The Dawn Wall Cleanup

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On January 15th, Kevin Jorgenson and Tommy Caldwell made climbing history when they completed the Dawn Wall on El Capitan, free climbing the world’s hardest big wall over a nineteen day effort. A colossal amount of effort went into the ascent. “The Dawn Wall was 94% work and 6% climbing,” said Kevin Jorgenson.

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During the ascent, they had four portaledges on the wall and a half dozen full sized haulbags. Their extensive camp weighed over six hundred pounds. A half dozen trips were made by myself and another porter to carry food and water to the men on the wall.

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On January 17th, I hiked to the top of El Capitan with Jorgenson and Caldwell to clean the route. The ascent had garnered national attention and while they did interviews from the summit, I descended six hundred feet and hauled their advanced base camp to the top. Afterwards, Jorgenson rappelled two thousand feet to basecamp while Caldwell and I rappelled down and cleaned the ropes.

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We pulled a two thousand feet off rope off and brought it to base camp. Tommy rigged a system to lower the entire six hundred pound basecamp to the ground in one massive lower.

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Carrying the loads from the summit to the ground after the ascent and carrying the gear from the ground to the car involved a half dozen men and a number of trips. The number of loads Kevin and Tommy ferried up and down over the years is in the hundreds. While the climbing was quite difficult, by far the most impressive part of the route was the sheer volume of work that the climb involved. >

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Tommy does some last minute clean up duty on top of El Capitan.