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Dawn Wall – Tommy Sends Pitches 15 and 16

Since Dec. 27, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have been attempting to free the Dawn Wall. A project that is going into its seventh year.

On Dec. 29, we reported that Caldwell and Jorgeson had climbed pitches one through nine, which are as follows: 5.12b, 5.13a, 5.13c, 5.12b, 5.12d, 5.13c, 5.14a, 5.13d, 5.13c.

Dec. 29 Report on Dawn Wall

100 Years of Big Wall Free Climbing

There has been lots of action on El Cap since then. So much, that major news sources such as the New York Times has made attempts to cover the story.

On Dec. 29, both climbers sent pitch 10, which is graded 5.14a. Jorgeson said this, “50 feet of two-finger pin-scar lie-backing protected by seven consecutive beaks leads to a 20 foot wet section for both hands and feet. Nails. After a good rest where you can dry your hands and shoes, you climb 35 feet of 5.12 terrain. This all leads up to a crux under-cling boulder problem capped by a nerve wracking, tenuous face traverse to the anchors.”

On Dec. 30, the team takes a rest day. The sharp granite shredded the skin on their fingers and they had to let the wounds heal.

On Dec. 31, they sent pitches 11, graded 5.13c, and the crux Molar Traverse pitch-12, 5.14b. It marked a high-point for Jorgeson, as he’d never freed the pitch. He said, “Tonight, I sent the hardest pitch of my life and the hardest on the Dawn Wall!. Best of all, Tommy sent right after me.”

On Jan. 1, both climbers sent the 5.12d pitch-13 and the crux of the route, the 5.14d pitch-14. After the send, Caldwell said, “Oh snap. The hardest pitch got sent by both of us tonight. I might be in a little shock right now. The route is taking a toll on our fingertips as we are now both climbing with taped up fingertips, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing us down too much. Oh yeah!!”

Pitches 14 and 15 are the two hardest pitches on El Cap. Together they are called The Grand Traverses. Caldwell said that pitch 14 is harder than 15, but they are both 5.14d.

On Jan. 2, the climbers took another rest day.

On Jan. 3, Caldwell sent pitch 15, the last 5.14d pitch on the route. Jorgeson did not send it.

On Jan. 4, Caldwell sent pitch 16 and Jorgeson once again did not free pitch 15, but came very close. Pitch 16 is a 5.14a called the Loop Pitch, but was known as the Dyno Pitch. Caldwell did not think the two-metre dyno made sense with the rest of the route. Instead, he reversed some 5.14 climbing from the belay down pitch 15 and then climbed out and around the dyno to join the pitch at the end of the now-famous El Cap dyno.

It is unclear if Caldwell will continue to climb or wait for Jorgeson to free pitches 15 and 16. Tomorrow will likely be a rest day.

Kevin Jorgeson attempting pitch 15  Photo Corey Rich
Kevin Jorgeson attempting pitch 15 Photo Corey Rich

Sources: Tommy Caldwell and Tommy Jorgeson’s social media, Andrew Bisharat, Corey Rich Productions