Tommy Caldwell
Tommy Caldwell

Exhausted and emotionally wrought, Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell have reached the summit of El Capitan - ranked by many as the toughest rock climb in the world.

The pair are the first to reach the top of the 3,000ft (914m, or three times higher than the Shard) Dawn Wall by free-climbing - meaning ropes are used only to break a climber’s fall, not to assist in their ascent.

It took the duo 19 days of painstaking climbing in the Yosemite National Park in the US and they slept in hammocks suspended in the air on the way up.

Gaelena Jorgenson raises her arms as her son Kevin completes the climb (Picture: AP)

Caldwell was the first to reach the summit and when his companion Jorgenson reached the top the pair hugged with a mixture of what must have been relief and unrivalled joy.

At one point in the climb it had looked as though they wouldn't conquer the rock with slips and crashes into the wall a regular occurrence - at times they had to wait days for injuries on their hands to heal and even used superglue to speed up that process.

Although they did not give media interviews after reaching the top last night, they are expected to speak today.

Caldwell's sister Sandy Van Nieuwenhuyzen said: "I feel like the most proud person in the world right now."

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