El Cap Update: Caldwell Injured on Dawn Wall and Findlay Frees Freerider

posted by dpm on 11/03/2013

The Dawn Wall team hit a hurdle last Friday when a haul bag, clipped to Tommy Caldwell’s harness, cut loose and fell 200 ft. Tommy wrote on Facebook, “Disaster strikes! Haul bag took a 200 plunge while clipped to the back of my harness. Hauling hook fail. It was a bit jarring. Looks like a costochondral separation. I am headed home to try and heal as quickly as possible.” In layman’s terms, Tommy suffered a separated rib.

It’s been a rocky season for the Dawn Wall crew that started with the government shutdown postponing their start date. Due to the closure, Tommy headed up the West Coast to climb at Smith Rock, Jonathan Siegrist headed east to the New River Gorge, West Virginia, while the newest team member, Chris Sharma, scouted a new project at Mt. Clark, Nevada. When the gates lifted on the Valley, Tommy, Sharma, and Kevin Jorgeson headed up the wall to continue where they left off, plugging away at attempts to free the multiple 5.14 pitches that guard the middle section of the route. This is Tommy’s seventh season working on the route. When completed it will be the most difficult big-wall free climb in the world.

In better news, UK climber Hazel Findlay had a brilliant week in which she free-climbed Freerider (5.13a) as well as the Nose in a day. Freerider was Hazel’s third El Cap free route after the PreMuir and Golden Gate. She’s got a great blog write-up about her ascents which you can read here.

James Lucas following Hazel Findlay up the Enduro Corner of Freerider. Photo: Hazel's blog