rock climber Kevin Jorgeson
Climber Kevin Jorgeson looks up from Pitch 18 on the Dawn Wall of the El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park, California, on 12 January, 2015Reuters

Two Americans made history by completing the world's toughest rock climb in California's Yosemite National Park on Wednesday.

Tommy Caldwell, 36, and Kevin Jorgeson, 30, became the first to "free-climb" the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Many had considered the task impossible.

The two used ropes and safety harness as precautions in case of a fall, but depended solely on their own skills to climb "by grasping cracks as thin as razor blades and as small as dimes," the Associated Press reports.

It took Caldwell and Jorgeson two weeks to complete the task as they faced a number falls and were injured as well.

They embarked on the world's largest granite monolith trek on 27 December. The pair lived on the wall itself.

On reaching the top, Caldwell and Jorgeson looked at each other and raised their hands expressing victory. Spectators watching from the park and online hailed the feat.

Later, Jorgeson tweeted:


A Twitter user, referring to Caldwell and Jorgeson's achievement, wrote: In a time full of terrible events those dudes getting up the side of El Capitan is pretty bloody awesome!"

Instead of pulling themselves up with cables or using chisels to carve out handholds, free-climbers "climb inch-by-inch, wedging their fingertips and feet into tiny crevices or gripping sharp, thin projections of rock."

Spokeswoman Jess Clayton told The Guardian that the weather on their final day was "perfect". She said that the final "pitches" were easier than what they faced in the initial stages.

Talking about his experience, Caldwell wrote on Facebook: "Some of the smallest and sharpest holds I have ever attempted to hold on to. Is crazy to think that the skin on our fingertips could be the limiting fact towards success or failure."

He further said that it was "windy, cold, super dry. I wake up twice a night and reapply lotion to my hands. We sand our fingertips to keep them smooth."