Caldwell climbs 9a trad pitch on El Cap

by Björn Pohl - UKC Dec/2013
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+Mescalito/Dawn Wall project topo, 67 kb
Mescalito/Dawn Wall project topo
Björn Pohl - UKC, Dec 2013
© Climbing.com

Tommy Caldwell has managed to free what could be the hardest pitch of the Mescalito/Dawn wall project on El Cap, Yosemite.

The pitch in question is #15, the second traverse pitch, and according to Tommy it weighs in around 14d/9a. This means it's the hardest single pitch in the valley, and also by all likelihood the hardest traditionally protected route in this part of the universe.

On Instagram, Tommy writes:

...I regret to inform anyone that wants to climb the hardest pitch in Yosemite, now they have to get to the absolute middle of Cap to make it happen.
After years of work PITCH 15 WENT DOWN!!!

Pro Climbers International posted that

...this [...] represents a huge step toward an eventual send of the entire route. "

If we're talking about freeing all the single pitches, this is of course true, but if we by "sending the entire route" mean climbing all the pitches in one single push, surely that will be a while still, don't you think?

If I read Kevin Jorgeson's hand drawn topo correctly, there are four or five pitches of ~8b+ - 8c+, as well as a few ~8a+'s, which have to be climbed before you even get to the 9a pitch. After this follows the pitch with the huge sideways dyno (2,4m?), before you reach easier terrain in the form of a few ~8a+ pitches...

When (if?) this project gets done, arguing against this being the single most impressive climbing achievement of all time, and by a long way, will be rather difficult.


Forums ( Read More... | 52 comments, 22 Dec 2013 )
Well, except for where they don't; Baugen rap route, descent of the Svolvaer Goat, off the Moysten block on Stetind, all the raps of Eidetind etc. and that's leaving aside all the actual sport routes. Well, except...
TobyA - 21 Dec 2013

I suggested such a change to the then president of the AAC (Jim Donini) when I bumped into him at Indian Creek; that a presidential executive order to switch to the UK system would be in order. Seems I failed in my...
Robert Durran - 21 Dec 2013

Indeed; with (quite possibly) no fixed gear and a smooth-sided parallel crack you might either have to be skilled at placing passive gear in that type of situation or run it out for a full pitch. Definitive F6a+, in...
Ian Parsons - 21 Dec 2013

Anyhow grades and pre-adolescent musings on what a favorite top trump card climber might be able to do aside. Tommy is getting on with it and is seriously impressing his high performing peers, lets hope he succeeds and...
Offwidth - 21 Dec 2013

There is the 'danger' grade also given (sometimes) for US trad climbs? If most trad climbs in a country are well-protected (e.g. long cracks by cams), then presumably French grades would fine, and you just make a note...
andrewmcleod - 20 Dec 2013

That's a very UK centric view, most bolted climbs in the UK have a French grade, and that's probably why people see it as a sport grade. In the US and Europe they just have grades. The boundaries between sport and trad...
1poundSOCKS - 20 Dec 2013

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