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Santa Rosa council honors El Capitan climber Kevin Jorgeson

Climber Kevin Jorgeson was honored for his historic climb up El Capitan at the Santa Rosa City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (KEVIN MCCALLUM/ PD)

KEVIN MCCALLUM , THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Santa Rosa City Council honored local climbing superstar Kevin Jorgeson this week with a proclamation praising his “phenomenal accomplishments” and thanking him for “inspiring us all to dream big and work hard and to make the seemingly impossible possible.”

The 30-year-old Santa Rosa native, referred to in the proclamation as “our local son,” and climbing partner Tommy Caldwell completed on Jan. 14 what is considered the most difficult sustained rock climb in history.

Over the course of 19 days, the pair free-climbed the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, the most technically difficult route up the 3,000-foot-high sheer column of granite in Yosemite Valley.

In the process, they became media sensations as millions were transfixed by the extreme physical and mental hardships they endured during their historic ascent, including fingers sliced by razor-thin holds, repeated falls, and sleeping in tents suspended on vertical walls.

The proclamation detailed how Jorgeson began his climbing career at age 11 at Santa Rosa’s Vertex Climbing Center, was competing internationally by age 16, and has dedicated himself to the advancement of the sport by establishing Pro Climbers International.

Jorgeson, who lives in Santa Rosa with his girlfriend Jacqui Becker, thanked the council for their support and credited the city’s climbing community with helping make his accomplishments possible.

“Santa Rosa has always been and will always be dear to my heart, and I plan on staying here,” Jorgeson told the council Tuesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @srcitybeat.