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with Stefan Nestler

Milestone on El Capitan

They did it: Caldwell (l.) and Jorgeson

They did it: Caldwell (l.) and Jorgeson

A milestone in the granite of El Capitan in Yosemite! After 19 days the US climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of the extremely difficult, about 900-meter-high Dawn Wall after having climbed it free for the first time. They made climbing history. “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely”, 30-year-old Jorgesan said according to the New York Times. “I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.” As reported, it had taken Kevin seven days alone to master the extremely difficult 15th of 32 pitches of the route. “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”, 36-year-old Caldwell said. “For me, I love to dream big, and I love to find ways to be a bit of an explorer.” Tommy is climbing with only nine full fingers. In 2001 while working with a table saw, he accidentally cut off a part of his left index finger.

Alexander Huber: “Great performance!”

Alexander Huber

Alexander Huber

“The press tends to use terms like ‘the climb of the century’”, the German top climber Alexander Huber points out, whom I asked to assess the performance of the two US climbers in the Dawn Wall. “Of course we can not know what else will happen in the remaining 85 years of the century. So, if you look at it objectively, the term is exaggerated.” Nevertheless, the younger of the two Huber brothers is delighted. “The route is definitely the most difficult alpine rock climbing route in the world. In this regard, all I can say is: Hats off! Great performance!”, says the 46-year-old.

In 1970, the legendary Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell (no relation to Tommy) had opened the route via the Dawn Wall in 27 days. They used more than 300 bolts, what led to some criticism in the climbing community at that time.


15. January 2015 | 11:28