In a sort-of-unbelievable feat, two American rock climbers have successfully scaled the 3,000-foot vertical Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell began their climb Dec. 27, and have lived on the wall in the 19 days since. Jorgeson tweeted that the climb was not about conquering the wall, but about "realizing a dream." Caldwell saw the wall as a quest, too, The New York Times reported, a kind of "personal Moby Dick."
El Capitan is the largest granite monolith in the world, according to the National Park Service. The Dawn Wall is considered by many to be the most difficult rock climb in the world, and has been described as being as "smooth as a bedroom wall." This makes it all the more impressive when climbers take it on.
Along the way, the pair tweeted pictures and random thoughts (when they reached a place where they could hold on, obviously), and they had a few setbacks, including injuries and falls. But Jorgeson and Caldwell became the first to "free climb" the Dawn Wall, meaning aside from the attached safety ropes, they used only their hands and feet to make the ascent.
This is not the first time anyone has ever climbed the Dawn Wall, but it is the first free-climb ever completed. In 1970, Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell (not related to Tommy Caldwell) climbed the Dawn Wall using ropes and rivets over 27 days.
Caldwell and Jorgeson celebrated their achievement earlier today, embracing when they reached the summit. The pair had trained for the climb for five years, and Jorgeson fell nearly a dozen times in one particularly brutal segment of the ascent.
But the view from the climb was pretty spectacular.