The Evolution of Climber Tommy Caldwell
“As a professional climber I like to say that my gift in life is the ability to relentlessly beat my head against a wall. I live by the ethos that if you hit your head hard or long enough, it really feels good when you stop.” —Tommy Caldwell
This past October, 34-year-old climber Tommy Caldwell began hitting his head against El Capitan again. He set out with Jonathan Siegrist to work on a roughly 30-pitch route called The Dawn Wall that he started in 2007. It has seven sections of 5.14 and seven sections of 5.13, and would be one of the world’s hardest big wall routes if completed. In November, Kevin Jorgeson joined the pair. Jorgeson has been working on the route with Caldwell since 2009. On November 15, 2012, Caldwell stopped in the middle of the project, ending at the 13th pitch with characteristic optimism. “Last day on the wall for the season,” he said on Facebook. “Sad to be done, but good progress was made.”
To get a sense of Caldwell's ability to fight off frustration and endure suffering in pursuit of big goals, watch the above video profile from Patagonia.