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Daniel Woods Talks About The Process

Daniel Woods, writing about his recent FA of The Process in Bishop, CA which he believes is V16:

To grade something like this is hard. Media loves big numbers and to see a progression with numbers. This line means so much more to me than just a number. I know and lived the mental/physical struggle this beast presented me and it is the hardest obstacle I have dealt with in my life thus far. The Process does not contain the hardest set of moves that I have ever done, but the full package really packs a punch. Linking v13 to v14 to v10 with scare factor involved is not easy.

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Fear Of Falling

One story that re-emerged during the big Dawn Wall push was this incredible story from 2000 when a young Tommy Caldwell, along with Beth Rodden, John Dickey and Jason Smith, was abducted by rebels in Kyrgyzstan:

“What the hell was that?” he shouts, donning his helmet instinctively, assuming the rifle crack is the clatter of rockfall.

“We’re being shot at, Singer!” Beth Rodden calls out in alarm from the other portaledge.

“That’s irrational,” Smith replies. “It’s probably local hunters.”

Then the third bullet hits right between the two platforms. Rock chips fly out of the crater, spraying the climbers.

“That was definitely for us!” Rodden shouts.

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“It’s Really A Lifestyle”

T0mmy Caldwell, being interviewed by the New York Time minutes after topping out the Dawn Wall:

I would love for this to open people’s minds to what an amazing sport this is. I think the larger audience’s conception is that we’re thrill seekers, out there for an adrenaline rush. We really aren’t at all. It’s about spending our lives in these beautiful places and forming these incredible bonds with friends and family. It’s really a lifestyle. It’s superhealthy, and the climbing world is some of the most psyched, great people around. And if that love can spread, that’s really a great thing.

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New York Times Profiles Tommy Caldwell

John Branch also profiled Tommy Caldwell for the New York Times:

Whatever part inside of Tommy Caldwell that made him attempt the seemingly impossible — a free climb of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall — might have been born in 2000 when he and three others were kidnapped by militants while climbing in the Pamir-Alai range of Kyrgyzstan. They escaped after six days on the run when Caldwell shoved an armed guard over a cliff.

Or it might have come shortly after, when Caldwell severed his left index finger with a table saw during a home renovation.

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New York Times Profiles Kevin Jorgeson

John Branch has been doing some really good pieces about the Dawn Wall for the New York Times, and this profile on Kevin Jorgeson is no exception.  Of note is Jorgeson’s comments on his battle with Pitch 15:

After Jorgeson failed on several attempts [on Pitch 15] in the middle of last week, he texted one word to Becker, his girlfriend: “Devastated.” His next text said he did not want to be known as the man who almost climbed the Dawn Wall.

He rested his fingers, waiting for his skin to heal over two days, before embarking on another attempt on Friday afternoon. In the back of his mind, he knew that if he failed again, he would most likely end his quest in deference to Caldwell.

Sure looks like Kevin Jorgeson is going to be known as the man who did climb the Dawn Wall.  Awesome stuff.

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Dawn Wall Project Goes Mainstream

The efforts by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson to free climb a route up El Capitan’s Dawn Wall is really blowing up with much of the climbing world and now even the New York Times taking notice in this article by John Branch1.  The piece does a reasonably good job of conveying what is going on, and it includes this quote from Caldwell that I really liked:

“This is my Moby-Dick, for sure,” he said. “For me, it’s just a fascination with the epic journey. I’ve always been a fan of stories of big journeys. And it’s a question of curiosity. I love to play with my physical and mental limits and see how far I can push them, and I just love to dream big. And this project fulfills all those things.”

As for the current status of the big push to free the Dawn Wall, Tommy has succeeded through a variation of the “Dyno Pitch” which is roughly Pitch 15 1/2.  Kevin has been stymied by the last difficult traverse pitch, Pitch 15, but they are resting up and he hopes to give it another go here soon.  Stay tuned…

  1.  As always with these kinds of mainstream articles, read the comments at your own peril
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Adam Ondra Climbs His 100th 5.14d Or Harder


Other than the sheer absurdity of the number, what I find most interesting about this is that Ondra did his first 5.14d way back in 2006 when he was just 13.  Since then a number of incredible young climbers have come along – Enzo Oddo, Ashima Shiraishi, Mirko Caballero  to name just a few – but Ondra’s record in all aspects of climbing is really unmatched.  Incredible.

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