Caldwell Matches Previous Highpoint On Dawn Wall Project

Caldwell Matches Previous Highpoint On Dawn Wall Project

Tommy Caldwell’s push to free a new route up El Capitan’s Dawn Wall is 10 days old now and the events over the past few days were really something.

In between bouts of snow and freezing weather Caldwell set to work on pitch 12 which was his highpoint1 during last year’s push.  Here’s how he described Saturday’s efforts on pitch 12 in an update on his Facebook page2:

That was a intense one today on pitch 12. First I pulled a few pitons and took big falls. Then I broke a few footholds. Five tries later I finally had the new sequence through the bottom worked out. Then I fell at the very end… Twice. Temps never got above freezing. Eight tries in all and no send. The good news is that I am feeling strong. This one just wasn’t in the cards for me today.

Sunday was spent hunkered down in the ledges as pictured above and Monday it was back to work on pitch 12:

Ah yeah!!!! Finally sent pitch 12. Thank god. 13 felt good too. Really sad to see Becca go down. But 10 days was a pretty amazing stretch. Really happy to have Kelly Cordess holding the rope and providing an endless stream of ridiculous comments.

So now it’s on to the heretofore unclimbed “thumbdercling” crux pitches 13 and 14 across the Molar Traverse.  Those pitches are followed by one more 5.14 pitch and then the route lets up with some “easier” climbing in the 5.13 range.

  1. But not the team’s highpoint as Jorgeson wasn’t able to free the pitch before the season ended
  2. This push has done wonders for his following on Facebook, growing from very few fans to 3300 and counting in just 10 days

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7 Responses to Caldwell Matches Previous Highpoint On Dawn Wall Project

  1. Seth Cohen November 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m well versed in what it means to send “normal” sport and trad routes, but not for really long, really hard routes like this.  From reading/seeing everything, it seems that a successful send of this project requires him to simply free each pitch without falling.

    But if he comes off the wall in the middle of his push, does he simply jug back up to where he left off?  Does that still count?  If so, what is the limit on how much time he can spend on the ground?  For example, could he free the first 12 pitches, come to the ground for a month, then get back on, jug up to the top of pitch 12, and free the rest?  What if he stayed on the ground for a whole year?

    I guess, to sum up: what are the “rules” for successfully sending this project?

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    • kevinj November 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      He has to stay on the wall and free every pitch until he reaches the top. If he goes down to the ground for any length of time, it would not be considered as a single push effort, but rather a pitch by pitch incomplete ascent.

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      • Fritz November 9, 2011 at 9:32 am #

        kevin j….orgeson?

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    • Jo November 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      Seth,

      That’s a very good question . . . I was wondering about that too.  Seems TC is making his own rules which is perfectly fine; he’s the one up there doing it.  That said, by my lights, I think a simple, lead swapping free climb push to the top, including any falls and excluding lowering, would be a fine ascent as well.  I would even go as far to say this would be more of a natural way to climb a route–in in keeping with traditional accents of multi-pitch, than multiple attempts and lowers to get each pitch with no falls (I recognize that TC lost his partner of course).

      Anyhow, in ANY case, it’s a very notable and awesome undertaking.  Once TC completes, the route will be there for years to come for future parties to up the ante even more.

      j

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      • KevinJorgeson November 9, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

        We established the rules for sending this route by climbing to the top and  free climbing every pitch whilst on the wall. Not completing even just one pitch means no send at all. Why is this so confusing to people? Its the same as if the climb were 2 pitches of 5.9, a send is to climb both without returning to the ground. If you sent one pitch and lowered and went back for the next one seperately, it wouldnt count unless you free climbed the 1st pitch. If in doubt still, just think of what it would take to send a multipitch of any length at your local crag. hope this helps.

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        • Jo November 12, 2011 at 1:23 am #

          I understand the prohibition against returning to the ground just fine.  All I’m saying is that from what I understand (and I could be mistaken), TC is trying to “send” each pitch (as in climb “cleanly,” i.e, no falls) before moving on to the next.  This requires a lot of work of course, and also a lot of lowing to the bottom of various pitches and multiple attempts at the same pitch.  

          All I was stating is that I think a swap lead climb or (since there doesn’t seem to be a willing and able partner to do this with presently) an all-TC led climb replete with falls but no lowering, strikes me as a fine accomplishment as well.  It is also more in keeping with how the average multi-pitch route is commonly climbed.  While I recognize that this route is in no way “average” in terms of difficulty/commitment, I don’t think this is relevant to the “style” aspect under consideration here.  The “redpoint” sport climbing mentality doesn’t, to me, translate too well to multi-pitch.  ‘Pitches” are arbitrary breaks in what is really one super long climb.  Either no fall the entire thing or don’t worry too much about a hang here or there.  I know this goes against traditional thought, but so did rap bolting, bolting in general, and even crash pads.

          To the best of my imagination, the chief purpose of climbing each pitch with no-falls is to demonstrate that the climber has the capability of free climbing every move on the route, as well as climbing each pitch without a fall.  If TC has already done this, then I’m really sorry, but I don’t see the entire value of stringing them all together, but divided by multiple lowers and attempts at the same pitch.  It’s something that has not been done before and is insanely hard . . . well, guess I may have figured it out?

          A completely no weighting of the rope during the entire duration of the climb would be mind blowing, but this isn’t on the table right now.  It certainly could be something to aim for, for someone, in the future.  Noting this in no way diminishes or demeans the great things that TC is doing up there.

          j

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  2. Seth Cohen November 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    PS, I’m absolutely one of the many who had never following Tommy’s facebook before this, and am now checking it multiple times a day.  Thanks for the updates here also!

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