If you haven’t got a head for heights, you’ll sympathise with the girlfriend of British YouTube star and professional rock climber, Nate Murphy, who spent their anniversary being hoisted 800 metres up the side of a rock-face.
Nate, 32, originally from Cornwall, surprised Tama on their anniversary by announcing that he had planned an ascent for the two of them up the biggest overhanging wall in North America. The Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park is a popular destination for rock climbers, but is a strenuous climb, requiring approximately three to four days to reach the summit.
Scaling the wall is usually a task reserved for more experienced rock climbers, and Tama practised using etriers or fabric ladders. When they set off on their adventure, Nate carried a giant, heavy backpack on his back. The pair even encountered a mother bear and her cubs en route to their starting point, which meant they had to exercise great caution.
Tama, 30, had never tackled such an enormous climb before and she found it very hard work. During the climb, she and Nate had to camp out on a ledge overnight, hovering precariously several hundred metres above ground. “Big wall living is hard work, hauling loads up to 80kg, cooking, not dropping anything important and going to the toilet all adds up to create high adventure,” says Nate.
“Tama had been climbing for several months but only on low level and much less adventurous stuff. This was a massive step up! Some people could not believe that she went up there at all, it is very unusual for someone so inexperienced to climb big walls. It was pretty cool she agreed to come up.”
Tama says she found going up the wall really hard, but she learned a huge amount and was delighted when they reached the top. “It is so much work, everything hurts all the time,” she says. “But you do get a great feeling at the end of the day when you stop, it’s like a runner’s high for big-wall climbers.”
Follow Nate’s adventures on his YouTube channel.