ElCap Report 1/12/15 Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 17

Brought to you by “Adidas Outdoor”

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Today was catch-up day for Kevin.  A good effort would bring each team member’s high point to Wino Tower.  Since Tommy’s high point was already there, Kevin had to climb pitches 18, 19, 20.  The weather was kind of a problem.  The day was partly cloudy and, when the sun was out, it was really warm, but when clouds obscured the sun, it was quite chilly.  There is much talk around town, concerning summit day… when was the question?  Everyone has a different idea.  The media darling of rock climbing, Alex Honnold, said it will be Wednesday, mid day.  I think it will be a day later, perhaps two.  (EDITED LATER.. Honnold was right and I was wrong!)  In mid morning, the day after the summit day, there is to be a press conference, with the men, in the ElCap meadow.  Well…remember Captain Tom’s saying, “You never have it made, until you have it done.”  Climbing to start at 10am tomorrow morning!

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

 1)  I arrived in the meadow in mid morning and found that the media had arrived in force.  ABC, CBS, NBC, ABC Good Morning America, and countless newspapers have staked their claims in the ElCap meadow and passer-by’s venturing too close, were snagged for interviews.  Here I am being recorded, a couple of days ago, for ABC’s World News Tonight, by camera man Steve and sound man Kem.  Photo by Paul Souza.


























2)  A little past noon, camera man Brett Lowell, climbed away from camp and shortly thereafter, Kevin (on the left), and Tommy did the long climb up the rope to the start of the 18th.






























3)  Here is Kevin starting the 18th pitch.





























4)  Kevin seen here a bit higher climbing onto the flake jutting from the corner.  The corner is not climbed on the free route.






























5)  Kevin fell a bit higher and came back to the belay and got a heavier shirt as the temperature cooled considerably.





























The next several shots are of Kevin climbing the rest of pitch 18, rated 13c.























































































































10)  Kevin almost done with the pitch.  The lower part of Nevada Flake is seen on the left.





























It was getting late by the time Kevin started the 19th, which he wanted to combine with the 20th to get to Wino Tower where Tommy was belaying.

11)  On the 19th Kevin had to traverse over to the right side, below Wino Tower.






























12)  After some difficulties and repeated tries he finally made Wino Tower.  Here you see Bret, Kyle, Tommy, and Kevin, looking down at us.






























13)  We had another beautiful sunset to finish my day of shooting.



























So… when will all of this be over?  Do they pretty much have it made now?  Anyone’s guess and No!  It is a long 900ft to the top and while several pitches are not as difficult as those below, they still have to get them done without injury.  Tommy’s fingers are now tough as nylon, but Kevin’s are still on the mend and you never know what will happen over the next day or so.  Stay tuned and get the “real story” without all the media hype, from the only source you know and can trust.  The rest of the media are just here to feed on the story… I have been here for 20 years shooting climbers on ElCap and will be here long after the media trucks have packed up and driven to the next “big” story!

So that’s the way it is, for this Monday, the 12th day of January, 2015.

Capt. Tom… your man till the end!

Unique in all the solar system...

Thanks, Cap'n, for K E E P I N G it R E A L ~ and for shredding the gnarGNAR! You are CRUSHING it! What a huge wave, eh -- especially after this fall, and you're CRUISING, even when you're not on a cruise, teaching by example, always calling 'em like you see 'em and not being afraid to speak the truth and stick up for others!... And you are, unique in all the cosmos, catching it all, through the a "Bat-Man-Zoom-Lense" on the "SpiderMan-Cam!" Monkey Nation RESPECT, thirty cheers for great shooting! "FIRE AWAY!" puraVIDA! Mash

Our man till the end!

That's right gang, we've got our guy giving us the straight poop. None of the guessing coming out of main stream media. Thanks a ton Tom as we are all lucky to have you there documenting this incredible climb.


A Dream Come To Life

In most cases people have told me that everything in the world today was once just a dream in somebody's head.
In this case it was the dream of one man seeing something that he could do that no one thought could be... And now he is about it see it's fruition.

This is a great time to be alive

What an event

I'll be sad when they finish because this has been so fun to watch.

Of course the climbers appreciate Toms reports the most, but its nice to see climbing in America get some mainstream appreciation for these amazing athletes and accomplishments.

- Steve Fettke

Made our day!!

We decided on a whim to drive to Yosemite to see the climbers for the day. Never dreamed we'd luck out and get expert Tommy to walk us through the climb. Stayed for hours (until dark and the clouds came in). We got the same picture of El Cap standing next to Tommy when he took his final picture of the day. More than worth the trip.
Thanks, Tommy!!!
Rob and Joan

3rd Grade Appreciates the Posts

Hello- 3rd grade teacher in Chicago thanks you for the pics and posts! My class has been following this adventure for the past week and a half. When word spread through recess that I had another Dawn Wall update the kids came in chanting Dawn Wall. We have loved discussing this adventure for real life lessons on character development and goal setting. We are all hoping for a summit during our school day. Your blog has really helped bring this to life for my kids. Thank you for keeping us posted till the end.


From Tom:  Great to hear of the classes interest in the Report on the Dawn Wall.  I was a teacher for 30 years myself and it is a great profession!  Glad the kids can use the unusual lesson to learn about Character, Determination, Integrity, Tenacity!!  Rock on kids!

That's awesome, very lucky

That's awesome, very lucky students. I am an Outdoor Education teacher and it is so important that we show our students what is possible. Get them motivated to get outside.

Killing it

Man, these monkeys are crushing! Thanks for the updates Tom, I don't even bother wading through any of the hyped media nonsense put forth by the big networks. Keep telling it how it is. Best thing is that you give to the whole community and not just the mega crushers. Still have some shots you sent me from Lost in Translation back in 2009, good way to remember that trip, and impossible to get without your service.




I see that Kevin was top-ropped on pitch 18. I thought each of them intended to lead each pitch. Can someone clarify, please.

I have the same question. In

I have the same question.
In fact I would be grateful if somebody, or Tom himself (thanks btw for the terrific reporting), could summarize their approach to leading/top-roping the route.
I have seen the expression "team free" (or something like that), which I understood means that they aim at free-climbing each pitch as a team, not necessarily individually. Is that correct (both the meaning and that it is their approach)?

Re: Question

Atleast 1 of them has to lead a pitch and the other can second or top rope it to still be considered a team free-climb.

This has been done on other routes with general acceptance. Other teams can attempt to better this by either each leading, or doing it in one push, both finishing each pitch before continuing, or doing it faster.

But since this route has never been free climbed at all, they can get away with a bit of bouncing around.


From Tom.  The objective of this style of climbing is for each climber to free climb the route.  They like to alternate leading but that doesn't always happen.  Just so one or the other lead it and both free climb it ... every move.  That is a team ascent.  Kevin could catch up with Tommy because Tommy already lead those pitches... so since the pitch had been lead by a team member then the other member need only to free it and not lead it also.  Thanks for the question.

Thanks Tom! It is pretty

Thanks Tom!

It is pretty funny hearing and reading the media try to describe what is taking place.

I have really enjoyed reading your posts and seeing the photos.

Thanks for keeping it real


I was one of 4 engineers visiting Yosemite last week from Tennessee and we literally stumbled upon this event. Seeing your camera, we assumed you might have some information about the details of the climb. We had no idea we were going straight to the source! Us being absolute climbing novices, you were gratious enough to explain everything, answer all of our many questions and even allow us to view the climb in progress through your camera screen.

We were so inspired by our trip, mine being the first to Yosemite. What Kevin and Tommy are doing is remarkable and we have been tracking their progress daily and wishing them all the best as they make their way to the top. Thanks again for covering this story, keeping us in the know and allowing those of us who have no idea about climbing to get a peek at the those who are the best in the sport. We love your site and thanks again!



Technical minds Welcome!!

Tom as ambassador, for climbing!,
That is a great way to see the apex of an activity that is available to every one on some level.
Climbing is based in control of,(in this case domination) of the skills needed to rise above any challenges, found on the climb.
As a rule the engineering in climbing is simple, Gravity Works, is my favorite saying. A ton of meanings, . . .gOftheD!
Gravity of the Dangle!
When I got to take a group of engineers out climbing I came armed with Puns the worse the better with puns. Funny until some pun gets hurt.

Technical minds Welcome!!

Tom as ambassador, for climbing, That is a great way to see the apex of an activity.
Climbing is based in control of , domination of the skills needed to rise above any challenges,found on the climb.
As a rule the engineering is simple , gravity Works is my favorite saying. A ton of meanings, . . .
When I got to take a group of engineers out climbing I came armed with Puns the worse the better with puns. Funny until some pun gets hurt.


Hey Tom!
It's nice to read historic reports like this months, and reports on the occasional speed climb, but the regular reports are much loved too. Thanks! mcreel

You're da man! They're the

You're da man! They're the Monkeys! Thanks Buddy

Thanks Captain

Thanks again Tom. I look forward to these reads. Keeping us inspired!

Thank you

For these great informative reports! May God bless you and your family Tom!

Thanks, Tom.

These reports make my day!
We still look at the slides you sent me of us on Iron Hawk 15 years ago.
Brad B.