30-year-old Kevin Jorgeson and 36-year-old Tommy Caldwell just completed the unthinkable. The two daredevils free-climbed over 3,000 feet up one of the hardest routes in the world. Using just their hands and feet, the pair made it all the way to the top of El Capitan Mountain, located at Yosemite National Park in California.
The giant mountain has been climbed many times before, but the Dawn Wall route is the most treacherous side of the mountain, with a sheer face of straight rock. The Dawn Wall route is considered to be one of the hardest climbs in the world, and these two men are the first to free-climb the entire way up.
Both Tommy and Kevin documented their brave and talented journey via Facebook. Now safely back home, the two incredible free-climbers can’t even believe what they accomplished! Learn more about their story and check out the jaw-dropping photos here.
Kevin and Tommy brought along ropes, but not to help them climb. The ropes were strictly for safety purposes, like say for instance one of them slipped and fell. Instead of using the rope for support, these two worked their way up the mountain gripping tight to any edges they could locate using just their fingers.
Many of these grabbing points are razor-sharp and quickly cut up the guys’ hands. Some so small the guys were forced to hang on by just the very tips of their fingers. As a result, their hands quickly became bloodied and injured, and the guys had to tape and glue their hands in order to continue on.
Since the journey up is exhausting and physically very harsh, the two made sure to get plenty of rest. You might be wondering how on earth they rested all this way up, but they had the perfect solution to the lack of available seating in the area. The pair would suspend a hanging tent hundreds of feet above the ground, here they enjoyed unparalleled views of Yosemite and healed up in preparation for more extreme climbing.
The pair reports it’s easier to climb at dusk when the temperatures are lower and their fingers don’t sweat. I can only imagine moist palms make for a bad tool when scaling a sheer mountainside!
This isn’t Naked and Afraid, the guys were airlifted some devices when they stopped to rest in their tent. A supporting team provided them with necessary supplies along the way, and they used solar polar devices to stay connected.
Hey that looks pretty tasty, fresh avocado and all!
The journey took over two weeks to complete. The hardest part of all was staying strong when their fingers were wrecked, ravaged, and so badly needed to continue the climb. Tommy wrote on his Facebook “Some of the smallest and sharpest holds I have ever attempted to hold onto. It’s crazy to think that the skin on our fingertips could be the limiting fact towards success or failure.”
Sometimes the pain in their fingers was so bad they took entire days off from climbing, instead basking in the California sun and praying that their skin would heal at a miraculous rate.
Despite the struggles these two faced along the way, they did succeed, becoming the first ever to free-climb up this insanely difficult mountain.
The guys just returned home within the last week, and on January 18th Kevin posted to his Facebook wall, “It’s been three days since Tommy and I topped out the #DawnWall and if my hands still didn’t hurt, I wouldn’t believe it happened. A dream come true…”