The Dawn Wall (2017) Script

Hello?

'Hey, guys. It's John Branch from "The NY Times".

'How's it going up there?'

Good, John.

'How high up are you guys right now?'

We are about 1,200 feet up the wall at our base camp.

This has been our home for nine days now.

'Tommy, I guess the bottom line question here, 'why are you doing this?

'What's the point of all this for you?'

On the air tonight with a story of two men attempting to free climb the famously steep face of El Capitan in Yosemite.

Inch by nerve-racking inch, using only their fingertips to grasp razor sharp edges.

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson attempt the hardest climb in the world.

No one has ever free-climbed the Dawn Wall.

3,000 feet of straight-up granite.

A climb watched by the world.

These guys have captured the world's attention.

They're trying to make history.

El Capitan's infamous Dawn Wall.

As a kid, Tommy was slow at everything.

He had a lot of difficulty in school.

The teachers actually at one point told us that he was mentally retarded and would never learn.

I was developmentally delayed through... probably still.

I was this very fragile little kid, incredibly shy.

But meanwhile, my dad was, like, the symbol of a man.

He was this big bodybuilder dude and mountain climber.

Larger than life.

Tommy was small.

He was way behind.

Didn't crawl until he was over two.

I think my dad felt the best way to prepare this fragile little kid for the world was to toughen him up a little bit.

So he took me on all these adventures.

Three years old, strap on the skis.

Camping in a snow cave during a blizzard.

Every summer, we'd go to Yosemite with my family, and my dad would take me climbing on these giant walls.

Some of the craziest climbing stunts you could ever do, and he did it with a six-year-old.

The things that Tommy's dad took him on, today you would have Child Protective Services coming after you.

He basically took hardship and rephrased it as growth.

He was loving, but he definitely let me suffer.

The word that was in my mind was resilience.

It seems to me one of the best gifts you can give your kid is an ability to deal with adversity.

By the time I was 14 or 15, there was climbs that I could do that my dad couldn't.

Tommy's strong.

Climbing was the first thing in my life where I could stand out a little bit.

Alright. Woo!

So Tommy was 16, and Snowbird held the Snowbird Invitational that year.

This big climbing competition.

We thought we'd drive over there and watch the comp and get some autographs.

We just went there to be fans, really.

And the day before the big competition, they had a Citizens' Comp that anybody who shows up can enter.

So I entered that, my first competition ever.

Well, Tommy won.

And I don't know if this was an official policy or just something they dreamt up on the spot, but they asked Tommy if he wanted to enter the World Invitational the next day.

Hello, everyone. I'm James Brown, and welcome to Snowbird, Utah, for the International Sport Climbing Championship.

Expert climbers will test their skills against a man-made 120-foot wall.

There were 12 competitors.

The icons of climbing. It was so intimidating.

Nobody had ever heard of me.

I was just this scrawny little kid.

I was videoing Tommy as he goes climbing up this thing.

Come on, Tommy.

He got past the final roof.

So Tommy's winning.

Alright, Tommy!

And I started shaking.

I just dropped the camera.

I mean I completely lost it.

Tommy got to the top.

The only climber to complete this climb.

So all of a sudden, Tommy went from nobody at all to winner of Snowbird I mean, that was just unbelievable.

It changed his whole life.

Tommy became known as one of the best young climbers.

But he didn't grow up the way most of us do.

Through high school he didn't have girlfriends.

He didn't have a social life. He just went climbing.

I was doing this series of competitions, and I met this girl, Beth.

She just caught my attention totally. I was like, "Woah!"

Tommy just had this really big, goofy, endearing grin.

We both lived and breathed climbing.

Tommy's this climbing savant, and then he meets Beth, the female version of himself.

He's head over heels.

I just found ways to go wherever she was.

OK? Yeah.

I found out she was going to Yosemite, so I followed her out there.

We ended up climbing a big wall together.

You know, we were next to each other all the time.

24 hours a day together.

Sleeping 1,000 feet off the ground on this portaledge, which is like a hanging cot.

You sleep head to toe. There's just more room that way.

Sol laid down, and she laid down the same way that I was, with her head at the same end.

And I was pretty excited by this.

I was like, "Ooh, goodness. This is getting exciting."

I just hadn't been in love before, and I just fell hardcore, right off the bat.

It just clicked.

We had so many dreams of traveling and climbing together.

And then we got invited to go on a big adventure trip.

An expedition to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is this beautiful, mountainous country in Central Asia.

We'd seen pictures from friends that had been there, and it looked like a paradise for climbers.

I was a photographer working in the outdoor industry.

And this amazing opportunity came about for me to shoot an expedition with Beth and Tommy and Jason.

We were just four young climbers looking for a big adventure in a new and unusual part of the world.

We charter a helicopter into the Kara-Su Valley.

Unbelievably beautiful.

Just felt like a dream come true, out in the middle of this adventure with this girl that I was totally in love with.

A week-and-a-half into our trip, the four of us were sleeping in portaledges

1,000 feet up the wall, and we wake up to gunshots...

...these piercing, close gunshots.

The bullets hitting the wall right between our portaledges.

We're sitting there like, "Oh, my God, we're getting shot at."

And you can't run away. You can't do anything.

We're just sitting ducks up here.

We look down, and you could see these figures.

These guys waving at us to come down.

We rappelled down to the ground.

We're encountered by four guys, heavily armed.

They took us to our base camp.

All of our tents were cut open.

A lot of our food was splayed around the meadow.

They had us start hiding our camp.

And so suddenly, it hits us, we're hostages right now.

Later, we learned that these guys were part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, these rebels that wanted to overthrow the government.

We were caught up in this battle between these rebels and the Kyrgyz military.

All of a sudden, Kyrgyz military helicopters started to fly over, soldiers show up on the hillside, and this battle breaks out.

The rebels start pointing their guns at us, yelling, "Hide!"

Then we dive in these trees.

The rebels had taken a Kyrgyz soldier hostage.

They took the other captive.

And they just shot him in the head.

I just remember shaking uncontrollably and Tommy just holding me as tight as he could.

Are they just going to kill us next?

Once it's dark, the gunfire dies down.

And the rebels start marching us through the mountains.

It's four rebels, the four of us.

It's really cold. We're 11,000 feet in elevation.

We don't have warm clothes.

We don't have any food.

We had no idea where we were going.

We would hike through the night, and then during the day, they would hide us.

They hid us in the craziest spots.

Burying us in holes in the ground so that we wouldn't be seen by the military.

This went on for six days.

Day two or three, hunger really started to set in.

You know, we're sort of just wasting away.

I thought they're taking us back to their base or they're taking us somewhere, there's a purpose to this.

Finally, we realized they were leading us in a giant circle.

Like, these guys clearly don't have a plan.

Jason and John started to scheme about how we could get away.

I mean, things were getting super desperate.

They were ready to take matters into their own hands.

At one point, two of our captors left.

We never saw them again.

We found out later that they got killed.

On our sixth night of captivity, the two captors that were remaining with us decided that one of them would go in one direction to try and get some food and then we would head off with the other one.

So we get left alone with the one rebel, climbing up this cliff side.

We were comfortable on the terrain, and he was not.

If we're going to escape, this is the opportunity.

Jason and John decided they would try and push our remaining captor off this cliff and then run away.

John and I were trying to look for a point that we could throw him off.

But we kept going and kept going.

We just couldn't quite push him.

As we got to the top, I realized that our opportunity was going to be over.

And I decided that this was what I had to do.

I had to go and I needed to push this guy off this cliff in order to save our lives.

Tommy came over to me at this point, and he said, "Do you think I should do this?"

I was thinking, "Yes, no, yes, no."

So I just didn't say anything.

I took that as that she would be OK with it.

So I just ran up behind him and I put one hand on his back and grabbed his gun strap.

And my other hand went on his chest and I just gave a push...

...to send him flying off this cliff.

We saw him hit a ledge, bounce off of it, and just fall out of sight into the darkness.

Tommy completely broke down, had his head in his arms and he was crying.

I couldn't believe what I had just done.

I had just killed somebody.

The whole world came crashing down on me all at once.

We were all trying to reassure him and say that, "You're not a bad person, you just saved our lives."

They really tried to comfort me.

But there was a sense of urgency that we better get going, because we didn't know if the other captor was gonna show up.

We knew from hiking in earlier where there was a military outpost we could try and run to.

So even on almost no food for six days, adrenaline kicked in.

So we ran for four hours.

Through the darkness down this valley.

We were greeted by this man yelling at us with this gun.

Throw up our hands, start yelling that we're Americans.

And luckily, it was the Kyrgyz army.

This huge wave of relief came over us.

This horrible situation that we had been in was over.

They gave us food and water, military fatigues.

And then we got helicoptered out from there.

From our studios in New York, here's Jane Pauley.

Four young Americans face a life or death choice, with the ultimate question, to kill or be killed?

When we got home, there was this crazy media circus.

You guys are walking with this captor on a very rocky cliff.

Tell me what you did, Tommy.

We just ended up pushing the guy.

You pushed him over the cliff. Yeah.

What happened at that moment when you realized, I've actually done this, I've killed somebody?

I thought that I was an evil person. I said to Beth, "How can you love me after I did something like this?"

And, uh...

After Kyrgyzstan, Tommy had tremendous personality changes.

Speaking so softly.

I was like, what is inside me that allowed me to do this?

Just an entirely different person.


Yosemite is known as the Mecca of world rock climbing.

And the crown jewel of this Mecca is El Capitan.

It's just this iconic 3,000 foot high monolith.

When you see that thing for the first time, it takes your breath away.

The steepest, blankest, most forlorn... impressive part of El Cap is the Dawn Wall.

People have done a handful of free climbs up El Cap to the right and to the left.

But the Dawn Wall has never been climbed.

Just the sheer magnitude of blank rock on the thing, it just looks impossible.

Until Tommy Caldwell came along, nobody had actually considered trying it.

If Tommy and his partner Kevin can actually do this, it will be the most continuously difficult rock climb ever done.

Nothing else is even close to it.

It's December 27th, and we're planning on heading up for like two weeks plus.

We'll see.

The goal is climb it in a single push, which means we're going to leave the ground, live on the wall, and not come down until we're done.

We're going for it.

I'm nervous.

We've put in so much work leading up to this moment.

There's nothing left to do but take a couple deep breaths and start climbing.

Day one.

Yup.

This is going to be awesome.

The Dawn Wall itself is 3,000 feet tall.

The route that they think they have figured out is comprised of 32 individual pitches.

Each pitch is its own challenge, like the stages of a race.

A pitch is a rope-length long, about 150 feet or so.

And ends of the ledge are a natural resting place on the rock.

Yeah, man. Good work.

When you end the pitch, you anchor yourself to the wall...

One down, thirty-something to go.

...and hold the rope or belay as your partner comes up.

Once you've both done that pitch without falling, you can move on to the next pitch.

When you're free-climbing, you're using your hands and feet to climb the natural features on the rock without any assistance from the rope.

Good job. Yeah, man.

You take turns leading each pitch, placing protection in the cracks to catch you in case you fall.

Yeah, come on. You got it.

Ugh! Oh!

If you fall, you just go back down to the beginning of that pitch, and then the other guy tries it.

They have a certain number of pitches they're trying to get through each day to stay on track to finish this climb.

The first few pitches are relatively easy.

But as you get higher on the wall...

...the wall gets steeper, the holes get smaller, and the climbing gets way more difficult.

It's hard to articulate the level of detail that's required.

You can't make any mistake in where you grab the hold and how you place your toe.

You're pushing and pulling as hard as you possibly can, always on the verge of slipping off.

Argh!

Oh, no!

Oh! Oh, foot slip.

We climb all day into the night, trying the same pitch until we both do it.

Come on, Tommy!

Come on!

Man, I'm getting tired.

Tommy is just a man possessed.

Come on. Finish this.

Yeah, come on.

Yeah, man.

'Lee-hoe!

And I'm just trying to keep up.

You got it, Kevin. Come on!

Come on! Come on! Come on!

Yeah, that was awesome, dude.

Thank God I didn't fall.

Nice, man.

When you're trying a big wall like this, the work does not end once the climbing is done at the end of the day.

You've got to haul up hundreds of pounds of gear, set up portaledges...

This seems pretty good. Pretty flat, even, I would say.

...and gag down some food.

I actually brought a bag of kale on the wall to put it in our burritos. Mmh!

This is the hardest thing you could ever do on your fingers, climbing this route.

It's just grabbing razor blades.

I tape up any wounds with Neosporin for healing.

Then I wake up probably twice in the night and reapply.

Getting pretty obsessed with my lips.

Then you've got to hope you can get a little sleep.

The next day is going to be more of the same, but harder.

And it's going to go on day after clay, two weeks, three weeks. Nobody knows.

After Kyrgyzstan, we're trying to absorb what had happened.

Beth is really traumatized.

I started to have nightmares and couldn't sleep.

I did not want to be separated from Tommy at that point.

Beth and I are bonded at the hip. I'm her rock.

We go to church a few times.

We hadn't been to church in ten years.

We're just searching. We're like, what does this mean?

We go to a therapist.

It's like nobody knows how to deal with this situation.

I think my way of dealing with it was you just get back on that horse and go climb again.

This has always been my safe place, my way to deal with life.

I didn't know what to think about Kyrgyzstan.

Part of me was feeling kind of empowered.

I was like, when the shit really hit the fan, I was able to do what needed to be done to get us out of there.

Tommy jumped right back into climbing, and slowly we got back into our groove.

We're both professional rock climbers, doing these really cool climbs all over the place.

He started setting these lofty goals.

Trying to climb harder and harder routes.

And then, about a year after Kyrgyzstan, we were remodeling this tiny little cabin.

And Tommy was using his parent's old table saw.

Tommy did something that you should never do, which is he tried to pull a small piece of wood through the table saw.

If the blade catches on the wood, it sucks your hand right back into the blade.

I heard Tommy scream, "I fucking cut off my finger, I cut off my finger."

Completely cut his finger off instantly.

It was over in the bushes.

Beth finds the finger laying in this pile of sawdust.

We throw it on ice, drive to the hospital.

My dad comes in, and he's like, "You have to fix his finger."

And so for two weeks, they tried to reattach it.

Three different surgeries.

But it became apparent that the finger wasn't going to survive.

This one doctor who was a climber came in and told Tommy that he was going to have to come up with a new career now.

There's no way he was going to make it as a climber any longer.

Oh, that was... either the wrong thing or the right thing to say, because it sure fired him up.

I was like, "Fuck that guy!"

"He doesn't know what I'm capable of."

I remember the first time he tried to climb.

Good, Tommy.

He was like, "Whoa!"

You know, it's going to be hard.

Good job, sweetie.

When I heard he cut his finger off, I go, "Well, so much for Tommy Caldwell."

The grip in climbing is, you wrap your thumb over your finger like that and pull down on the little edges, and if there's no finger there, the physics are all wrong.

I don't know about that.

Everybody around me, except for Beth and my parents, looked at me and they're like, "He's done. That's so sad."

I knew it wasn't going to be easy.

But ever since Kyrgyzstan, I just have this fire in me that is different than anything I've had before.

He had all these jars of rice and beans and gravel.

He's supposed to jam that nub of a finger in there.

I just abused the thing to retrain the nerves, to toughen them up.

Those six days of captivity in Kyrgyzstan were so profoundly painful.

At first, I felt overwhelmed with fear and fatigue and hunger.

But at some point, I felt something come over me, this reserve of energy, this confidence.

I knew I was cold, I knew I was hungry, but those things didn't matter anymore.

I think we all have this idea of where our limits lie.

If you're hurting really bad, you get to a point where you're like, "I can't endure any more."

And it takes something to force you past that.

In Kyrgyzstan, I realized that my preconceived limits were totally off base,

that we're capable of so much more than we really could ever imagine.

There was this really hard climb nobody had done that he tried the year before he cut off his finger, and he couldn't do it.

A year later, he came back without the finger and he did it.

He cuts off his finger.

"Oh, no big deal. I'll just get better after that."

I have no idea how that's possible.

That's when Tommy took his game to the biggest stage on Earth, which is El Cap.

At that time, there were only a few free climbs that went up El Cap.

Some of the hardest big wall climbs ever done.

Just to claim one of these routes would have been a monumental achievement for the best climbers in the world.

And then Tommy walks into the Valley, missing a finger, and just started knocking them down, one after the other.

Over the next five years, he went on a rampage.

I did basically all the existing routes on El Cap.

Salathe Wall. The Zodiac.

El Corazon.

Golden Gate. The Nose.

Then he starts speed climbing these routes, linking one into the other.

Two El Cap routes in a day.

6,000 feet of climbing.

That was unheard of.

You did it! Oh, my goodness.

And then I started looking for new routes.

Tommy started looking between the lines for his own first ascents.

It added that element of the unknown, this what-if, like, maybe that could be climbed.

I think Tommy had become hypnotized trying to figure out, where is the ultimate limit?

Oh, shit.

I did the first ascent of the Muir Wall.

The West Buttress. Dihedral Wall.

Magic Mushroom.

Anybody that does a first ascent on El Capitan has their place in history forever.

Tommy did five of them.

Anything he could dream up, he did it.

And everyone in the climbing world is like, "What the hell?"

He's Mr. El Cap.

The best big wall climber ever.

And Beth was with him all the time, climbing all of these routes together.

We just poured our hearts into climbing and supporting each other on these goals.

It was quite a team.

They were known as the first couple of climbing.

There was one word - Beth and Tommy.

We get married.

We ended up buying property like 20 minutes from El Capitan and building a house there.

We're nearly there!

We were just going to live in Yosemite and raise our kids there and keep climbing.

I was good friends with them both, and we were next-door neighbors.

They seemed so happy.

I'm like, wow, this life that I never even saw coming in the first place is starting to just magically appear.

Things are going seemingly really well, at least from my mind.

But I'm noticing, over time, little cracks started to form.

The first inklings of almost hostility towards me.

There was all this weird tension.

And I was just like, well, we've been together for eight years now.

Marriages go through troubling times.

We'll get through this and just keep climbing.

I think there was a natural growing apart, desires we had outside of climbing.

I think going through a super intense experience like Kyrgyzstan...

I mean, we were so young.

Years later, there's probably a lot that started to come out, healing that I hadn't done.

And at some point, the climbing we had wasn't enough glue to hold it together anymore.

In Kyrgyzstan, Beth was extremely traumatized by those six days, and Tommy was the person who saved them.

And so from that, I think a sort of dependency probably developed that isn't necessarily the same thing as true love.

Eventually, she started feeling something for somebody else.

And...

I don't know how to summarize this.

This is kind of a hard thing to talk about, but... that relationship with her and this other man just solidified in a way that she couldn't walk away from that anymore.

And she wanted that more than she wanted me.

Once the divorce fully happened, I...

Yeah, I was just crushed.

I drove to the rim of Yosemite Valley and was looking across at El Capitan.

It felt like El Cap was all I had.

Early in the morning, there's this one panel of the Wall that illuminates first.

That's why it's called the Dawn Wall.

The last unclimbed big swath of stone.

I had looked at it a little bit before and knew that it was way too hard, I'd never be able to do it.

But I was just hurting so bad that I had to figure out a distraction in life.

I couldn't just sit there and feel the pain.

I decided to go up there alone and beat myself up on the Wall as just a way to cope.

I walked around the back to the top of El Cap.

I started rappelling down from above.

And I put in a camp so I could stay up there.

And I started going through this process of searching for a way to climb this section of the Wall.

The specific path was totally unknown.

You look for weaknesses in the rock.

Corners that you can wedge your body into.

Cracks for your hands and toes.

Little edges for your fingertips.

Anything that you could possibly grab onto that would make this wall climbable.

At first, it was just hanging on the rope, analyzing the surface of the rock to see if there was holds.

Just finding something to obsess about so I wouldn't obsess about my divorce.

I think it's probably important that it was an impossible level of rock climbing.

When you absorb yourself in some magnificent challenge, there is no space to be thinking about anything else.

You know, if you're heartbroken, just throw yourself into an impossible wall.

So I was sitting up there through this storm.

My wife has left me.

She was the only person I had climbed with for, like, ten years.

In my portaledge at night, weeping and really feeling sorry for myself, trying to find this elusive thing that probably didn't even exist.

I was concerned.

He just seemed to be suffering at that point.

And I wanted to see what this was all about, so early on in the game I went up there with him.

I convinced my dad to come up there and belay me, so I could start actually trying to climb sections of the route.

What the heck?

I really had my doubts as to whether it was going to be a viable climb.

Be safe. I will.

Get strong. Yup.

But during that period of time, he became convinced that it was somehow possible.

Tommy spent an entire year swinging around looking for a route up the Dawn Wall,

trying to connect the dots from the bottom all the way to the top so you can someday hope to free climb the whole thing.

Eventually, I found a route that seemed like it was theoretically possible, like I found the path through the maze maybe.

But I realized there was no way I was going to be able to do this alone.

It's just a monumental project.

Without Beth, I needed to find a partner, somebody that I could rely on to help me solve this puzzle.


I should wake Kevin up with some coffee.

Just stretching.

That's a good idea.

I felt a little rugged when I first woke up.

But how are you feeling?

Still stuffy and sore throat. Kind of achy.

I think I got whatever you got.

After the first couple of days on the Wall, there's a small little cadre of people down in the meadow following their progress.

You can get a telescope or a pair of binoculars, look up at this spectacle happening.

Oh, my God.

Is he naked or what?

My name is Tom Evans. I've been for many years photographing climbers on El Cap.

I usually don't come in the winter, but this is big news in climbing.

And we've all been pulling for him for many years.

I was on a little vacation from work, and I decided to come out from Sacramento to watch these guys climb the Dawn Wall.

It's definitely a moment in history.

To be able to be a part of that and witness it is pretty phenomenal.

Pushing forward.

From here on up, every pitch is pretty legit.

We've got to pace ourselves.

Maybe one or two pitches a day.

Come on, Tommy.

Good.

Good, Tommy. Come on.

Nice.

Yeah.

Come on.

You got it.

Yeah. Yeah, Kevin.

Nice, dude.

Cool. Dude, that was sick.

It's day three on the Wall, and we sent pitch 10.

Yeah!

Yeah. Boom.

Things are going good. Things are going good.

And the forecast is calling for super cold windy temps tomorrow, so we're going to rest.

Urgent weather message.

Winds, 50 miles per hour with gusts 75 or higher.

Impact... downed trees, downed power lines, flying portaledges.

These guys are up there in the middle of winter, which is almost unheard of.

But they need it to be as cold as possible so they can stick to the tiny holds There's nobody else on the Wall.

Last night, the temperature dropped 30 degrees.

To be up there under these conditions, it's horrendous. I don't know how they do it.

Carabiners, locked The windchill's like negative 20 or something.

How you feeling over there, KJ?

It's getting pretty rowdy.

On El Cap, the wind blows straight up the wall.

The ledge would float up and, bang, back into the wall.

Oh, boy.

Tommy feels right at home.

Argh!

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I love this shit.

It might be smart to stay in the ledges today.

Because of the windstorm the day before, all of this moisture froze, like salt on a Margarita glass on the top of El Cap.

And as soon as the sun hit the top of the Wall, that ice just started to shower down on top of us.

These missiles flying by our camp.

You hear it before you see it.

I'm like, this is a deadly situation.

That was fucked up. Did you get hit?

No, but that was just pure luck.

That was scary.

I hate that shit.

Here come some more big chunks. Tommy forgot his helmet.

Heads up, Tommy.

Tommy doesn't seem too concerned. What the fuck?

What's new?

Tommy, he was made for something like this.

But for me, it took a long time to get comfortable on the Wall.

You can understand, Tommy grew up in the mountains.

He'd spent the better part of his adult life on El Capitan trying to do free climbs.

But this guy Kevin was raised in Santa Rosa, I think.

You know, wine country.

There's not a lot of rock climbing in Santa Rosa.

First ascent. Yeah!

Don't fall on the Camaro.

I found climbing through the local gym.

Bye, honey. Have fun. Bye, Mom.

Drive careful.

I got really into this particular form of climbing called bouldering.

It's typically 30 feet or less.

Doesn't require any gear.

Bouldering's just about athleticism and difficulty in its purest form.

Bouldering is all about trying the hardest individual moves.

And Kevin quickly became very, very talented.

He was one of the best in the world.

But only up to about 30 feet.

In 2009, I was at the top of my game in bouldering and looking for something new.

I kept hearing about this futuristic thing that Tommy was working on.

I had zero big wall experience.

Tommy and I didn't know each other at all.

But I just sent him a message out of the blue.

"Hey, do you need a partner?"

And to my utter shock, he said, meet me in Yosemite in October.

I knew Kevin by reputation.

He was this amazingly strong bouldering kid.

And I thought to myself, "What the heck?"

"Maybe he could be an asset."

Plus, he was the only one interested.

Everybody else thought I was crazy.

Show up.

I remember standing there with Tommy, who's a legend figure in my life.

I feel like such a fucking dork.

Who am I? I've never climbed El Cap.

What a noob.

Fiddling around on boulders, that's a far cry from being on El Capitan.

First thing I had to do was test him.

I gave him like an 80 pound haul bag.

A soul crushing load.

We hiked to the top of El Cap.

We spent the night on top.

Woke up early the next day...

It's 3:15 in the morning.

Cooking up a little breakfast.

You never get up at 3:00 in the morning to go bouldering.

...and start rappelling down the face.

You start walking backwards.

It's like stepping off the edge of the Earth.

You instantly have 3,000 feet of exposure under your butt.

Oh, my God!

How's it going up there, Kev?

Good, I got the bag. And my shoes?

And your shoes. Cool, thank you.

It's scary to be a total beginner again.

I don't know any of this stuff.

Trying to figure out how to jumar a fixed line.

How to set up a portaledge.

Sorry, Kevin.

I'll just hold this quarter in. It's cool.

How to take a dump on the side of the Wall.

They get every moment. Close up.

At this point, I have no idea what I'm getting into, no idea that it's about to consume six years of my life.

When Kevin joined on with Tommy, it was the first time since getting divorced that Tommy had a partner.

There's two bolts and then an old bolt.

I didn't know what we were up against, but I was going on faith that this is Tommy's world.

He's got the clear vision of what this could be.

And I'm just going to trust that.

The basic strategy early on was not to climb the route from the bottom.

It was to identify the hardest sections and focus on those first.

There were all these question marks.

Come on, Tommy.

OK, take it there.

Oh, I got the pinch with my right hand instead of my left.

Working it out.

Constantly working it out.

Early on, most of it was figuring out what didn't work.

Right in the middle of the Wall, we were gonna have to traverse it sideways.

Come on.

Come on.

I don't see any holds, but I try to harness some of Tommy's optimism.

After the traverse, there's this 8 and 1/2 foot blank section.

Completely smooth.

Nothing that you could even get your fingernails behind.

The only way was to just leap.

This crazy dynamic move.

The Dyno.

I didn't really believe it would be possible until I saw Kevin try it.

Yeah, man. It was close.

He showed me that it was.

Come on. All you got.

Above the Dyno, you have pitch after pitch of have super smooth granite, extremely polished.

Because of Tommy's missing index finger, he's using his thumbs in crazy ways.

Shit.

Argh!

Holy crap, that is hard.

13B. 13D.

13C. 14A.

To understand the difficulty of this route, you have to understand climbing grades.

Climbers use a numerical system to rate the difficulty of each pitch.

The higher the number, the harder the pitch.

Once you get into 513 and 514 level, that's virtuoso territory.

The Dawn Wall has more hard pitches than every other route on El Cap combined.

I always thought it was futile in terms of doing the whole thing.

This is a pipe dream, man. Come on.

The next few years were a grind.

Coming back every spring and every fall for months at a time.

Come on.

Living on the Wall takes a huge toll.

This is what El Cap does to your feet.

We'd stay up there a few days...

Oh, my God. That's a lot of air time.

...go down, rest, try again.

There were always new problems to face.

Get out of here!

Come on, Kevin. Do it, man.

Really close. Oh, I sprained my ankle.

Are you OK, man? Oh, shit.

So many reasons to give up.

Oh, shit.

Man, I think I have broke or dislocated ribs.

We're heading to the clinic.

Maybe they'll just pop it back in.

They will, and we'll go back up later tonight.

But Tommy was committed.

Come on, Kevin! Come on!

There were times I thought he was totally crazy.

Come on!

'Lee-hoe!

Whoa'. Ow-ow!

When we weren't together on the Wall, we would go home to our own worlds, check in on loved ones.

It's gross. I can see the oil on your hair.

OK, I'm just totally being a mom.

Try to get some good rest and find motivation for the next round of attempts.

When I wasn't on the Dawn Wall, I was living by myself in Colorado, training and obsessing.

I was really lonely, honestly.

I met this girl named Becca.

We started dating.

He was thoughtful and considerate, but from the beginning, it was pretty obvious his mind was completely occupied by the Dawn Wall.

It wasn't just a climb.

It was all consuming.

We were trying to build a relationship.

But he would go out to Yosemite for months at a time, giving everything to the Dawn Wall.

For years, Tommy put his whole life on hold so he could give every last ounce of his body and soul

to this impossible quest.

I could never tell if we were wasting our time or we were in pursuit of something grand.

Come on!

I'd go out to Yosemite and I'd watch him from the meadow.

It looked completely ridiculous.

Ah, shoot.

I think we all admire people who are dedicated.

But at some point, you start to wonder, where are the lines between dedication and obsession?

He was going through emotional agony.

This climb has been gut wrenching.

I want this for him so badly.

Argh!

Oh, he fell off. Oh.

Man. I mean, you've failed on this thing 800 times.

How can you continue to beat your head against this wall?

After years of effort, it didn't feel like we were any closer to our dream.

He's worked so hard.

Why am I crying right now?

This project! Argh!

This makes me wonder if he bit off more than he could chew.

Oh, it's so good to have you down.

After all this failure, I started to wonder if maybe this climb really was impossible.

Maybe I wasn't good enough.

Morning. Morning.

Tommy and Kevin have been up there, this is their 8th day.

They're halfway up the Wall.

They got past 70 mile an hour winds, the ice falls.

They climbed a lot of difficult rock.

Now they've got today a very hard section to do.

They're here. They've got to go across this traverse.

14D, I think it is.

If they can get that done, they're well on their way.

The hardest individual part of this 3,000 foot puzzle is the traverse.

The bottom section of the route follows a vague series of cracks and corners in the rock.

But after 1,000 feet, those cracks and corners dead end.

300 feet to the left, there's another series of features that angles up to the top.

The trick is, how do you traverse this 300 foot blank section right in the middle of the Wall?

There's this band of rock that's a slightly different color and texture.

Everything above and below it is impossible to free climb.

But the composition of that band is such that it has a few holds on it.

Over the last six years, we spent over 100 days trying to get across this traverse.

Thousands of tries on that single pitch.

I've never done it.

Now we have to do it for the very first time...

Looks like Tommy's getting ready.

...in the moment, on the push.

Go get it.

It's really unnerving.

You're just waiting to slip off at any moment.

It's kind of funny.

This 3,000 foot wall, and it's coming down to millimeters of skin contact on your fingertips.

It becomes such a zoomed-in world.

There's one way to get across, and it is made up of all these little sequences that have to be done perfectly.

You miss a hold, it's impossible.

Yeah, dude.

You grab it wrong, it's impossible.

Nice.

We're trading attempts.

Tommy ties in and just flips that switch.

Alright. Go get it, Tommy.


You grab these sharp holds, like razor blades.

Come on!

Span as far as you can.

Come on!

So stretched out.

I suddenly felt this confidence.

I knew exactly how each finger was going onto each hold, where the little ripples on the rock were digging into my shoes.

After years of working on that pitch, it just came together in this amazing, magical way.

Yes, come on!

Come on!

Whoa!

Whoo!

Ow-ow-ow-ow!

When I heard that Tommy had done pitch 15, that was like, "You've got to be kidding me!"

For the first time, these guys actually have a shot at maybe doing this thing.

When Tommy got across, it was a big moment.

Everything was rolling, and now it was my turn.

Over the years, we realized sometimes the best conditions are at night.

It's colder. It's drier.

So there's better friction on the rock.

At first, it's scary.

But after a while, you forget how high off the ground you are and you can focus just on the climbing.

Tried it a few times.

I wasn't that close.

We rappelled back to our camp below the traverse.

I was stoked for Tommy, a little stressed for myself.

So Tommy's made it through the traverse.

He still has to get past the Dyno and the Long Run to Wino Tower.

But first, he has to wait for Kevin to catch up.

Hello?

'Hey, guys. This is John Branch from the NY Times.

'How's it going up there?' Good, John.

'Tommy, I know that you made it to 15 last night.

'It's very exciting, 'so I appreciate you guys taking just a few minutes to talk.'

We're always looking for stories that are a little bit out of the mainstream sports realm.

Every time we start a hard pitch...

I knew about the Dawn Wall and Tommy Caldwell's quest.

And when I heard that Tommy did pitch 15, I thought, if it was ever going to happen, this might be the time.

We recognized this is not only the best climbing story of the year, but maybe of our generation.

'We talked about follow-up stories.'

Quickly typed up a story.

The next day, it ran in the paper.

It was on the front page of The New York Times, and it just exploded.

It was the most viewed story at nytimes.com.

Tons of comments. Lots of questions.

People care about this.

When John Branch, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, got a hold of it, it just got its own momentum.

And it just got bigger and bigger from there.

There was follow-up stories and a flood of media requests from every major news outlet in the world.

Picture this. Our next guests talk to us as they were suspended high up in mid air.

'We're sitting in a portaledge, which is basically' a hanging cot with an aluminum frame.

That's professional climber Tommy Caldwell ten days into what's considered one of the world's most daunting climbing challenges.

This is crazy.

'Best of luck.'

Great. Thank you so much.

Guess we hang up. I don't really know.

They don't tell us what to do when it's over.

Oh, my God!

How many days does it take?

All of a sudden, there are crowds of people congregating in the Valley.

Let's turn now to this historic feat by two American climbers.

Perched on a cliff above Yosemite.

The famously steep face of El Capitan.

The whole media thing was very strange for me.

The climb of the century.

It's just been extraordinary.

A real cliffhanger. Did I just say that?

They were just saying these ludicrous things.

Two American hikers. Daredevils.

Thrill seekers. Adrenaline junkies.

Scaling the cliff known as El Capitan.

That's not even El Cap.

Inching up without any climbing tools.

I'm wearing pretty much the same gear as the guys up in Yosemite.

I like the second picture, so we'll hover here.

The Dawn Wall was always this personal journey.

This was a bad idea.

And obviously, this turned into something very different from that.

So don't understand how they could possibly do it.

I hope they make it, but I don't understand it.

It's the challenge.

Yeah, the challenge of it. No, thanks.

Suddenly, the whole world was watching this climb.

Which wasn't the best timing for me personally,

because I still had to do pitch 15.

At this point, they've established a base camp a couple of hundred feet below the traverse.

So when Kevin's ready to climb, they go up the fixed ropes to the start of pitch 15.

Tommy sets up his belay, and Kevin tries to get across this thing.

Here would be actually a big moment on the climb.

Drove all the way out here today just to see this.

It was important to get through pitch 15 and catch up to Tommy's high point as soon as possible.

Come on, Kev. You got it.

Oh!

Every fall, you go back to the start of the pitch, rest for at least an hour...

...try again.

Every attempt, you wear off more skin.

You run out of a little more energy.

Everything was going smoothly until Jorgeson couldn't grasp pitch 15.

Stopped by the sheer difficulty of the climb.

As the razor-sharp handholds tore the skin off his fingertips.

So everyone's tuning in in the middle of guys living on the side of the Wall...

History is on hold in Yosemite National Park.

...and one of them's stuck.

Argh!

Kevin Jorgeson is stuck.

That was close, dude. I know.

You just started to fall apart a little bit there.

It's a pretty fascinating drama unfolding in real time, literally in front of our eyes.

People who I'm sure had no idea what a pitch was were now going, "Pitch 15! Come on, Kevin! You can do it!"

You'll get it, dude. That was really close.

I spent a few days not climbing, just belaying Kevin over and over again on pitch 15.

It was harder than any pitch of climbing he'd ever done.

Fucker!

He just kept falling and falling.

I had honestly started to lose hope that he was going to do it.

Last night was my third day of battle with pitch 15.

Still didn't do it.

After trying so many times, I've destroyed my fingers.

So I decided to take a rest day and let my fingers heal.

Meanwhile, Tommy hasn't climbed for days.

And he has to be thinking, I can't stay up here indefinitely waiting for Kevin.

I mean, there's very few people in the world that have ever even spent that much time on a wall.

Living on the Wall just wears you down.

It's just harsh up there.

You can't even walk.

You're not sleeping great at night.

You're not eating normal foods, drinking enough water.

It's hard to climb your best under those conditions.

Every day that goes by, maybe Tommy suddenly gets sick.

Maybe the weather changes.

I felt like I had to continue.

So they devised a plan.

Tommy's going to press on and try the Dyno pitch, hoping that Kevin eventually will get across 15 and he can catch up.

That night, we go up our fixed lines and I belay Tommy on pitch 16, the Dyno pitch.

I had tried the Dyno move hundreds of times over the years.

Never done it.

I'd rebuilt it on the shed at my home, so I could just practice this one stupid move.

Just before we went for our final push, I was completely frustrated, staring at these photos of the Wall.

I started to notice cracks and edges that go down and around.

So I came up with this idea to do the most ridiculous pitch of climbing.

His idea was to just climb in a giant circle around the Dyno. I was like, "Really?"

So to get around about eight feet...?

Yeah, climb like 200.

Tommy's currently working out the world's hardest down climb.

We do hard moves going straight up, hard moves going sideways.

I should add a down climb.

That way, we just get the full package.

Down climbing, it's so unnatural.

Falling.

It's like running backwards.

That felt horrible.

Good, Tommy.

Nice.

Come on. Focus.

Good.

This loop pitch, it's like walking around the block to cross the street.

It is just a little bit ridiculous.

But it's also kind of brilliant.

Come on.

Come on.

This thing that had been shutting him down for all these years, and then he just looks at it with a new set of eyes and finds a new solution.

Yeah.

The Dyno!

Whoo!

How is the skin, dude?

It's not healing very quickly, which is frustrating.

While Kevin's waiting for his fingers to heal, Tommy continued pushing the route higher and higher.

What you do every day is, you get to a high point, and then you leave fixed ropes that go back down to the camp.

The next day, you motor back up the ropes to the high point and then carry on.

So, even though they might be working on different parts of the Wall, they're doing it together. Kevin belays Tommy, and once Tommy's done, they both go back down to the camp.

Tommy's just forging on.

Every pitch gets him further away from where I'm stuck.

One more down.

There's so much distance between our high points that I'm not going to be able to close that gap in a reasonable amount of time unless I do this.

Every time I would look over in his portaledge, he would just be following news updates, staring at his fingertips, mumbling to himself.

Trying to convince myself these actually look good.

Tommy, do you have the Ibuprofen?

Oh, yeah.

After two days resting, I felt resolved.

This was the day it had to happen.

It's still pretty warm out.

And so I'm going to wait a few more hours for the temperatures to drop even more to give myself every bit of friction you can.

You ready?

Ready as I'm ever going to be.


I've been waiting for days for the skin to heal, for this moment to come.

There's a nice cold breeze blowing up the wall.

I felt weightless.

I was just floating across the pitch.

Hold it together.

Come on, Kevin. Do it, man.

You got it.

Come on.

You got it.

Come on. Find it.

Good. Come on.

Argh!

Oh, that was so good, dude.

Everything was perfect, and I still didn't do it.

Come on, Kevin.

I tried four times that night.

Fucker!

He's off.

I just kept falling.

Shit!

Tonight...

...didn't go so well.

It was a battle, and I didn't win.

It was pretty clear that that was it.

Like, you had your chance.

You weren't good enough.

Yeah, it's pretty fucked.

Now you're the guy that almost climbed the Dawn Wall.

So how much did you enjoy that process?

Because that's all you get.

Editors and I started talking.

Is it now time to do a story about what happens if he doesn't make it?

We all want happy endings, but as a journalist, you're like, "That's an incredible story."

What's the ethos in climbing?

Do you say, you go ahead without me?

Do you leave a guy behind?

Are they having this conversation in the portaledge at night?

This would be nice to check the radar.

The next day, the weather was starting to get bad.

And I knew what I needed to do.

20%.

Today?

Next like four days.

I'm just going to throw in the towel and support Tommy to the top.

From here on out, Kevin's just going to belay Tommy and follow him up the ropes.

So they go up to Tommy's high point, where he starts up the last hard pitches of the long run to Wino Tower.

There I was, watching Tommy climb with so much confidence toward the completion of this dream.

Even if I can't do this, I was really happy for Tommy.

What a special moment to witness this piece of history.

And I was there to help Tommy realize this vision.

After everything he went through,

so much struggle, the injuries, the doubts.

For Tommy it was like, this is it.

Come on, Tommy.

Boom!

Woo-hoo! Feels good.

I'm down in the meadow watching Tommy trying to get to Wino Tower, which is the next big feature above them.

It's this mythical landmark about two-thirds of the way up El Capitan.

This three foot pedestal 2,000 feet up the Wall.

The first horizontal ledge where you can stand up, sit down, lie down on the entire route.

And it signifies the end of the hardest climbing.

One more hard pitch to get to Wino Tower.

That's crazy!

For years, I'd envisioned this moment of getting to Wino Tower.

So I'm freaking out inside.

Good, Tommy. Come on.

Climbing really tense and kind of shaking nervous.

Keep breathing, dude.

Come on.

Good.

Just trying to calm myself down enough to make it through the final last little bit.

Yeah!

Ow!

Oh! I feel a little shaky.

Yeah, I might pass out.

I can't believe I'm here right now.

I know it's not over yet, but that's big.

I'm at Wino Tower.

What are you feeling?

I want Kevin to experience this, too, for sure.

It was this huge victory.

But it's totally trumped by the fact that Kevin wasn't going to do it with me.

Suddenly, I just felt alone.

I think Kevin probably did, too.

What a crazy experience this has been.

It crashed down on me that going to the top without Kevin was gonna be devastating.

Just got to get KJ up here now.

So I decided in that moment that we were going to get to the top together.

What will you do? Everything I can to help him.

Yeah.

I'm going to go into full-on support mode.

That night, we both go back down to the camp.

We were cooking dinner.

It was real quiet.

And I knew it was this emotional moment for Tommy.

But he's not very good at verbalizing.


Yeah.

Tommy just told me, in classic Tommy style, I don't care how long it takes for you to get through pitch 15, because I can't imagine a worse outcome than doing this alone.

I don't want to hold you back, is the thing.

You're three days from the top now or some shit.

It's a pretty special moment.

I know I can do that pitch.

Yeah, for sure.

And I feel like if I can do that pitch, I'd be so fucking psyched that there's nothing that's going to stop me between there and the top.

I think that's true.

Just keep stretching. Make sure...

I think I need to do some arm lengthening stretches.

So we decided that I would rest two consecutive days so that my skin could heal and try again.

The idea of Tommy waiting, to risk your own success in the hopes that maybe by some miracle Kevin can do it, that's a partner right there.

Coffee for KJ.

But there's no guarantee that Kevin's ever gonna make it.

I mean, I thought that Kevin was maybe not going to make it.

And I was hoping that, since this had been a dream of Tommy's a lot longer than it had been a dream of Kevin's, that Tommy would find a way to complete this climb.

As Tommy's friend, selfishly, I'm thinking to myself, like, "Kevin, dude, time to throw in the towel and support Tommy."

Somebody less gracious than Tommy Caldwell might have said, "I've got to go on without you."

But he was committed to Kevin.

"We're doing this together."

And he wouldn't have been Tommy if he'd done it any other way.

This just in. Those two American climbers...

Kevin Jorgeson. Kevin Jorgeson.

Stuck for seven straight days.

Caldwell determined to wait...

One of them refusing to move higher without his partner stuck below.

So will they make it?

Can you imagine? This really is no joke.

The media started to sound like a tabloid.

Is Jorgeson spoiling Tommy's dreams?

Down below, the crowd is waiting and watching.

Hey, Tommy, what's the weather look like?

Oh, wait. That's right, you dropped your phone.

Dropped my phone last night.

I had my chest pocket unzipped. It just fell out.

Hopefully, I didn't kill anybody down there.

I'd heard that Tommy dropped his phone, and I said, "Did he really drop his phone?"

"Or is he just saying, don't call me anymore?"

So fed up with the media circus.

I think he didn't drop it.

He threw it off.

Yup. Guess we've got to just enjoy the view now.

Over the next few days, Tommy was content right where we were, for however long it was going to be.

He's just stoked to be up there, and it's no big deal if it takes another rest day or two or three or five or whatever.

Yeah, I feel like I've just been appreciating things a little bit more the last few days.

Ah, sun.

Tommy basically said, "No hurry. I'm patient."

They're going to get through it. Don't freak out.

Don't worry about the rest of the world that's watching.

Let's tune them out. It's just you and me.

It became the two of them.

I think I have to try to front-step more, because when it comes time to step on that middle foot, I can't front-step it or in-step it cos this foot's in the way.

A couple of your falls last time were just cos you couldn't find that right foot.

So even if it's a little bit harder, it's going to be better.

Tommy's attitude helped take a bit of the pressure off.

But I was still gonna have to do the hardest thing I've ever done for this to end well.

Trying to make history on one of the hardest climbs in the world.

'N, what's the story'?

U.“ Here's the story.

I'm only about 30 feet up, and I've called my momma twice.

Alright? Can you imagine?

I'm on what's called a portaledge that's secured to this wall.

These two climbers are using one of these secured to a flat surface.

They're having to sleep on one of these things, for weeks possibly, trying to make an impossible climb.

And me? I have holds here I can use to climb the wall.

Scaling the jagged cliff known as El Capitan...

Who is that, Fitz?

Daddy. Daddy.

Getting on the airplane.

Fitz and I have been home waiting for our moment to get on a plane and get out here.

And it's finally come. We're here.

Hey, Fitz, do you see way up high on El Cap?

Yeah. Yeah? Can you see Daddy?

After failing for so many years, there was times when I definitely felt like giving up.

But it was actually Becca who helped me to keep going.

Seeing him in his element, I saw this focus and this purpose.

I really respected him.

And we fell in love.

Becca became my biggest supporter.

We got married.

And then we got pregnant shortly after.

Hi.

We had a little boy named Fitz.

Hi, Fitz.

The first day that I had this little baby in my arms, I was overcome with the emotion.

I thought, how am I going to be a good example to Fitz?

How great it is to be a Caldwell boy.

Tommy had always viewed his dad as a superhero, and he wanted to be a superhero for Fitz.

I wanted Fitz to look at me with that same sort of awe.

I wanted to show Fitz how to be passionate...

Boom!

...and how to dream big.

He already does.

The Dawn Wall embodied that.

And so it made me want it even more.

I told him, you can't stop now.

You have to do everything to make this happen.

One, two, three, four, five.

Sometimes you zoom out and you think about what a process it's been, this wild six-year journey with Tommy.

Did Kevin start already?

And now here we are at the moment of truth.

And we've just been mesmerized.

Hard to put into words something so big.

He's not going to give up.


I couldn't imagine what he must have been going through at that moment.


I don't remember the first 50 feet of that pitch.

I watched him go into the section where he had fallen so many times.

I just hold my breath.

You pull as hard as you can.

Move your feet.

Argh!

You're just trying not to tip over backwards.

Put the heel on.

Slide the hand up.

Take the heel off.

Drop the right hand in.

Heel back on.

Left hand down.

Heart rate starts to go up.

My adrenaline starts going, cos he's still hanging on in this place that he had fallen so many times.


Yeah, Kevin!

Yeah!

Yes!

Watching him do it, I was just awestruck.

I was like, I can't believe that just happened.

He did it.

Freaking guy actually did this thing, right?

You're like, "What?"

After seven days, Jorgeson got past the most difficult...

Past the toughest section of the climb.

Yes, he made it.

And now it's upward.

And you start thinking, are his fingers OK? Can he do 16, 17?

Is this over yet?

I had just finished the hardest pitch of my life, and I couldn't even celebrate.

I just need to catch up.

The next pitch is this big Dyno that's so hard that Tommy can't do it, he's got to climb around it.

There's no way in hell that I'm going to try Tommy's crazy loop pitch.

So that same night I start trying the 8 and 1/2 foot Dyno.

Argh!

Yeah!

Kevin, through some kind of magic or levitation, actually does this Dyno that Tommy was never able to do.

So good. Tonight, Kevin...

...now just a few hundred feet behind Caldwell.

All these hard pitches just keep coming.

17,18,19.

It was like a fight to the death.

Oh, no. Rock!

That is a bad hold to rip off.

Oh, man.

I think it's a lot harder now.

That didn't take him too long to figure it out.

Nice, KJ!

It's just a little more tension.

Like we need more of that on this route.

The last pitch getting to Wino Tower, this crazy fog came in.

Kevin sends this pitch right now, he's going to be caught up with me.

Yes!

Nice one, Kevin.

I just remember seeing Tommy at the anchor and having such a huge wash of gratefulness.

Oh! I can't believe we're here.

So good, man.

We're reunited at our high points now.

I can't believe we did it.

Going up from there on out together to the top.

Come on, Jorgeson. Come on.

He was sitting on five days' rest while I caught up.

Pretty sure he's going to pull me up the wall today.

From here on it's just a matter of grinding it out.

So we get up and we stay 300 feet from the top.

We wake up this last morning.

The sun comes on the Dawn Wall.

It hits the top of the Wall first, and we're the only thing in Yosemite actually in the sun.

So happy-

This is a good moment right here.

This is definitely a good moment.

Does it get any better than this?

I'm just enjoying my last day being up here with my friend.

I think we should just stay.

Just cancel the whole thing.

We're going to camp here for another day.

Living on a wall where everything is so simple for 19 days, we were going to miss that experience.

Good morning to our viewers.

It's been an exciting 24 hours here in Yosemite.

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson spent 19 days on the Wall.

There were 15 TV trucks, reporters from all over.

There was a webcam.

Millions of people were actually watching this live.

Like a moon landing or something.

A lot of their friends and family had come out.

A number of people hiked up El Cap the back way, and you could watch these guys go up the final pitches.

And they're cheering them on.

I love you! Whoo!

It's gonna be awesome.

Seeing Tommy do the Dawn Wall, I was super happy for him.

Just knowing how much was emotionally wrapped up in the route for him, I was really proud of him.

Actually seeing he was going to complete this climb, it was just, wow.

After 19 days, Tommy Caldwell pulling himself over the edge of the Dawn Wall.

Followed minutes later by climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson.

And the crowd cheered as the two men accomplished a feat many said was impossible.

There aren't a lot of moments that choke me up in sports anymore. I've been doing this too long.

I'll never forget a scene of them rejoicing.

This is the moment that's been so many years in the making.

Now forever enshrined in history.

Inspiring millions around the world, even at the White House, where President Obama gave a thumbs up.

It's done. It's done.

You are shaking like a leaf.

Are you cold or are you emotional?

I'm emotional. OK.

He's worked so hard for this.

That moment he describes as bittersweet.

This whole experience that drove him for so long, it was over.

Anything that you'd like to say about El Cap?

I've totally fallen in love with that piece of rock.

It's been a big centerpiece of my life.

And I just feel so thankful every day.

Tommy and Kevin join us now on SportsCenter.

I know Tommy's lost his voice a little bit.

It drove me every day for seven years.

Sorry.

What did your first real shower in 19 days feel like?

I, like the entire world, was watching you.

And I just thought, why?

Throwing out today's first pitch, Kevin Jorgeson.

Tommy Caldwell's new autobiography, "The Push".

You were captured by militants in Kyrgyzstan?

Turns out the militant actually survived the fall.

The rebel was put on trial and found guilty of terrorism, murder, and kidnapping.

♪ I have been to the mountain

♪ And I have walked on his shore

♪ I have seen

♪ But I can't see him no more

♪ I have been to the valley

♪ And I have sung all her songs You can do it.

♪ Watch me sing Look“.

Mantle.

Mantle. Come on, try hard.

You've got to work hard and focus.

♪ And I have walked on his shore... ♪ You can do it. You're working really hard.

Focus.

Come on, Fitz. You got it. You can do it. Come on, buddy.

Come on.

Remember, push up strong.

Yeah.

Don't forget to breathe.

Come on. Yeah. Try hard. Try hard.

Come on, Fitz. You got it. Yeah.

Way to focus in.

Good perseverance.

Whoo!

Nice mantle, buddy.

High five.

Boom!