posted by dpm on 01/06/2015
Dawn Wall mania has swept the globe and crept beyond the confines of climbing media into the hands of the mainstream press. The whole world is now watching as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson battle with what could become the world’s hardest big wall free climb. It takes a truly groundbreaking feat for non-climbers to take interest, and it’s the job of the mainstream media, non-climbers themselves, to explain it to them.
The distortion of information seems to play out like a game of telephone—a climber explains the significance of the ascent to a non-climber reporter who slightly distorts the facts in their article, which is read by other writers that slightly distort those facts until we’re left with a clickbait article titled, “Two Thrill Seekers Tackle Hardest Mountain Ever!” That title is made up and not nearly as funny as some of these very real quotes about the Dawn Wall written by the mainstream media.
1. Free climbing means no help, and no feet on the ground. —Independent UK
Understanding the definition of free climbing seems to be beyond the capabilities of non-climbers. This particular definition is completely nonsensical. It would be just as accurate to say that free climbing is climbing you don’t have to pay for.
Strapped for cash, Fred Beckey looks to do some "free climbing." Photo source
2. Apart from the ropes that they bolt to the rock as they go, and their smartphones, they are alone. —Independent UK
Bonus points for squeezing two inaccuracies into one sentence. Bolting ropes to the rock is a recipe for disaster, and their smart phones offer less company than the half dozen members of the film crew documenting every moment except potty time.
3. Two Men Are Attempting The Hardest Rock Climb In The World Using Only Their Hands And Feet —Buzzfeed
That’s it, just their hands and feet. Amazing!
4. Jorgeson and Caldwell are trying to become the first free climbers to scale El Capitan, known as the most difficult rock climb in the world. —Buzzfeed
El Cap isn’t a rock climb you idiot. And sorry Lynn Hill, your 1993 free ascent of the Nose doesn’t count.
What's the rope for Lynn? I thought this was a free climb? Photo source
5. In 2012, Alex Honnold, another American, scaled The Nose, the most established and much grippier way up El Cap, in two and a half hours. —Independent UK
What’s the difference between the Dawn Wall and the Nose? The Nose is grippier. That’s a fact.
6. Two thrill seekers in Yosemite National Park are trying to tackle one of the toughest climbs in the world. —CBS News
These guys are adrenaline junkies! It’s sheer madness up on that dangerous Yosemite wall. Wait, I thought they were hikers? It’s so confusing… Photo source
7. They were scaling the Dawn Wall — as smooth as alabaster, as steep as the bedroom wall, more than half a mile tall — without the benefit of ropes, other than to catch their falls. —New York Times
This quote doesn’t offend me as a climber; it offends me as a writer. This contender for the worst analogy ever is the equivalent of saying, “The rock is as smooth as rock and the wall is as steep as a wall.”
This alabaster wall gives non-climbers an idea of just how smooth and steep the Dawn Wall is. Photo source
For even more entertainment click through to the source articles and read the comments.