“It’s a lot of work…and it’s probably not for everybody”
So says Tommy Caldwell in a new video released this week that details his work with Kevin Jorgeson to free a new line on El Capitan’s southeast face. The line in question requires free climbing several new pitches in the 5.13 and 5.14 range which has led Caldwell to question the likelihood of success on such a project (emphasis mine):
I fully realize that free climbing the Dawn Wall of El Capitan is improbable. Miles of blank steep granite—no true weaknesses to follow. To free climb the Dawn Wall will mean catapulting forward what is thought possible in the world of big wall free climbing. I’ve spent parts of two years either rope soloing up or rapping down from the top, swinging around, searching and trying the moves. I’m trying to force a paradigm shift with this route, and the prospect of linking together at least seven pitches of 5.14 to 5.14+ and another ten in the 5.13 range is daunting. Several times I have given up and moved on, worried I might waste too much of my life searching for something that does not exist or that is too hard for me. But I have invested so much, and am unable to resist El Cap’s magnetic pull. Now, after two and a half years, I think I have finally found the path, done all the moves. But the journey is far from over.
To give you a better idea of what it’s like working a new line up on El Cap here are two videos filmed for Black Diamond by Tim Kemple and Pete Vinitov with Mike Call on the edit. The clips feature behind the scenes information as well as shots of some of the hard free climbing Caldwell & Jorgeson are doing (including the crazy sideways dyno):
Caldwell and Jorgeson are back in Yosemite to continue their work throughout the spring in anticipation of the prime fall climbing season later this year. You can follow their efforts via Jorgeson’s blog or the Black Diamond Journal.
For more on the “Fun Scale” referenced in the video check out this post on Kelly Cordes’ blog.