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NBC

What We Know So Far

  • Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are attempting to be the first free climbers to scale the Dawn Wall of El Capitan.
  • The rock face rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor. A safety rope is meant to keep the climbers from falling to their deaths if they lose their grips.
  • The route has 32 sections, called pitches. Caldwell has reportedly reached Pitch 18, but Jorgeson experienced difficulty surpassing Pitch 15, where razor sharp holds ripped into his fingers.
  • The duo completed their climb Wednesday afternoon, but do not plan to address the media until Thursday, leaving time to celebrate the feat with friends and family.

Updates

Free climbers complete hardest route in the world, scaling Dawn Wall in Yosemite.

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Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell on Wednesday became the first free climbers to scale the treacherous Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, completing what’s considered to be the hardest rock climb in the world without the aid of ropes or harnesses.

Jorgeson, 36, and Caldwell, 30, started their ascent of the 3,000-foot granite rock face Dec. 27 with nothing but safety ropes to keep them from falling to their deaths.

In the weeks that ensued, the men endured razor-sharp holds that ripped into their fingers as they worked to climb through 32 pitches, or sections, of the route.

Along the way, the duo’s climb was documented on their social media accounts and by photographers. And a live stream cam tracked the men as they made their final push Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Jorgeson and Caldwell said the climbers planned to spend the rest of the day alone with friends and family celebrating their feat, and that a news conference was planned for Thursday.

Of course, the celebration came on swift at the summit.

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Complete with a congratulatory tweet from the White House.

So proud of @TommyCaldwell1 and @KJorgeson for conquering El Capitan. You remind us that anything is possible. -bo

— WhiteHouse (@The White House)

Free climbers inch their way to top of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall.

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NBC / Via nbcnews.com

A spokeswoman for free climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell said they were still pushing toward the top of Dawn Wall as of Wednesday afternoon after starting off “a bit slower than expected.”

“We are still anticipating for them to finish this afternoon/evening, but it is very hard to say at this point,” Jess Clayton said in an email.

Live stream footage of the climb showed Jorgeson and Caldwell in brightly colored shirts inching their way ever closer to the top of the route, considered to be the toughest climb in the world.

Should the duo finish Wednesday night, a news conference in Yosemite is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, she added.

Duo expected to finish epic rock climb in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday.

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Climber Kevin Jorgeson looks up from Pitch 18 on the Dawn Wall of the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park in California Jan. 12. Reuters handout

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are expected to become the first free climbers to scale the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite on Wednesday, completing a grueling half-mile journey up the perilous rock face without the aid of ropes or harnesses.

The route up the sheer granite formation is considered to be the hardest rock climb in the world.

Caldwell, 36, and Jorgeson, 30, started their ascent of the 3,000-foot peak on Dec. 27.

Representatives for the men said the duo was expected to complete the climb Wednesday afternoon, after which they would spend the rest of the day with friends and family celebrating their feat.

A news conference with Jorgeson and Caldwell is planned for Thursday if all goes according to plan.

One of two free climbers attempting to scale what’s considered the hardest rock face in the world has encountered his toughest challenge yet.

For nearly two weeks now, Kevin Jorgeson of California and Tommy Caldwell of Colorado have been attempting to scale the Dawn Wall of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park.

There are 32 pitches, or sections, on the route. Caldwell reached Pitch 18 on Wednesday. But Jorgeson continues to fight Pitch 15 and its punishing, razor-sharp holds that literally rip skin off of fingers, the Associated Press reported.

Once Caldwell is able to reach a ledge, he plans to wait for his climbing partner.

This is Kevin Jorgeson, left, and Tommy Caldwell.

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And together, they’re attempting to set a world climbing record at Yosemite National Park in California.

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Jorgeson and Caldwell are trying to become the first free climbers to scale the Dawn Wall on El Capitan, known as the most difficult rock climb in the world.

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The rock face rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor, cutting an imposing figure. Jorgeson, a 30-year-old from Santa Rosa, and Caldwell, 36, of Estes Park, Colorado, started their climb on Dec. 27, and have now hit the halfway point. Getty Images / iStockphoto Michael Fitzsimmons

To sleep, eat, and recuperate, the men use tents suspended from the rock face.

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And when they climb, Caldwell and Jorgeson use only their hands and feet.

Although they do use a safety rope to keep them from falling thousands of feet to their deaths. facebook.com

But climbing takes its toll.

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The duo took a breather Monday to recuperate from the wear and tear the climb has had on their bodies so far.

Josh Lowell with Big Up Productions, which has been chronicling the pair’s climbs for the last six years, told the Associated Press Monday that the men planned to take the whole day to recuperate.

“They are resting and trying to grow skin back on their fingertips so they can continue to do battle with the hardest climbing sections, which involve grabbing tiny, razor-sharp edges of rock,” Lowell said.

Still, he said, Caldwell and Jorgeson “are doing great.”

In fact, if all goes as planned, the climbers reach the top as soon as Friday, Lowell added.

The two men, meanwhile, have been using social media to issue updates and document their climb.

Last week, Jorgeson even hosted a live question-and-answer session from the rock face. Their journey is also being tracked via bloggers and photographers. facebook.com

Upward and onward, Caldwell and Jorgeson.

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And Godspeed.

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correction

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell are trying to become the first free climbers to scale the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. An earlier version of this post did not specify the wall being scaled; El Capitan has been climbed by free climbers before. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_correction_time_4614580”).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-01-05 20:04:23 -0500’, ‘update’); });

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