Episode 6: One-thousand feet up the wall, at hanging “Basecamp 1,” Kevin assesses his progress, declaring that, “We can do this thing!” Lyrical action footage strikes his narration to life.
Never free climbed, that is. And not for lack of trying. In Fall, 2007, Yosemite pioneer Tommy Caldwell first set his sights on free climbing a composite route up the Dawn Wall, closely tracking the old aid route, Mescalito. First climbed in 1973, Mescalito ascends 3,000 feet of glass-smooth granite soaring just right of the Nose Route, the prominent prow on the Southeast face of El Cap, and the world’s most sought after rock climb. In 2009, Caldwell was joined by adidas athlete and climber, Kevin Jorgeson. The pair went on to spend over 120 days on the wall over the following four seasons, managing to free all but several sections on three traversing pitches, roughly 1,500 feet up the wall. When Caldwell went down with an injury in early November, 2013, Kevin stayed the course, dialing in the sequences on the traverses. Once these sections are worked through – a strong possibility for the 2013 season – Kevin can launch an all-out, Thanksgiving push to free the entire route, bottom to top. If successful, the Dawn Wall Free will rank as the world’s most difficult big wall free climb, and the most significant free climbing achievement of the twenty-first century.
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