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.
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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.
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And if that love can spread, that’s really a great thing.
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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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.
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He rested his fingers, waiting for his skin to heal over two days, before embarking on another attempt on Friday afternoon.
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In the back of his mind, he knew that if he failed again, he would most likely end his quest in deference to Caldwell.
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Sure looks like Kevin Jorgeson is going to be known as the man who did climb the Dawn Wall. Awesome stuff.
Adam Ondra, in an interview with Evening Sends:
For me, however, it takes less time to adapt [to bouldering] because I have climbed many kilometers of rock in my life—on all kinds rock and different angles. I don’t want to boast, but I think I kind of know how to climb.
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Understatement of the year? Good interview.
Daniel Woods, in an interview by Andrew Bisharat for Without Walls:
In climbing films, I feel like there is a pattern that we all follow. The filmmakers ask us the same questions in the interview and they want us to respond in this one way.
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Climbing films are more serious, less attitude [than skateboarding videos]. I feel like most viewers’ reaction is like, “Do climbers go out and party at night?
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Do they socialize? Do they go to cool dinners? Do they hang out with friends?”
Interesting point. In general it does seem like many climbing videos are pretty “safe” in what they depict. A lot of this is almost certainly due to the fact that many videos featuring prominent athletes like Woods are paid for by sponsors who have an investment in portraying a family-friendly image, especially given the huge youth audience in our sport. I don’t see this changing really, but there are certainly other outlets like Instagram where professional climbers are still free to portray themselves more freely1.
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