California A heart transplant survivor has added another first to her long string of mountaineering feats since getting a new heart 13 years ago - a dangerous 2 1/2-day climb up the sheer, 2,000-foot face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park's famed granite monolith.
Kelly Perkins, 46, and her husband, Craig, led by big-wall guide Scott Stowe, began the climb Thursday and reached the top of the iconic 8,842-foot-high dome Saturday afternoon.
The ascent completed an important circle for her. In 1996, 10 months out of the hospital with her new heart, she finished the first of many post-transplant climbs by hiking up the easier backside of Half Dome.
"I feel great. Physically, I feel I'm stronger than I've ever been," Perkins said by cell phone from the top of Half Dome.