Adam Ondra and Tommy Caldwell Talk Dawn Wall and Big Walling
The two top climbers talk about their historic ascents up one of the world's hardest big wall free climbs
The first free ascent of Dawn Wall, a 31-pitch 5.14 on El Capitan, took American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson 19 days. Their historic ascent, which they completed in January 2015, became a media spectacle, even President Obama reached out with congratulations.
In 2016, Adam Ondra visited Yosemite with little experience in trad and Yosemite-style granite big wall climbing. On Nov. 21 at 3:29 p.m, eight days after beginning his push, Adam Ondra stepped onto the summit of El Capitan, completing the Dawn Wall and marking the route’s second ascent.
Ondra told National Geographic: “In the end it was just as hard as I expected, but it took more time than I expected, because I was a total beginner to this style of climbing in Yosemite. There’s no doubt this is the hardest big-wall rock climb in the world. It feels amazing right now. This is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in climbing. Wow, so good. I think it’ll be a long-lasting happiness and joy due to the length and effort of the route.”
In the below video, Ondra and Caldwell talk about their Dawn Wall experiences and big wall climbing.