Watch as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson finish their insane free climb up El Capitan

Updated on

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments.

For weeks, two men had been inching up the sheer face of Yosemite's iconic El Capitan — a natural landmark known as much for its beauty as for its intense climbing routes.

They weren't the first to attempt the 3,000-foot climb to the top of the granite rock. They were just the first to do it with their bare hands and little else.

Rock climbing enthusiasts around the world were tracking Americans Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell, who reached the summit on Wednesday. The two men "free climbed" El Capitan's Dawn Wall — a vertical route well known for its extreme difficulty — which means they made their way without any artificial holds, using just the rock face's natural divets and ledges to grasp with their fingers and find toeholds. The men were attached to safety ropes in case they fell.

Consider spending weeks hanging thousands of feet up on a vertical rock wall, nothing beneath you: sleeping there, eating there, super-glueing your cut-up fingers there. Getting butterflies yet?

Thanks to NBC, we had a live feed of the dizzying feat. It was a nail-biter to watch. The Guardian has this quick video recap of the scene:

Caldwell, 36, has previously achieved four other "firsts" on El Capitan routes, according to his profile on the Patagonia website. Jorgeson, 30, also has a long resume of achievements. The New York Times recently profiled him.

National Geographic closely followed the climb. Check out the stunning photos they took along the way.

And here are some from the two climbers' Instagram feeds:

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