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Yosemite’s Dawn Wall Was Freed Eight Years Ago

The 32-pitch El Capitan 5.14d was climbed in January 2015 by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson

The Dawn Wall is one of the most famous and difficult big wall routes in the world. It climbs the sweeping southeast face of El Capitan in Yosemite, a nearly 1,000-metre granite wall. It’s graded 5.14d and follows 32 pitches.

The first ascent was by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson in January 2015 over weeks of redpointing the pitches without leaving the wall. The film Dawn Wall film (100% on Rotten Tomato) documents the struggles of big wall free climbing. Caldwell had famously completed the 5.14d pitch-15 traverse, but Jorgeson kept falling, for days. Caldwell waited until Jorgeson sent and they topped-out to international media attention. In total, they spent 19 days on El Capitan.

The Dawn Wall has only been repeated by Adam Ondra over a week in November 2016. Ondra praised Caldwell and Jorgeson saying, “Tommy and Kevin put so much effort into the climb and faced so many question marks and logistical problems that I cannot really compare my effort to theirs. I had it prepared, had all the knowledge. I knew it was possible.”

In 2020, Nalle Hukkataival and Ignacio Mulero spent weeks working on the Dawn Wall, and one year ago Siebe Vanhee and Seb Berthe attempted it, both without success. Here are the grades of the Dawn Wall pitches: 12b, 13a, 13c, 12b, 12d, 13c, 14a, 13d, 13c, 14a, 13c, 14b, 13b, 14d, 14d, 14c, 14a, 13c, 13c, 13c, 13c, 12c, 9, 11, 11, 11d, 11c, 12c, 12b, 13a, 12a, 12b.

Dawn Wall Trailer