BD athletes Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell attempt a new free route on El Capitan—Dispatch #4
Black Diamond athletes Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell have teamed up this fall for an attempt at free climbing a new 1000-meter route on Yosemite's El Capitan that roughly follows the aid line Mescalito. Caldwell, the most accomplished El Cap free climber in the world, has already spent quite a few days on the route, sussing out the feasibility of freeing the line—one that he unequivocally calls the hardest he has ever attempted on El Cap. Jorgeson, an El Cap rookie but a news-maker for his bold bouldering ascents and last year's spree of gritstone repeats in the UK, will be sending us iPhone dispatches from the wall, with photos, video and updates on the attempt.
Follow along here in the Black Diamond Journal as we publish Jorgeson's exclusive dispatches!
From: Kevin Jorgeson
Subject: Dispatch 4
Date: November 7, 2009 414:30 PM MST
It goes! Well, we're pretty sure it goes. We haven't tried the
traverse pitch, but upon closer inspection, it seems like it's all
there. This was the last the question mark on the route. Now, we are
spending our time refining our beta on each pitch that we can do, and
projecting the remaining undone pitches.
Our strategy has been to hike up the East Ledges and rappel into our
camp on Wino Tower, then spend 3 days smack in the middle of the
route, in close proximity to five of the first 13 pitches. Most of the
climbing is in extremely technical and powerful corners, with tiny
feet and lots of micro-beta.
The meat of the route comes down to the first 13 pitches. 10 of them
are solid 5.13 and harder, with the crux pitch likely weighing in
around mid 5.14. After a great day of working this pitch yesterday,
our hopes and psyche are high. Tommy got very close to sticking the
dyno and I unlocked a key sequence in the corner just above.
As we spend more and more time on the route, our motivation, optimism,
and understanding keeps growing. Each pitch has it's own character
that takes time to learn to the level of detail necessary for such a
project. Our sequenced gear lists for each pitch are slowly coming
together as well. Slowly but surely, this massive undertaking begins
to feel smaller and smaller, more feasible, and more exciting.
Photos: Tom Evans