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Duo Successfully Free Climbs Yosemite Rock Wall

  • VOA News

Two men have become the first to scale the jagged face of the world's most difficult rock climb using only their hands and feet, a method known as free climbing.

Americans Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the summit of the 914-meter tall El Capitan granite monolith in California's Yosemite National Park on Wednesday after an exhausting 19-day climb. The duo was greeted by dozens of friends and family members when they reached the top, as hundreds of spectators cheered from the Yosemite Valley floor far below.

Caldwell and Jorgeson conquered El Capitan's so-called Dawn Wall without the use of conventional climbing equipment, using only ropes and safety harnesses to keep them from falling when they lost their footing. The climb captivated a growing global audience who kept up with the pair's movements through social media and text messages.

The duo has been attempting the climb for the past five years, practicing and plotting their route across the Dawn Wall's 31 different pitches, or sections. At one point during the climb, Jorgeson was stalled on a difficult pitch that took him seven days and 10 attempts to climb.

He and Caldwell will hike down El Capitan Thursday and meet with reporters.

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