0:01:330:01:36

'My friends all think I'm a bit mad for liking climbing so much.

0:01:380:01:42

'But my head for heights does come in handy sometimes.

0:01:420:01:45

'We all go cheerleading together

0:01:450:01:47

'and I'm the one who gets to go flying through the air.

0:01:470:01:50

'Actually, everyone in my dad's family is nuts about climbing.'

0:01:520:01:56

'Dad loves to talk about his climbing adventures.

0:01:560:01:59

'I've heard all his stories over and over again.

0:01:590:02:03

'So, last year, to keep him quiet, I said, "I bet I could do that."'

0:02:030:02:07

It's probably the first big decisions of my life to say,

0:02:070:02:10

"Yes, I do want to do this and I am going to do this.

0:02:100:02:14

"I'm going to persevere and, like, do it."

0:02:140:02:16

'And we're off.

0:02:160:02:18

'It's an 11-hour plane journey before we touch down in California.

0:02:180:02:23

'I've never been to America before,

0:02:230:02:25

'although I did once watch an episode of Friends!

0:02:250:02:28

'This place is WAY bigger than Sheffield.'

0:02:320:02:35

-BOTH:

-Whoo-hoo!

0:02:350:02:36

'El Cap is still four hours away by car.'

0:02:360:02:40

'Only one thing for it - road trip.'

0:02:400:02:45

'Finally, we're in Yosemite National Park.

0:02:550:02:59

'And I get my first glimpse of what I'm going to be climbing.

0:02:590:03:02

'O...M...G.'

0:03:020:03:06

Is that it? Whoa, that's big.

0:03:080:03:11

-I expect you feel...

-Small.

0:03:110:03:14

HE LAUGHS You are quite small, though.

0:03:140:03:16

'To most people, this looks like a cliff.

0:03:190:03:22

'But in the climbing world, we call it "a wall".

0:03:220:03:25

'Climbing a big wall is a bit like taking a trip to the moon.

0:03:260:03:29

'We take everything we need to survive,

0:03:290:03:32

'like food, water and clothes.'

0:03:320:03:35

'We'll be climbing as soon as the sun comes up tomorrow,

0:03:420:03:46

'so I'm taking one last look

0:03:460:03:47

'at where I'll be spending the next four days.'

0:03:470:03:51

I kind of underestimated how big it was.

0:03:510:03:53

It's much bigger when you come to this angle.

0:03:530:03:56

Well, the main reason I'm climbing is cos not many people do it.

0:03:560:04:00

It's kind of an individual thing.

0:04:000:04:02

You do everything for yourself. It's like no-one can help you.

0:04:020:04:05

It's just you and the wall.

0:04:050:04:07

Today's the day.

0:04:140:04:16

It's boiling hot, and loads of people have decided not to climb

0:04:160:04:19

because of the heat.

0:04:190:04:21

But...we're going for it.

0:04:210:04:23

Well, the height's obviously much bigger from here,

0:04:230:04:26

cos you can just see it and it's kind of like...

0:04:260:04:29

It shows you how big it is compared to in the valley.

0:04:290:04:32

It is bigger from here, definitely.

0:04:320:04:35

'And this is how we'll do it.

0:04:370:04:39

'Super-climbers Paul and Aldo lead climb up the route,

0:04:390:04:42

'using the friction from their hands and feet to move up the rock,

0:04:420:04:47

'and pulling on bits of equipment that they wedge into cracks.

0:04:470:04:51

'They fix a rope to the wall,

0:04:510:04:52

'which is what I'm going to use to climb up.

0:04:520:04:55

'Here I go!'

0:04:580:05:00

This is kind of make-or-break time.

0:05:050:05:07

If she struggles on the first little bit,

0:05:070:05:09

then it doesn't bode well for the rest of it.

0:05:090:05:12

It's usually the worst bit, cos you have to dumar such a long way.

0:05:120:05:16

'It's a long way up, and after years of dreaming,

0:05:200:05:23

'months of planning and weeks of waiting, I'm finally on the wall.

0:05:230:05:27

'The technique I'm using to climb the wall is called dumaring.

0:05:310:05:35

'Basically, I push myself up with my feet using this foot loop.

0:05:350:05:39

'I slide this clip up the rope,

0:05:390:05:41

'it locks on, and it won't slide back down again.

0:05:410:05:44

'To get to the top, I'll just have to do this about, mm...

0:05:440:05:47

'4,000 times.'

0:05:470:05:49

Ugh!

0:05:490:05:50

The rope is 70 metres long,

0:05:550:05:57

so the climb is split into rope lengths,

0:05:570:05:59

or pitches, as climbers call them.

0:05:590:06:02

At the end of each rope length, there's a place called a belay,

0:06:020:06:05

where climbers before us have drilled metal bolts into the rock.

0:06:050:06:08

We clip ourselves in to rest or camp overnight.

0:06:080:06:12

There are 14 pitches on my route up El Cap.

0:06:120:06:15

Need to grab my cow's tail.

0:06:170:06:19

'And I've done my first pitch. Only 13 to go.

0:06:190:06:23

'It's only eight in the morning, but it's already boiling.'

0:06:230:06:26

-SHE SIGHS

-Need to put some suncream on.

0:06:260:06:28

'Dad is the last member of the team to make it off the ground.

0:06:300:06:33

'The whole team is now climbing.

0:06:330:06:36

'The only way is up.'

0:06:360:06:37

'When we reach the top of a pitch, Dad has to haul up all the bags

0:06:440:06:48

'with everything we need to survive on the wall.'

0:06:480:06:51

So we've got five people's stuff and lots of water,

0:06:510:06:54

so hauling is turning into a bit of a day-long nightmare.

0:06:540:06:59

It's the end of a long day of climbing.

0:07:010:07:04

'I'm exhausted. I can't wait to go to sleep.

0:07:040:07:07

'So right here, 150 metres above the ground, is my bedroom for the night.

0:07:070:07:12

'The only thing between me and the rocks below is a tiny portaledge -

0:07:140:07:18

'a lightweight metal frame that's a bit like a camp bed.'

0:07:180:07:22

'At this height, you really wouldn't want anything to go wrong.'

0:07:240:07:28

-CRASHING

-Oh!

0:07:280:07:30

'Because of a rope tangle below, my portaledge has become unstable.'

0:07:330:07:38

-Move your feet.

-I am. Right, can you lift it up a bit?

0:07:380:07:41

It's fine. I'll just wait until I sort out these stupid straps.

0:07:410:07:45

Agh!

0:07:470:07:48

I'll do it.

0:07:500:07:51

'Luckily, I'm roped into the wall, as I always am.

0:07:520:07:57

'Dad sorts out the problem.

0:07:570:07:59

'But that's one bedtime I won't be forgetting in a hurry.'

0:07:590:08:05

-BIRDS CALL

-'I'm awake at the crack of dawn.

0:08:050:08:07

'I don't think I've ever seen dawn before.

0:08:070:08:10

'But after last night's portaledge incident,

0:08:100:08:13

'I'm just happy to be here.'

0:08:130:08:15

Time for school.

0:08:150:08:17

No, it's not.

0:08:170:08:18

MUSIC: "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye ft. Kimbra

0:08:180:08:21

'When you're climbing big walls, you have to get used to early starts.

0:08:210:08:25

'I am trying, but it's just gone 7.30am, and it's hot already.'

0:08:250:08:31

I think it's at times like this when you start thinking,

0:08:310:08:34

"Was it a good idea?" really, but she'll get up this bit.

0:08:340:08:37

It just might take longer than you'd like, really.

0:08:370:08:40

'I've finished the second pitch of the day,

0:08:400:08:42

'but Dad's having some problems.'

0:08:420:08:44

Dad, you've really tangled the rope.

0:08:440:08:47

'He's somehow managed to twist his rope

0:08:470:08:49

'around the bags he's pulling up,

0:08:490:08:51

'and if he doesn't untangle it we're going to grind to a halt.

0:08:510:08:55

'To fix it, he has to swing out and around.

0:08:550:08:58

'Rather him than me.'

0:08:580:08:59

Whoo!

0:09:070:09:08

'We haven't yet reached our planned camp for the night.

0:09:270:09:30

'The whole team is exhausted, but we have to keep climbing.

0:09:300:09:34

'I don't mind so much - it's much cooler at night.'

0:09:340:09:38

'Throughout the day on the wall we just eat snacks,

0:09:400:09:44

'but at night we have our meal,

0:09:440:09:46

'and tonight Paul and Aldo were the chefs.

0:09:460:09:48

'On the menu is a wrap with tuna and cream cheese

0:09:480:09:52

'and some curry couscous.

0:09:520:09:53

'It may seem like an odd combination

0:09:530:09:55

'but when it's your only meal of the day, it goes down well.'

0:09:550:09:59

Ow, got indigestion from eating too fast.

0:09:590:10:02

Thank you, Paul and Aldo, you made my day.

0:10:040:10:08

# Holiday, oh, holiday The best one of the year... #

0:10:150:10:21

'It's day three of the climb and we are now too far up to go back down.

0:10:210:10:26

'We have to make it to the top.'

0:10:260:10:28

I'm spraying everyone because everyone smells.

0:10:280:10:31

And it's not nice.

0:10:330:10:34

'These have been the most exhausting days of my life.

0:10:390:10:41

'I'm doing 1,000 pull-ups a day,

0:10:410:10:44

'I'm burning more calories than I'm eating,

0:10:440:10:47

'and I'm not getting enough sleep.

0:10:470:10:49

'But we can't fall behind schedule.'

0:10:490:10:51

So I feel really, really, really tired...

0:10:510:10:54

SHE YAWNS

0:10:540:10:57

..and try and sort of sleep but um...

0:10:570:11:01

..I think on a scale of nought to ten, I'm definitely ten,

0:11:020:11:06

I'm like, so tired.

0:11:060:11:08

Doing well, Ella.

0:11:190:11:21

It's harder than it looks, seriously.

0:11:250:11:29

-Ella?

-Yeah.

0:11:290:11:31

What are you going to do when you get on the top?

0:11:310:11:33

Er...fall asleep.

0:11:330:11:36

-Why don't you sing a song?

-I don't want to sing a song.

0:11:360:11:40

# I like to move it, move it I like to move it, move it

0:11:400:11:43

# I like to move it, move it I like to...

0:11:430:11:47

# Move it. #

0:11:470:11:49

'Yeah. Thanks, Dad.'

0:11:490:11:52

I had a mini emotional moment when I was like,

0:11:540:11:58

really sad cos I dropped my iPad.

0:11:580:12:01

It's just sad.

0:12:010:12:02

It's been a really hard day.

0:12:040:12:06

It looked easy but it's really not. It's horrible

0:12:060:12:09

'It's day 4 and hopefully the last.

0:12:130:12:17

'There's no sign of it being any cooler.

0:12:170:12:19

'And we're close to the top,

0:12:190:12:21

but it will still take a full day of tough climbing to make it.'

0:12:210:12:24

-Two more pitches to go - have you got it in you?

-Yeah.

0:12:240:12:27

-Really?

-Yeah.

-Really?

-Yeah.

0:12:270:12:29

'But the end is in sight,

0:12:320:12:33

'and after four days and 13 pitches

0:12:330:12:36

'there's only one more rope length between me and success.

0:12:360:12:40

'I've got to make it.'

0:12:400:12:42

Dad, can I free-climb this last pitch?

0:12:450:12:48

You couldn't talk a few seconds ago!

0:12:480:12:50

Where have you got the energy from?

0:12:500:12:52

Well, no, cos dumaring takes more effort.

0:12:520:12:55

OK, I'll belay you up, over.

0:12:550:12:57

'I'm going to attempt to free-climb this last pitch.

0:12:570:13:00

'This means using just my hands and feet to scale the rock.

0:13:000:13:04

'I'm still clipped into Dad via the rope, just in case.'

0:13:040:13:08

Come along, it's like climbing on the edge of the world.

0:13:170:13:21

'At the start of this journey,

0:13:210:13:23

'I didn't know which way things would work out.

0:13:230:13:27

'But now I do, because I'm about to make it to the top of El Capitan.'

0:13:270:13:31

# Cos, baby, you're a firework

0:13:310:13:34

# Come on, show 'em what you're worth... #

0:13:340:13:38

Remind me never to do that again with any other of my children.

0:13:380:13:42

'I'm Ella.

0:13:430:13:44

'I'm 13 years, ten months and eight days old

0:13:440:13:47

'and I'm now the youngest girl ever to climb El Capitan.

0:13:470:13:51

'Oh, yeah. Thanks, Dad.'

0:13:510:13:53

# Cos, baby, you're a firework

0:13:530:13:56

# Come on, show 'em what you're worth

0:13:560:14:01

# Make 'em go "Ah, ah, ah"

0:14:010:14:04

# As you shoot across the sky... #

0:14:040:14:07

Thirteen-year-old Ella from Sheffield is a rock climber who plans to scale El Capitan with her dad. El Capitan is a towering rock in California's Yosemite Valley and climbing it is a challenge that even the most seasoned of professional climbers struggle with. Ella and her dad must spend four days living and sleeping in a vertical world as they make their way slowly up the rock face.

They battle soaring temperatures, rope tangles and each other's patience as they try to make it to the top. While the rest of her Year 9 friends are studying hard in school, Ella is getting to grips with her first experience of big-wall climbing and pushing her body to the limit. If she does make it, she will be the youngest girl to have ever conquered this iconic rock.

Watch with your heart in your mouth as Ella gets a scare on her first night sleeping on the wall - perched 150 metres above the ground, her sleeping ledge becomes unstable... as if climbing wasn't scary enough!


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS