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Dawn Wall’s Pitch 15: The Battle; The Project

Kevin Jorgeson has attempted pitch 15, a 5.14d traverse, on El Cap’s Dawn Wall project four times and each time he’s fallen off the two razor-sharp crimp-crux.

Climbers and non-climbers alike are anxiously watching the historic project. Tommy Caldwell has free climbed to pitch 14 and in now into “easier” terrain. Jorgeson is battling with pitch 15. He is projecting the hardest pitch of his life without the opportunity to walk away and forget about it.

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Today on Facebook, Jorgeson wrote, “My battle with Pitch 15 continues. After six years of work, my DawnWall quest comes down to sending this pitch. Last night, I experienced a lightness and calm like never before. Despite failing, it will always be one of my most memorable climbing experiences. On my fourth attempt, around 11pm, the razor sharp holds ripped both the tape and the skin right off my fingers. As disappointing as this is, I’m learning new levels of patience, perseverance and desire. I’m not giving up. I will rest. I will try again. I will succeed.”

The crux crimps that continue to tear tape and flesh from Jorgeson's fingers  Photo Jorgeson's Facebook
The crux crimps that continue to tear tape and flesh from Jorgeson’s fingers Photo Jorgeson’s Facebook


Many climbers project routes. Emily Harrington wrote, “I know alot of climbers have projecting routes for years, hundreds of days, with relentless determination and commitment; but this kind of long-term battle was totally new to me. Chris Sharma is a good example of someone capable of this kind of long-term projecting. I spent a little time climbing with him near his home in Spain this past spring. Sometimes he seems to be working on five or more routes at a time, and he appears to be in no rush to complete any of them. He is at ease with being in ‘project mode.'”

Tips on Projecting by Beth Rodden

Staying With It

Failing on a route can damage your self-confidence and perhaps even destroy your motivation to climb. When you reach this point, it’s important that you give the project a rest and shift your focus.

The best way to regain confidence and invert negative emotions is to climb some routes. After a period of absence, you will want to return to your project, you will know when the time is right.

The thrill that comes with sending a project:

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