ElCap Report 1/10/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 15

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By Tom Evans

Yo… Day 15 on the climb started out very overcast with rain lurking.  It was cooler too and conditions looked right for Kevin to catch up a couple pitches on Tommy.  Kevin had texted me that they were going to start around noon and I had some interviews to do for the media, so I went early.  By the time I arrived the clouds had thinned out and the sun was peeking through.  Soon the boys were set to climb.

Today’s ElCap Report..written just for you..unique in all the world!

After last night I figured the team might just take a day off and wind down from the high drama of yesterday.  But the psyche was high and Kevin was anxious to get back on the route and catch up to Tommy’s high point.

1)  When I arrived at the meadow, I was greeted by cars parked everywhere and a mob of people milling about seeing what sights were to be seen.




























2)  The supply team, headed by Erik Sloan, headed back up for a resupply of needed items including more food and water and some really necessary items, like recharged batteries and whiskey, the latter of which, had fallen to a critically low level!






























3)  Various news agencies had arrived and were working the crowd to find any knowledgeable person to snag for an interview.  This is the ABC Good Morning America crew, which got to Yosemite several days ago, and were way out in front on the story.



























4)  By noon Tommy and Kevin were at the start of the 16th pitch, which Kevin had climbed the first half of, last night.






























5)  By now the clouds had nearly vanished and the temperature had risen to a very comfortable level, here in the meadow and a very warm level on the wall.  Kevin started off and fell at the crux, higher on the pitch.  I figured he would stop, as conditions were not good for continuing as the shoe soles were getting soft and this was the last pitch of 5.14 on the climb.






























6)  However, on this day, Kevin was not to be denied.  He had sent his critics scurrying for cover, like scalded dogs yesterday, and was not about to let them back into the story!  He took off his shirt, chalked up, and started off again.





























7)  The heat was rising, and once again Kevin took flight.






























8)  Meanwhile, over on the Triple Direct, Roger Putnam, and partner, Matt Benoit, were on a one day speed ascent of the route and Matt is seen here on the Nose section, at the Great Roof.





























9)  Back on the Dawn Wall, Kevin sent the 16th and was back in the fight!  They moved the belay up to the top of 17, as Tommy had already led that pitch and Kevin only had to climb it as a second.  Here he is half way up the pitch which is “only” rated 13.c.  Ha!  Only 13.c!!  If you are a climber you get the joke!






























10)  He worked the pitch a bit and here, nearing the end of the pitch, I could see that he was getting tired, as his body language told the tale on him.  However, he dug deep and pushed harder.































11)  Toward dusk he was only a few moves away from the belay and I am sure he was glad to call it a day when he finished that pitch!





























12)  Daylight soon dwindled, and we got to enjoy another nice sunset.



























Tomorrow will be another day, of what seems like an endless stream of days, with countless difficulties, disappointments, and triumphs.  Tenacity, persistence, determination, character are all welded together in the……..TEAM.  For, while the climbers are great individually, the TEAM is always stronger than the sum of its members.  In climbing, it all comes down to …. THE TEAM, THE TEAM, and THE TEAM.

Tomorrow 1/11/15 is going to be a rest day so no climbing for them on this Sunday.


So that’s the way it is, on this Saturday, the 10th day of January, 2015.

Capt. Tom, still at my post… in the ElCap meadow… just for you!



Thank You Tom!

Tom, you deserve to be recognized for being a tribune for our climbing community!
May you be granted long years of health and prosperity!


each is leading all the 5.14's ?

I looks like each is leading all the 5.14 pitches. For the less difficult pitches, it seems that sometimes one will lead and the other will follow.

Is that true? Did both Tommy and Kevin lead each of the 5.14 pitches?

If so, that is pretty cool style. It shows they can each handle all the cruxes on lead. Even if not, the truly team-effort style of this climb is pretty cool.

Thank you!

Since meeting you in the meadow... you're the ONLY source I need... and the only one putting out the info I want on their journey.


Thanks for being the eyes of

Thanks for being the eyes of the monkeys Tom

Granite climbing gets little respect in the ratings. Rating those crux pitches only 14.d is sort of an act of humility. Granite doesn't seem to qualify for 5.15 no matter how few of the world's best could ever do those traversing pitches. It's says 14.d on the topo but you have to be better than that to climb it


Karl Baba

Nother amazing day is in the books!

Stellar pics and story. I can hardly wait for tomorrow to begin.


The Dyno

Thanks for these great reports - I got all teary too when you described KJ sending 15!

A question: since he did the dyno move at night, will there be pictures and video of it for us to see at some point? I love the still shot of TC climbing at night under those movie lights, so I'm hoping we'll see the same for Kevin!


Did KJ repeat the dyno on Saturday (including it in a send of the full pitch)? Matt


From Tom.. no he didn't relead the dyno, as he did it the night before, and there is a no hands rest there so they just called it the end of the pitch.  He went back and led the last half of the pitch, even though he would not have needed to as Tommy led that part a couple of days ago.

dyno and following corner in one push?

Climbing.com com reports that Kevin has done the Dyno and the rest of pitch 16 in one push. http://www.climbing.com/news/jorgeson-finishes-last-5-14-of-dawn-wall/ quote After sending yesterday afternoon, he began attempting the eight-foot sideways dyno of the 16th pitch and quickly did the dyno but fell on the 5.14 lieback corner above it. Today he led the full Dyno Pitch end quote so they are wrong? Wolfi


Yes they are... that pitch was climbed as two pitches.  That is just fine as it conforms to the style in which they are doing the climb.  Trust me bro..Capt. Tom tells it like it is and if it turns out I was mistaken I quickly make the correction on the report.  I watched and shot that pitch ... every move.  Split pitch... take that to the bank.

No hands rest after dyno?

Is the no hands rest after the dyno somewhere in this photo?


Or maybe in this video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzXKhPCneI0 Not a troll... just trying to find a picture of it.


Yo... I think lower on the first and not in the second.. I am not certain however... Tom

nohand in Pitch 16

I think the nohand is when standing on the target - handhold of the dyno

there is an older video - dawn wll project episode 5 ? - where you can see the next climbing meter from the ta

Dyno and no hand stance after

had to correct my previous post
its on episode 9 - at 2:00 the successfull dyno (in 2013) and about 2:40 Kevin stands on the target hold and seems to have a quite relaxed position - (which could be transformed into a no hand probably)

on episdode 7 there is impressive footage of some of the mooves in the epic travesre pitch 15



Thanks very much.

Thank you, Tom.

Thank you, Tom, for the detailed coverage and beautiful photos of the guys on the rock.
When the report for Saturday, January 10, was a bit later than your usual, I began to worry about the guys.
So glad to hear that Kevin had another good day.
It's so nice to have some GOOD NEWS to read online these days!
Please keep it coming.


Thank you Tom for this excellent report. Every day so many of us await impatiently your update - thank you for not disappointing!

I particularly liked today how you provided photos and a description of the atmosphere surrounding the climb, like on the ground.

Btw, I'm surprised that the guys don't have AT&T Wireless as a sponsor, given how important communication is, and that they are the only carrier that works properly on El Cap (as far as I can tell).



Thanks for this report, Tom. I stumbled across this story in the NYTimes last weekend, and have been obsessively returning to your blog ever since, looking for updates. I salute TC's steady progress up the wall, but I found KJ's tenacity and eventual triumph on pitch 15 in face of struggle and initial failure to be equally moving (and as a 'cubicle puke', I found KJ's story to be easier to relate to on a human level). I was so happy for KJ, when I learned on Friday night that he had sent the 15th. Today, you write: "They moved the belay up to the top of 17, as Tommy had already led that pitch and Kevin only had to climb it as a second." Could you elaborate on this sentence? According to your photos, KJ was redpointing the 16th pitch, even though TC had already led this. Was this because KJ was trying a different route? (including the dyno move as opposed to TC's dyno bypass? Have TC and KJ been alternating redpointing with top-belaying along the entire series of pitches, or for the most part have they both been redpointing each pitch with the belayer below? e.g. given that KJ led Pitch 14, did TC follow with his partner belaying from above (or ahead, in this case, given the horizontal orientation of the pitch)? Thanks again for your coverage and for providing context to this story so that cubicle pukes like myself can understand the magnitude of the achievement by TC and KJ. Best wishes


From Tom  Ok here's the deal... Someone has to lead the pitch of course, they try to alternate the leading.   15 however is a traverse it is easier, and sometimes safer, to lead a traverse, due to rope management, than it is to follow it.  The 16 was led by Kevin because... like you suggested... it was a different route on that pitch so Kevin had to lead it too.  Above... all the way to Wino Kevin can second it because Tommy has already lead it.  They are trying to do it in the style that has both of them free climbing every move on the route but not have to lead every pitch.  In the end they will both have climbed every pitch on the climb free.  The team has never done a pitch without it being lead on the climbing rope.  They only use the photographers rope for logistics and to preview the pitches.

Thanks Tom

Fantastic progress for the team. Thanks for the detailed eport Tom and absolutely stunning photos.