Showing posts with label Dawn Wall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn Wall. Show all posts

Dawn Wall Update: Ondra Reaches the Crux of the Climb

Czech climbing phenom Adam Ondra is making short work of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite at the moment. On Tuesday of this week he knocked off three more difficult pitches and positioned himself just below the most challenging part of the climb. His focus now will be to push through these crux pitches over the next few days, and before moving on to complete the second ascent of what many consider the toughest rock climb in the world.

Earlier in the week I posted an update on Ondra's progress saying that he and climbing partner Pavel Blazek had completed their full scouting expedition up the Dawn Wall last week, and had now begun what they called the "final push" of the climb. That is a ground-up ascent of this massive wall that sits along El Capitan's southeast face. On Monday, they launched those efforts, quickly blasting through the first nine pitches. Now, they've made further progress with the most difficult pitches ahead of them.

On Tuesday, Adam and Pavel stayed on their own schedule by completing pitches 10 through 13. That put them right below what is considered the crux of the entire climb, pitches 14, 15, and 16. Once he manages to complete those sections, the remaining 16 pitches are relatively straight forward and easier, although as with all big walls, there will still be some challenges to overcome.

As most of you already know, the Dawn Wall was first climbed back in 2015, when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made their historic ascent. Ondra is trying to repeat that feat, and on his first visit to Yosemite no less. How's he doing so far? According to Rock and Ice, he reached pitch 13 on day two of his climb, something that took Tommy and Kevin six days to accomplish.

It is difficult to overstate just how impressive Ondra's Dawn Wall climb has been so far. While Caldwell and Jorgeson took seven years to scout the route and put all the pieces together, the Czech climber has only been in Yosemite Valley for a month. He obviously benefits greatly from having the two American climbers set out the route ahead of him, but being able to essentially onsite the toughest climb in the world is nothing short of remarkable.

The next three pitches could take some time to complete. They have very few hand holds, with just some tiny cracks to hold onto on the way up. This section of the climb is so difficult that Ondra decided to rest yesterday in preparation for the push. To put things in perspective, it took Jorgeson six days to complete pitch 15 alone. It could be awhile before Ondra and Blazek make more progress too.

Stay tuned for more updates as the climb continues to unfold.

Dawn Wall Update: Adam Ondra Ready To Repeat Historic Ascent

After spending the past couple of weeks scouting out what many consider to be the toughest climb in the world, Czech climbing phenom Adam Ondra, along with climbing partner Pavel Blazek have launched their final push on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. If they are successful, they'll be just the second team to complete this epic route up El Capitan, mirroring the path that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson took back in 2015.

We've been watching Ondra's progress closely here at The Adventure Blog, and when we last checked in he was working out the details of the 14th, 15th, and 16th pitches of the route, which are considered the toughest of the 32 pitches that make up entire climb. Above that point things begin to get bit easier as Caldwell and Jorgeson discovered on their climb last year. After spending most of last week working out the exact approach on those pitches, Ondra now feels like he can complete the ascent.

He and Blazek launched their bid to repeat the Dawn Wall yesterday morning, and according to Rock and Ice they knocked off the first nine pitches in no time at all. They hope to continue making progress today, possibly reaching the cruz of the climb at pitches 14, 15, and 16. Once through that challenging section, they'll be well on their way to making history of their own.

Caldwell and Jorgeson spent seven years plotting their route, but this is actually Ondra's first visit ever to Yosemite Valley. He began examining the Dawn Wall on October 17, and he and Blazek finished up their aid-assisted ascent last week. Ondra then returned to the wall to work out the challenge of those three very difficult pitches before taking some time off. Now, they'r ready to put everything they learned on their scouting missions to make their own ascent.

As impressive as Caldwell and Jorgeson's climb was, if Ondra and Blazek can pull this off it could be even more spectacular. For someone to just show up in Yosemite and knock of this route on his first go give an indication of the level of talent we're seeing at work here. That said, Adam himself will tell you that he has benefited greatly from watching what Tommy and Kevin did in 2015, which paved the way for him to follow.

Stay tuned. We'll keep our eyes peeled to see how this plays out. We may be seeing history made on the Dawn Wall once again.

Dawn Wall Update: Ondra Begins 'Final Push'

It has been a week since we last checked in with Czech climber Adam Ondra, who continues his attempt to complete what is widely held to be the toughest rock climbing route in the world. Over the past few weeks, the talented 23-year old has been trying to repeat an ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite, a feat which has only been accomplished once before. And while his progress has slowed since his initial burst of speed over the first ten pitches or so, it now seems like he has put the pieces together to finish the climb at last.

According to Planet Mountain, Ondra has now scouted the entire climb, all the way to the summit of El Capitan. He and fellow rock climber Pavel Blažek finished an aid climb to the top over the weekend, which has served as a scouting mission of sorts, given him a look at everything that still sits before him. After that, he dropped back down to the valley floor and returned to his portledge where he continues to work on the very difficult 14th pitch, which is considered by most to be the crux of the entire climb. After examining that section of the climb, Ondra now feels that he has the beta he needs to complete the route. It is just a matter of time before he puts it altogether.

You may recall that the only previous ascent of the Dawn Wall was done by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson back in January of 2015. At that time, no one knew if it was even possible to climb the rock face, which Caldwell had scouted for seven years before making the ascent. Ondra benefits from having someone go before him to show the way, which he acknowledged by saying: 
"the complexity and difficulty of the whole climb is just shocking to me. I might have been too optimistic, but I definitely expected it to be easier… Hats off to Tommy and Kevin, who believed that the whole climb was possible before they free climbed. Without having the beta, some of the sections look just impossible. I have the advantage that I know that the climb is possible and that helps me to keep the faith that I might be able to do it as well. I am humbled and impressed by what Tommy and Kevin did!"

The admiration seems to go both ways. Jorgeson has been following Ondra's climb closely and has been in Yosemite to lend some advice from time to time. He has called the Czech climber "Badass" as he watched him work the rock. Remember, this is Adam's first ever visit to the valley, and he is essentially on-sighting the world's hardest climb.

Now, Ondra will turn his attention the difficult Pitch 14, and while there are some difficult sections still ahead, he feels like he is well equipped to deal with them once he works out this problem first. He is definitely feeling optimistic at this point, saying that he now feels like he is entering "the final push."

Stay tuned for more. We may have history in the making on the Dawn Wall once again in the days ahead.

Dawn Wall Update: Progress Slows, But Adam Ondra Continues to Climb

Last week I posted an update from Yosemite, where Czech climber Adam Ondra is working on the toughest challenge imaginable. The 23-year old has been plugging away at the Dawn Wall, the massive rock face that sits on the southeast face of El Capitan. When last we checked in, Ondra was quickly zipping up the tough climb, having knocked off 10 pitches in just a couple of days. But now, progress has slowed as he hits the tougher sections of the climb, forcing him to spend a bit more time figuring out these problems.

As of this past weekend, Ondra has successfully completed the first 13 pitches of the Dawn Wall, and was working on pitch 14, 15, and 16. Those are amongst the three toughest sections of the entire climb, and he reports that it will take colder weather and more skin on his fingertips to finish those three pitches. He says both are on the way, but in the meantime he's been gathering intel on the moves he'll have to make – some of them very tough – to get through this next series of challenges.

Once he's above pitch 16 things get a bit easier and he should have few problems finishing off the Dawn Wall. If he does complete the climb, it'll be only the second time it has been scaled. You probably recall that Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson knocked it off in January of 2015, but they spent years planning their ascent. Ondra is currently making his first visit to Yosemite Valley.

The Czech climber hasn't been only focused on the Dawn Wall. Last week he took some time off to climb The Nose with his father, hoping to complete that iconic route in a single day. While they did manage to finish around midnight, it wasn't completely free climbed. They also got hit by a storm near the summit and were forced to camp out on top until the following morning.

After his foray on The Nose, Ondra has now returned to the Dawn Wall and is working on figuring out that challenge. We'll continue to bring you news of his progress as we hear more.

Dawn Wall Update: Adam Ondra Making Steady Progress on the Toughest Climb in the World

Remember last week, when I shared the news about Czech climber Adam Ondra preparing to make an attempt on the incredibly difficult and demanding Dawn Wall in Yosemite? At the time I had said that it seemed unlikely that he would be able to take on that epic ascent considering it was his first visit to the valley, and he hadn't even touched the rock there yet. On top of that, the Dawn Wall had only been completed once in the past, having famously been free-climbed in January of 2015 by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. But, it turns out I couldn't have been more wrong however, as Ondra is proving what many in the outdoor world already knew – that he just might be the best rock climber in the world today.

Ondra began his climb of the Dawn Wall last Monday – October 17 – and has been making steady progress up the face ever since. On his first day out, he managed to knock off seven quick pitches as he rapidly ascended the route, which falls along the southeast face of El Capitan, quite possibly the most famous rock climbing spot in the entire world.

But, being primarily a sport climber, Ondra found the Dawn Wall to be a different beast than he is use to tackling. By the time he finished those first seven pitches he was exhausted. Despite those challenges however, he did manage to reach the top of pitch 10 before darkness fell Tuesday, making it a very productive first couple of  day for sure.

Over the following few days of last week, Ondra continued to make progress, albeit at a slower pace on more difficult pitches. Heading into the weekend, he had reached pitch 15, which is rated a 5.14d and is considered the crux of the entire climb. There hasn't been update yet as to his progress on that particular challenge, but if he didn't get past it over the past couple of days, it will certainly be his primary focus as he starts his second week on the Dawn Wall.

If the 23-year old Czech climber can get over the next three pitches – and there is no indication that he won't – it is relatively easy sailing to the top from there. That means we could see a second ascent of what many consider the toughest rock climbing challenge in the world by the end of the week. Stay tuned for more updates. It's going to be fun to follow Adam's progress.

Adam Ondra to Challenge the Dawn Wall in Yosemite

In January of 2015 the world was transfixed by one of the most difficult and audacious rock climbing expeditions ever. That's when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Joregeson spent nearly three weeks climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park, widely considered the toughest big wall in the world. At the time, millions of people followed their ascent, including a large portion of the population who normally doesn't care about what happens in the rock climbing world. It was a pivotal moment for the sport, and an inspiring challenge to say the least. Now, another climbing star is hoping to repeat that epic feat, even as he climbs in Yosemite for the very first time.

Czech climber Adam Ondra has already made a name for himself as one of the best sport climbers in the world. But, he recently admitted in an interview with Black Diamond that he has never been to Yosemite Valley to go climbing before – something that he is about to change. Ondra arrived in the U.S. last week and is currently en route to the national park, where the has already announced plans to take on two of its most iconic routes – The Nose and the Salathé Wall. Both are considered to be extremely challenging, and and are amongst the most well known routes in the entire world.

But, Ondra has also told Black Diamond that he is considering an attempt on the Dawn Wall as well. He admits that he doesn't want to reveal too much about those ambitious plans since he hasn't even seen the route in person yet, but he would like to give the famous climb a go should the opportunity present itself.

For most climbers, attempting a massive climb like the Dawn Wall without first setting eyes on it would seem like a silly proposition. But as National Geographic Adventure points out, Ondra has already climbed similar routes on his first attempt, something that is known in rock climbing circles as "onsighting." Nat Geo further points out that the Dawn Wall carries a Yosemite Decimal System rating of 5.14d, which is incredibly tough for sure. But, there are three sport climbs rated 5.15c in the entire world, and Ondra is the only person to complete all of them. That is the most difficult rating in the entire sport.

Will he be able to complete the Dawn Wall? Only time will tell. Personally, I think he'll need to scout the route a bit and consider his options closely. Climbing the Dawn Wall isn't just about its difficulty rating. It is a long, grueling ascent that takes days to complete. Caldwell and Joregeson spent years in preparation, and both have a great deal of experience in Yosemite. Can Ondra make he climb? Of course he can. But, I think he'll need a bit more seasoning in the Valley before he does so.

If he proves me wrong, it will indeed be one of the greatest feats in the history of climbing. For now, we'll just have to wait to see if that is the case.

Video: Tommy Caldwell Talks Climbing, Adversity, and Overcoming Challenges

Think you know Tommy Caldwell because you followed his ascent of the Dawn Wall earlier this year? If that's all you know about this man, than you don't really know him at all. But his TED Talk gives us more insights into what drives him, both as a climber and as a person. Today, he is known as one of the greatest rock climbers in the world, but to get to this point he had to overcome a great deal of adversity – including being taken hostage in Kyrgyzstan, losing a finger in an accident, and training hard for the toughest climb on Earth. This video discusses all of that and more. It is an inspiring and enlightening 17-minute talk that everyone should watch. I hope you do too.

Video: Trailer for the Reel Rock Tour 10

The Reel Rock Tour is an annual celebration of climbing through some carefully selected films that celebrate mountaineering and rock climbing at its finest. Each fall, those films go on a tour across the U.S. and other parts of the world, to share some of the best in climbing from the year that has passed. This year, highlights include a film that follows Alex Honnold as he travels to Patagonia for his first experiences there, an exclusive look at the historic Dawn Wall ascent, and a tribute to Dean Potter. This video is a trailer for the Reel Rock 10 tour that is just now getting underway. It gives you a glimpse of what to expect, and as usual it looks like it'll be quite a show.

Google Street View Takes Us to the Dawn Wall

In January of this year, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captured the attention of the world with their free climb of the massive and iconic Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. We all watched with baited breath as the two men struggled for days on a rock face that is incredibly smooth, difficult, and terrifying. And when they eventually finished the herculean task that they had set before themselves, we all cheered their efforts mightily.

Most of us will never get the chance to attempt the climb it for ourselves, as the Dawn Wall is definitely not for the faint of heart or those lacking in world class climbing skills. But, thanks to the magic of Google Street View, we can all experience what it was like for Tommy and Kevin.

Using high tech cameras that capture images in 360º at the same time, Street View takes us to pitch 15 on the Dawn Wall, which many argue is the toughest section of the entire climb. Through this technology, you'll gain even more respect for what Caldwell and Jorgeson were able to accomplish just by getting an up close and personal look at their obstacle without ever having to leave the comfort and safety of your own home.

The most striking thing about these Street View images for me are just how few hand and footholds there are for the climbers to use on their way up this pitch. But on top of that, being able to pan the camera around and see how far below the Yosemite Valley actually is has to be incredibly nerve wracking as well. This is a good way to put the climb into perspective for non-rock climbers for sure.

Check it out for yourself by clicking here.

Climbing Team Completes First Ascent of the Mirror Wall in Greenland

A few weeks back I posted a story about a team of climbers that were attempting to become the first to complete an ascent of an impressive rock face in Greenland known as the Mirror Wall. At the time, the squad had just launched their expedition after spending more than year planning its logistics, and weeks just getting to the mountain. But after spending 12 nights on the massive face, the group was able to reach their objective, topping out in the middle of a snow storm.

The team was led by British rock climber Leo Houlding, who was accompanied by Joe Möhle, Matt Pickles, Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington. They managed to ascend the 1200 meter (3937 ft) wall in 25 pitches, 23 of which were free-climbed.

The remote and massive north face of the Mirror Walls has been compared to the iconic Dawn Wall in Yosemite that drew so much media attention earlier this year. But unlike the Dawn Wall, the this climbing challenge is very remote, requiring the team to be flown into their starting point, and later retrieved by helicopter. It is also taller than the Dawn Wall, with a similarly smooth rock face that is guarded by snow and ice seracs.

Despite those difficulties however, the team managed to reach the summit at 4:20 AM local time on July 22. Inclement weather didn't allow them to enjoy their success for long, as they also had to find a safe way to descend and get back to Base Camp in time for their scheduled July 28 pick-up. Fortunately the were all able to get down safely and have now started their journey home.

You can learn more about their adventure, and read the archives of their dispatches, on a website created specifically for the climb that is hosted by Berghaus, the major sponsor of the Mirror Wall expedition. It looks like it was quite an excursion.

Climbing Team Begins Ascent of "Arctic Dawn Wall"

A talented team of climbers has set their sights on an incredibly difficult and remote wall in Greenland which has been dubbed the "Arctic Dawn Wall." The team – which includes climbers Leo Houlding, Matt Pickles, and Joe Möhle, along with filmmakers Matt Pycroft and Waldo Etherington –  departed for a seldom visited region of Renlan where they will attempt a climb of a massive granite peak known as the Mirror Wall.

At 1200 meters (3937 feet) in height, the rock face of the Mirror Wall is even taller than the famous Dawn Wall in Yosemite. It is said to be incredibly smooth and difficult, with an approach that is guarded by snow and ice seracs. The team has scouted a route to the summit, but will have to inspect it to ensure that it is safe and that it will provide the access that they expect.

Just getting to the Mirror Wall is an adventure. Located in a remote region that is only accessible by helicopter this time of year. Before they could begin the expedition, the team had to first ship all of its gear and supplies to Iceland in June, and than have it airlifted to what would become their base camp by light aircraft. The men followed on earlier in the week, and have started working on establishing their BC before starting the ascent of the wall.

The expedition is sponsored by Berghaus, and regular updates will be posted to a special section of the company's website that can be found here. Unfortunately for those of us who live in the U.S., that site is redirecting to the local version of the Beghaus website, which does not have the updates just yet. I'm told they are trying to work out this issue, so hopefully we can follow the progress directly soon. In the meantime, updates are also being posted to Facebook as well.

According to recent reports, Leo and team have experienced some bad weather to start their adventure. That weather is disrupting communications to a degree, and preventing them from launching their climb. Hopefully conditions will improve soon, and they can start their ascent.

Video: Archival Footage From the 1970 Ascent of the Dawn Wall

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's ascent of the Dawn Wall is by far the biggest climbing story in years, captivating audiences across the globe and garnering attention from the mainstream media. But the first ascent of that massive rock face took place back in 1970, when Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell climbed it for the first time. The video below features some amazing archival footage from that expedition, which was incredibly difficult in its own right.

How did the two climbs differ? Tommy and Kevin free climbed the Wall, which means they went up using just their own physical skills and considerable climbing talents. The ropes and other protection were in place to prevent them from falling, but didn't aid their ascent in any way. This is a much more difficult way to climb, and many thought it was simply impossible to go up the Dawn Wall in that fashion.

For a look back on the climbing scene from 45 years ago, check out this amazing clip. And big thanks to the Adventure Journal for sharing it with us.

Drop-Dead Gorgeous Photos From the Dawn Wall


Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's Dawn Wall project may be over, but we'll be continuing to hear about it for some time to come. Case in point, Outside Online has posted some amazing photos from the climb that have to be seen to be believed. While Tommy and Kevin struggle for two and a half weeks with the climb, they were shadowed by some of the best climbing photographers in the business, and the results were spectacular. Check out the entire photo gallery, with 14 stunning images, by clicking here.

And should you, for some reason, think that this expedition won't leave a lasting impact on the climbing world, check out this article from Nat Geo Adventure. It gives us five reasons why the Dawn Wall Ascent has pushed climbing forward. Written by climber Andrew Bisharat, the article helps to put Tommy and Kevin's accomplishment further into perspective.

Video: Climbers Weigh in on the Dawn Wall Climb

Now that the Dawn Wall climb is officially complete, EpicTV has spoken to a few other climbers to get their take on Tommy Caldwell and his relentless efforts to scale the toughest big wall on the planet. The video below provides some insight and perspective on that accomplishment, with top climbers sharing their thoughts.

Mission Accomplished on the Dawn Wall!

The biggest news in the world of outdoor adventure today is without a doubt the successful completion of the Dawn Wall climb by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. The duo reached the summit of El Capitan at 3:25 PM local time yesterday after spending 19 days on what many have called the most difficult climbing route in the world.

The Dawn Wall – so named because it is the first granite face to catch the morning sun – is a massive chunk of rock that stands 3000 feet (900 meters) in height. It has been climbed previously of course, but all other ascents were aid climbs which use ropes, pitons, and ascenders to move up. Caldwell and Jorgeson are the first to do it using only their own physical abilities. Their ropes and protection were only place to prevent them from falling.

For the two men, this is the end of a quest that started more than eight years ago. Scouting the Dawn Wall and trying every pitch took many days and previous attempts fell short of the goal. This year, Tommy and Kevin were determined to get to the top, and although it wasn't easy, they were able to accomplish something that many thought was impossible.

After finishing the climb yesterday Jorgeson said “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.”

When they finished yesterday a crowd of well wishers were on hand to greet them. The Dawn Wall climb has captivated the world over the past few weeks, with even non-climbers getting pulled into the drama. The final pitches of the ascent were even streamed live on television and the Internet, with millions watching as Tommy and Kevin made history.

Neither man is ready to discuss what projects are next on their schedule, nor should they. They have just complete an amazingly difficult expedition, and it is time to rest, reflect, and recovery. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more about their efforts in the days ahead, but for now these two men should simply experience the moment.

Congratulations to Tommy and Kevin on an amazing job, and for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams.

Video: Tommy Caldwell Talks Dawn Wall with EpicTV

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's climb of the Dawn Wall is one of the biggest stories in the world right now – in or out of climbing. The two men are incredibly close to wrapping up what many have called the toughest climb in the world, and by this time tomorrow they may have found success at last. Prior to starting this expedition, Tommy sat down with the Climbing Daily crew from EpicTV and talked to them about the challenge of the Dawn Wall, which he has been exploring for more than eight years. That interview can be found in the video below, which also includes some amazing shots from Yosemite as well.

Update From The Dawn Wall: Final Push to the Top Begins

The end is in sight for Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Joregson. The two men have been free climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park for more than two weeks, and now with the most difficult pitches behind them, they are nearing the top. In fact, barring any unforeseen issues, they are expected to finish tonight, completing one of the toughest climbs in history, on a route that is considered the most challenging on the planet.

The two men started the climb back on December 27th, and have been methodically working their way up the 3000 foot (900 meter) rock face on El Capitan ever since. The Dawn Wall – so named because it catches the first light of the sun on El Cap each morning – has never been free climbed before, which means Caldwell and Jorgeson are making the ascent using only their physical abilities and considerable climbing skills. The ropes and protection that are in place are only there to prevent them from falling, but are not helping them move up in any way.

The most difficult pitches are number 15 and 16, which Caldwell was able to overcome more than a week and a half ago. But his partner struggled for seven days on pitch 15, falling more than 11 times. For awhile it looked like Jorgeson might not be able to get past that section, but this past weekend he completed the pitch at last, and scurried up 16 with very little difficulty. This allowed him to rejoin Caldwell, and the pair are now finishing off the final sections, none of which are as remotely difficult as anything they have already passed.

The men have been climbing at night, when the rock allows their hands and feet to grip the surface better. Tonight is expected to be their final evening on the wall. Most estimates indicate that they should complete the climb sometime late Wednesday or early Thursday morning. That means we're about to see climbing history be made. This epic expedition to climb the hardest big wall on the planet is about to wrap up, and even the non-climbing world has been sucked into the experience.

Stay tuned for more updates. I expect to have good news to report tomorrow morning.

Video: Day 14 on the Dawn Wall - Major Success!

As climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson continue their efforts to climb the incredibly difficult Dawn Wall in Yosemite, we all watch with baited breath in anticipation of them finally completing the ascent. This video comes from a few days back, when Kevin was finally able to push his way past the incredible difficult 15th pitch, which had stymied him for a week. The clip not only gives us insights on to what he was thinking, it also gives us a very close look at the wall itself. This video will give you even more appreciation for what these two men are doing.

Update From The Dawn Wall: Climbers Above Hardest Pitches, Success Still Not Assured

The efforts of rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite continue to garner lots of attention within the climbing community, as well as beyond. The two men launched their bid to climb what many consider the toughest route in the world back on December 27, and more than two weeks later, they're still making their way up El Capitan's most daunting face. Over the weekend, the duo made headway, and although they are now past the most difficult pitches, they still have some challenges ahead.

For those that don't know, the Dawn Wall is so named because it faces east and is the first section of El Cap to receive light in the morning. The 3000-foot (900 meter) granite face was first climbed by Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell (no relation to Tommy) back in 1970. But that ascent was made with the use of ropes and protection to get to the top. Even with aid, the duo still struggled to compete the route, even refusing a rescue at one point. What Tommy and Kevin are attempting to do is on a completely different level however, as they are free climbing the wall. That means they're only using ropes and protection to arrest their fall, but are making the ascent completely under their own power, using nothing more than than their physical strength and considerable climbing skills.

Most experts indicate that the 15th and 16th pitches are the two toughest on the entire route, which consists of 30 pitches over all. Last week, Caldwell was able to get past both of those challenges, and seemed poised to scamper up the rest of the route, reaching the top as early as this past weekend. Meanwhile, Kevin struggled for seven days on the 15th pitch, falling 11 times over that period. As the skin on his fingers wore thin, it started to look like he might not be able to get past those daunting sections. Over the weekend however, he managed to finish the 15th pitch at last, and his momentum even carried up the 16th with little trouble as well. His partner watched on with interest, offering encouragement, and cheering the success of his friend.

Now, the two men are reunited on the Dawn Wall, and will continue upwards together. They have passed what most consider the most difficult part of the climb, and are now getting ready to push towards the top. They still have some considerable obstacles to overcome, but considering their talent, nothing that remains on the route should be insurmountable. That said, until they finish the last pitch, success it still not assured.

This is the biggest climb in the world, and many observers have been transfixed by the events that are unfolding in Yosemite. Even non-climbers are watching with anticipation to see if Tommy and Kevin can complete the route. In a few days time, we should know more.

Video: Push Day on the Dawn Wall

Do you wonder what it is like for Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, the two men who are currently attempting to climb the Dawn Wall in Yosemite? If so, than take a look at this video. It was shot on Day 8 of their climb (they're currently on Day 14), and it gives you a good look at just how massive and difficult this 3000 foot (900 meter) rock face truly is. The Dawn Wall has been called the most difficult rock climb in the world, and these two men have been planning the project for five years, and have attempted it a couple of times in the past. With a  little luck, they'll wrap it up this weekend, successfully reaching the top of El Capitan at long last.

The Push Day 08 from Rock & Ice on Vimeo.