Image from the film PROGRESSION. Tommy Caldwell attempting to free his project on El Capitan, in Yosemite, CA.
UKC News, Sep 2010
© Photo by Corey Rich
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have abandoned their project on El Capitan for the season.
When completed, the project that links the aid routes of Mescalito and New Dawn Wall will be one of, if not the, hardest big wall free climb in the world. The pair of climbers have been working on the pitches for months and thought they were finally going for the big push back on the thirteenth of November.
Tommy and his wife Becca have a Blog, and on the first day of the attempt Becca posted:
"So the guys started up the wall today. †We got up super early and I cooked breakfast while last minute things were packed. †After some delicious breakfast burritos we hiked to the base to find a wet couple of first pitches and some warm sun. †The guys took their time racking up and soon they were climbing! †Thanks to the sun the pitches dried relatively well, and around 10am a breeze was present to keep them somewhat cooled. †They both fired up the first pitch with Kevin on lead..."
Unfortunately after several days on the wall, and after climbing the first 11 pitches, a storm hit Yosemite and the team had to bail from the route.
Jorgeson twittered: "Big storm brings an early end to this season. Only one thing to do: keep training and return!"
Posting on her Blog, Becca said:
"The storm was coming in big, and there was high uncertainty of how long it would take to even be able to climb again, and other factors as well. †I have only gotten to talk to Tommy briefly about it, but he says he has peace with the decision and has not lost any psyche! †Now they have a great idea of what needs to be done for next season to ensure a send and they can take some time to enjoy life and relax a little."
The route has multiple 5.14 grade pitches and is a monstrous undertaking. It will be the hardest free route on El Cap, and there are already plenty of very hard free routes on this king of cliffs!
The pair of climbers have been blogging and releasing videos of their efforts over the season, a couple of videos are below: