Video: Yosemite Climber Tommy Caldwell on the History of the Dawn Wall

As we eagerly watch and wait to see what happens on the upper reaches of El Capitan as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson work through their attempt to make the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall, here’s a fantastic bonus scene from Sender Films’ Valley Uprising, the multi-award-winning feature film on the history of rock climbing and counterculture in Yosemite (available for download January 15, preorder it now). In the video, Tommy talks about Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell’s legendary 28-day first ascent of the route in 1970, which included storms, denied rescue attempts, and a media frenzy not unlike what we’re seeing today. Tommy also explains why the Dawn Wall has held his attention for nearly seven years.

Tommy and Kevin are now 12 days into their climb. Tommy has passed pitch 18, while Kevin is working on pitch 15 and hoping to quickly grow more skin on his overworked fingertips. Good luck to Tommy, Kevin, and the entire team. Read about the climb and see photos from El Cap by Corey Rich.

Tommy is one of our 2015 Adventurers of the Year. Be sure to vote every day for the People’s Choice through January 31.

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