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The historic Dawn Wall climb in seven lovely images

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell celebrate after reaching the top. (Ted Distel/Adidas Outdoor via Reuters)
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The climb that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed on Wednesday was beautiful in its impossibility. They were attempting to scale El Capitan, a granite monolith that rises 3,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, using only their hands and feet (along with a rope in case they fall). It is remarkable, in a world that can often seem overrun with the bleak or the horrifying, to be reminded of the sheer, sublime wonders found in someone (well, two people) taking on a problem seen as unsolvable — here, the Dawn Wall, which simply cannot be scaled this way — and working their way from base to summit, slowly but surely, their hands ground down by sand and rock, until the impossible becomes the unbelievable.

The two climbers documented their travels along the way, so here is a selection of photos and words from them that illustrated their journey. (Head here to read an interview that John Branch, who has filed wonderful dispatches on the climb, conducted with them after they finished.)

Also, this one isn’t from one of the climbers, but it’s a great photo from Jimmy Chin of National Geographic: