Yosemite El Capitan Climbers: ‘It’s Pretty Surreal’ – ABC News

PHOTO: Kevin Jorgeson, left, and Tommy Caldwell, right, discuss their record-setting El Capitan climb on Good Morning America.

The two U.S. rock climbers who successfully climbed the 3,000-foot vertical wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park Wednesday say it is “pretty surreal” to have completed their seven-years-in-the-making journey.

“It’s pretty surreal to wake up and to have the climb complete,” Kevin Jorgeson said today on ‘Good Morning America.” “It’s pretty hard to describe.”

Jorgeson and his climbing partner, Tommy Caldwell, spent the past 19 days free-climbing up the rock’s nearly vertical “Dawn Wall,” using only their hands and feet to achieve their record-setting feat.

Jorgeson, who suffered a setback on day eight, struggling to pass one of El Capitan’s toughest points, says he used the power of positive thinking to get through.

“I think the word that I used is just resolve,” he said. “I didn’t want to accept any other outcome but getting up that route so I tried to push all the negative thoughts of not being able to do it out and picture getting across that traverse and that’s eventually what happened.”

Both men celebrated with friends and family when they reached the peak. Today, the morning after, they say they are recovering their bruised and battered bodies.

“At least my hands are a little beat,” Jorgeson said. “They have a lot of bruises and cuts on them and I take a lot of ibuprofen every morning right now but feet are doing well.”

“I have to apologize my voice is gone from yelling for Kevin so much,” Caldwell said on “GMA” in a barely audible voice. “It was an incredible experience.”

Over the course of the climb, which began Dec. 27, Caldwell and Jorgeson slept in nylon tents that were attached to the wall at only one point. They ate hard-boiled eggs and breakfast sandwiches with salmon and got caffeine boosts from their flasks of coffee.

“I think what made us stick with this climb for so long, you know, Tommy envisioned this thing seven years ago, and I joined the team six years ago is, like I said, realizing that dream and seeing this through to completion,” Jorgeson said.

The pair’s climb captured the world’s attention, and their successful feat even drew a congratulatory tweet from President Obama himself.

“It’s great that so many people are inspired by the project and hopefully they can find the equivalent of their own ‘Dawn Wall’ and stick with it and see it through as well,” Jorgeson said.

Not ones for relaxing, after a brief recovery, Jorgeson says he and Caldwell are preparing to jump into adventure again.

“Maybe some bouldering…something a little more light,” Jorgeson said of his next challenge. “Tommy is headed to Patagonia in less than a month so he’s going to switch gears and head in to the mountains.”


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