ElCap Report 1/8/15  Special Dawn Wall Edition Day 12

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By Tom Evans

Yo.. Will winter ever come back?  I recall, at the start of this grand adventure, that I was freezing by buttocks off every day I was out shooting.  Today it was shirt sleeve weather in the meadow, until darkness came that is… then I scurried for the car like a flushed quail.  This sure beats a driving snow storm, but that’s about it!  Kevin had another day of not climbing, and belayed in support of Tommy’s efforts to climb pitches 19 and 20.

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

Kevin is on the mend and has wisely not climbed for a few days, as he needs his fingers to be as healed as they can, in that environment.  He is going back on the 15th pitch tomorrow, most likely, late in the day.  Tommy sent 19 and 20 this evening and is now atop Wino Tower, high above The Camp. 

Here are some shots from today’s action.

1)  The “locals” didn’t appear impressed by Good Morning America’s truck, which arrived to report on the rest of the climb.





























2)  Around 3pm Tommy jugged up to the top of the 18th which he did, pretty late last night.  We see him here starting the 19th pitch





























3)  Tommy’s technique is so polished that it is hard to see anything difficult about the pitches he climbs!  People seem to be asking…”so where is the hard part?”  Here he is doing his Alex Honnold, “Half Dome” imitation, while Kevin gives me the long distance, "stink eye!"





























All the rest of the shots today are of Tommy climbing on the 19th pitch.  Corey Rich, in yellow and Brett Lowell were shooting on the wall with him.





















































































































































































The climb is far from over as I have stated before, “anything can happen”.  The weatherman seems to be slowly raising the chance for rain in the near future.  Rain would be a disaster, depending on the amount of course.  A certain resignation has settled in the camp.  The time has come to force the issue.  Kevin knows the score better than any of the many armchair Pukes, who have a lot of speculation to spray but not much information to draw conclusions from.  I suppose I too fit in that category.  The Camp is pretty closed mouth about what the “plan” is and just how and when it will be carried out.  I got an inquiry from a major newspaper, asking if the climb would be over tomorrow or Saturday.  Mmmmmm, well I can assure you that neither day will see the end of this climb and the reasonable estimate is early to middle next week.  Tommy told the supply crew that they didn’t need to send up any more supplies, with the exception of course, of a few beers.  Cobras I assume!

Tomorrow will be a very important day for this team and I will be here with a growing number of media, climbers and Tourons.  So stay tuned.

So that’s the way it is for this Thursday the 8th day of January, 2015.

Capt. Tom, as we used to say at VMI..”time to rack out”.







the sexy corner...

Amazing pictures of that face climb!!! i'd love to hear a pitch by pitch run down of why the line goes where it goes (obviously the line was painstakingly picked for very good reasons). For instance, does anyone know why it doesn't follow that sexy corner to the right??? does the corner blank out? is it easier on the face?

If these guys haven't really

If these guys haven't really climbed to this altitude, then man didn't really go to the moon. The Saturn V only got them out of the atmosphere, where they rode in circles, and then the astronauts changed into another vehicle to ride to the moon orbit, and then changed vehicles to land on it. Then they converted the lander into another vehicle to leave the moon.

Nope, I'm sorry. These guys have free-climbed everywhere to the point that they've gotten to on El Capitan. And they're so good they can go back and forth.

To Mr. Evans-thank you SO MUCH for taking on this coverage for those who can appreciate it, as well as those who just want to criticize it. You know, those people who get tired just climbing to the top row on their dangerous keyboards. It's been awhile since this Touron has contributed to your tripod anchor. The. El Cap Shuttle has been too much of an obstacle lately since we always end up with grandtottlers in tow when we get to the valley the last few years during climbing season. I hope to fix that this year.

You 'rock'....thanks again.

Totally Amazed

Tom- I am so glad I found your website which led me to Corey Rich's website. I've spent an entire day just on his website. I have never followed climbing, but I am totally hooked now, and I am super interested in the photographers who are up there with the two climbers (it looks like there is someone else besides Corey). Their photos are amazing and so are yours, I look forward to seeing more.

Good Vibes to these climbers

Thank you for sharing updates and pictures of this incredible challenge that these men have undertaken. They have already summited, in my opinion, a far higher spot. That being to inspire others and show what the human spirit, teamwork and trust in each other can accomplish. Thanks and Bravo!

Tom's work!

Yo Tom,

Your humility with regard to the climb, the "plan", your own work, etc. is commendable. The photos are pretty great too! Good of you to field the press inquiries as best one can--at least you bring it the cred. from the ground! (It's about time you were promoted from Capt. to Major though, ain't it?) Here's to the guys on the wall--may they finish in good style! ~Mark

Tom, your interview with the

Tom, your interview with the Fresno Bee's Carmen George is now up online. Thanks for your insight and all of the coverage you are providing us

YOSEMITE: Historic, daring climb on Yosemite’s El Capitan draws a crowd:

Thank you

Great pics, thank you for the updates. The route looks awesome.

Best WIshes!

Best wishes to everyone on the wall, on the ground and around the world exuding support for what is already an amazing accomplishment. But here's to the climbers... I hope it finishes up the way we know you want it to!... seven years of dreaming in the making!!! That they're still up there going for it is amazing. Get it boys!!!!!

free climb

If they are using safety lines to catch them when they fall, and then continue on, or get tired and drop, get their grip and then continue on, they are not climbing. Once they use this "safety line" to catch them when they fall then they are done. Start over at the bottom. They are not continually climbing. This "free climb" is a joke. If someone swimming the English channel gets in a boat for a few minutes to rest, eat or whatever, they are not swimming the channel. This is just a worthless stunt that no body can accomplish. If they did not have these safety lines then the first time they fell they would be injured or dead and the climb would be over. Continually starting over every hundred feet until the reach the top is not news worthy and is definitely not a first.


Whoever you are... you have no understanding of what climbing is about... thus what you are saying is pointless drivel.  From Tom Evans


The poster above is a troll who knows nothing about climbing. Zero.

NYT Post

This was a comment posted on the New York Times. I'm guessing it's reposted here to troll. Many clueless people posted incredibly naïve and ignorant statements for the New York Times. It was in response to the following article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/sports/on-el-capitans-dawn-wall-two-cl....

This climb is definitely ground breaking in a number of ways. I'm really pulling for these guys but realistically it's not looking so good for Kevin. Rain is a real possibility for Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. Hopefully that will give him some more healing time to send pitch 15.

Bill Sherman

You Muppet

You are a clueless fool. That is all.

Climb your own climb

Free Point:

As long as you are clear and honest about your climbing style--free solo, on sight, redpoint, etc--then putting up a new and difficult route is a major achievement. However feel free to practice you own ethics on any route when ready.


I think you're a bit confused about the term "free climb". They are aiming to climb every inch of rock utilizing only the cracks and edges that are formed naturally on the face. This is the first time this has ever been done on this specific wall, but not the entirety of El Capitan. The difference and excitement here is in the tremendous difficulty of the physical climbing required to scale the Dawn Wall in particular. If they fall, they don't take a break and try the move again. They try the pitch (from the last belay spot) all over again. Each single pitch is more strenuous than all but an elite group of climbers can bear. To link 32 of these, be it in a day, 10 days, or even a month, is an incredible feat. Perhaps it doesn't interest you, but many others care and are cheering these two athletes on until they reach the summit.

You don't know what "free climbing" means

All free climbers use safety ropes, which catch their falls and allow them to restart from the closest anchor. Every route that is "free climbed" has this assumption. If you PULL YOURSELF UP with a rope or other device, then you are no longer free climbing. The one bone I would pick here is that these guys are doing A LOT of waiting, resting, restarting, retreating. So they are stretching the intuitive meaning of "free climb", but they are following the rules.


You are right... the reason they are doing the climb in this way is that, at this time in the history of climbing, a climb of this difficulty cannot be done in any other way.  In the future, when climbers are better trained and perhaps shoe technology is better too, climbers will be able to climb this route in "better style" but that will be a long, long, time.  From Tom

yay tom

Thanks for the great info Tom. I've always loved your El Cap reports, and I'm stoked you are shooting now. -Johnny G p.s.

What is the dihedral to the right of pitch 19? Are they avoiding that for any particular reason?

yeah Jon that is the rivet ladder harding put in on the FA.. the face is much more possible to climb as the crack in the dihedral is a seam not a crack.  Tom

Hey free climb

The climbers aren't suicidal. They can accomplish this feat, I hope, as safely as possible and it will be an amazing thing. They have been ascending each foot by only their hands and feet which is the definition of free climbing. The ropes are only for safety.