Free climbers reach El Capitan peak, make history
TWO US climbers – who spent more than two weeks scaling the sheer face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – have finally reached the summit of the 3,000ft (914m) rock.
Kevin Jorgeson, 30, and Tommy Caldwell, 36 are the first climbers to do so without aids, except for harnesses and ropes to prevent deadly falls.
They began their historic half-mile ascent on 27 December 2014.
During the climb the pair slept in tents suspended from the mountain face.
Spokeswoman Jess Clayton had earlier said the men would not give interviews at the top but would discuss the climb on Thursday.
Eric Jorgeson, Kevin Jorgeson’s father, told local media his son had always been a climber and watching him fulfil a long-time dream makes him proud.
“He climbed everything he could think of. It made us nervous early on as parents, but we got used to it,” he said.
He and his son had begun climbing the other routes to El Capitan’s peak in California when Kevin was 15, making it a birthday tradition each year.
“I feel like the most proud person in the world right now,” Mr Caldwell’s sister, Sandy Van Nieuwenhuyzen, said.
During their climb up the notoriously difficult Dawn Wall route, both took rest days to wait for their skin to heal and used tape and even superglue to speed the process.
At one point it seemed unlikely that they would make it to the top, the BBC’s Alastair Leithead at the foot of El Capitan reports.
The pair suffered bruising falls, when their grip slipped would slip and they would bounce off the mountain face.
Only their safety ropes saved them from further harm.
“As disappointing as this is, I’m learning new levels of patience, perseverance and desire,” Jorgeson posted online earlier. “I’m not giving up. I will rest. I will try again. I will succeed.”
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