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|Submitted by Tom Evans on Sat, 01/10/2015 - 07:03|
ElCap Report 1/9/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 14
Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”
By Tom Evans
Yo… Today's weather changed from sunny to cloudy, with a drop or two of rain, every now and then. The conditions were better for climbing due to the absence of the direct sunlight on the rock. It was humid and warm in the meadow but must have been pretty good on the rock, as Kevin had chosen this day to make his attempt on the notorious 15th pitch. The crowd started gathering just after noon and grew with each passing minute. It was a mixed group with quite a few Tourons who had been following the news and climbers who knew the significance of the climb and wanted to witness the historic event.
For Kevin it was the day of reckoning. In the last few days, Tommy had climbed way above Kevin’s high point, and he needed to get past these super difficult pitches, and catch up with Tommy at Wino Tower, and soon. Kevin was feeling the pressure of all those days, months and years spent working on the route. Success or failure, the die would be cast today, as he is running out of time and finger pads, so now it's fish or cut bait.
Today’s ElCap Report..written just for you..unique in all the world!
1) Out he went, and off he came…the crowd moaned and Kevin retreated to the portaledge, to talk it over with Tommy before the next try.
2) After a time Kevin was ready and launched out onto the pitch again. He appeared more relaxed and actually moved more quickly, and confidently.
3) By mid pitch his footwork was spot on and he seemed be working those micro holds as if they were buckets! An excited buzz ran through the crowd. I had my camera screen positioned so many of the crowd could look over my shoulder and watch the action up close.
4) With every move the crowd got more and more excited and I started to narrate the action so those with little knowledge could understand just what they were seeing here.
5) By mid pitch you could hear the people saying “Wow, look at that move,” or “oh man, look at that”!
6) He looked relaxed almost and every time he reached for a hold … bang! He hit it right on the money and quickly moved on.
7) Soon enough he had reached the area he had just fallen on and the crowd tensed up, saying, “come on Kev.. you got this!”
8) Soon he had gotten to the high step and heal hook move where you have to crank hard on shitty razor sharp finger tip holds. This spot is where he had fallen so many times before and everyone tensed up and grew quiet, each person whispering … “come on Kevin… come on”.
9) He stayed on!!! Then he had to pass the place he had just touched in the past before wheeling off. I had studied my photos from previous tries and had noticed that his left foot was being placed just a bit short of the best part of the hold. Not this time! He hit that hold dead on the first try and cranked up with his fingers. His hands held and he came into balance.
10) Down here it was getting pretty crazy. Various people started to exclaim… “he’s gonna do it, he’s got it, he’s got it!”
And they were right… the difficulties were passed and he stepped over to the belay… and the crowd went wild. When you get older, like I am, you will find that your emotions are very close to the surface and you will not contain them very well. I started crying.. just couldn’t help it.. I was so happy for him, because I knew what this meant and how hard he had battled to be standing at that belay.
11) He let out a scream that could be heard down here in the meadow! And promptly jumped off the cliff!! I think this shot tells it all!
A while later he tried the Dyno and after a few tries, got that too!! The air was electric and people who didn’t even know him were laughing and happy for him.
Few climbers will ever overcome the adversity and disappointment, Kevin has suffered during the past days. Kevin Jorgeson, the man the naysayers had counted out… had shown them all what courage and tenacity could produce. And hats off to his partner, Tommy Caldwell, whose strong character, and compassion for his friend, had given Kevin the chance he needed to succeed. It was something to see and everyone left with a sense that they had seen something extraordinary happen this day. I will remember it always!
In other news: Guess what? The climb is far from over and is in no way in the bag. Difficult climbing lies ahead and anything could happen. But on this day something very special had happened and has made it possible for the TEAM to continue the adventure.
So that’s the way it was, today, the 9th day of January, 2015.