My fingers are swollen today, the back’s of my knuckles cracked and a little bit bloody, they just hurt all over. I have cuts underneath my fingernails too and my back muscles are aching from jugging rope fatigue syndrome and a bit of dehydration. This rock just requires so much work. It’s like boot camp. Yesterday Will and I hiked up and rappelled into Leo’s highpoint pitch. What an AMAZING position, exposed traversing on underclings and smearing feet. Absolutely terrific climbing. Truly unique. Got a late start yesterday because we spent much of the morning re-booking flights and coordinating with friends. So we had to hike fast. By the time we got up there, a massive set of fog had swept in and literally engulfed us. Visibility was less than 30 feet at times. What an eerie feeling to look down and watch your rope disappear dangling out of sight. We climbed out in the dark and I could hardly make out Will’s headtorch until the summit. It was a cold mission. And just before hiking down, I looked across and saw the headlamps of Tommy Caldwell’s camp.
It made me realize that even though we are getting worked, our efforts are still nothing in comparison to our friend Tommy’s. That man is a true living legend as far as we’re concerned. 4 years on the Dawn Wall and still going very strong. He’s been up on the wall now for 15 days. He’s like a tank. A psychological rhinoceros. I sometimes think back to the heroic efforts of American Icons like Warren Harding, Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins just to name a few. Who bravely forged virgin ground in a bold attempt to overcome the unknown and to seek the limits of their endurance. Because taking nine months to scale the Nose for the first time is no easy feet, it must require machine like determination. 50 years after “Batso’s” push, people are doing it in an astonishing sub 3 hours. But that’s the progression of the sport. It’s inevitable. But in this way, Tommy is a modern day American Hard Man.
The golden years continue. They are occuring right here, right now. For those of us that just love rock climbing this is the playoffs. Tommy has set his sights on a futuristic objective of previously unclimbed territory, carving his own way up, and has worked unbelievably hard to meet it. Its an electrifying feeling to be able to witness history in the making and it’s this sort of vision that pushes us all to try a little harder, dig a little deeper and give it one more shot. “What would Tommy do?” is becoming a common phrase for Will and I when we feel tired or cold. What would Tomy do keeps us getting up and getting after it everyday. It’s been a long push in the valley for us, nearly 6 weeks now. And we have to dig in again for one more gentlemans effort. Because we all know El Cap isn’t going to climb itself.
What would Tommy do? Check out his facebook page, he’s getting thousands of hits per day, and unlike in the past, today’s technology has made it possible for all of us to join in the journey with him. Go Tommy Go!