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Climbing: Dad, Am I Over the Hill?

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Outside magazine, November 1995

Climbing: Dad, Am I Over the Hill?
By Todd Balf (with Joe Glickman)


As a 98-pound 12-year-old, Tommy Caldwell of Colorado climbed the Diamond on Rocky Mountain National Park’s Longs Peak, one of the premier big-wall routes in the country. He’s since added some impressive summits, including the Matterhorn and Huayna Potosí, usually climbing with his dad, Michael Caldwell. But last July, Tommy, now 17, went it alone at the Outdoor Sports
Festival in Snowbird, Utah, and was the only competitor to reach the top of all four routes. A few weeks later, however, at the U.S. National Championships in San Francisco, Caldwell was put in his place by mere youngsters. Chris Sharma of California, and David Hume of Kentucky, a pair of 14-year-olds, finished first and second in the men’s field. Robyn Erbesfeld (surprise) beat
Elena Ovtchinnikova of Russia and 14-year-old Katie Brown for the women’s title.

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