The Dawn Wall is a 3,000ft rock face on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California. It’s the mecca of rock climbing, and Dawn Wall mania has swept the globe. Talks of ascents have made it into the mainstream press, where the whole world is watching as Kevin Jorgenson and Tommy Caldwell battle it out on what would become the world’s hardest big wall free climb. This event is groundbreaking, and it’s not often that non-climbers take interest in our climbing world but here we are.
The movie for this spectacle was released in 2017 and is titled “The Dawn Wall” but up until then coverage was brought to you by a distortion of information by media companies across the world. It’s like a game of telephone, where a climber explains the significance of this event to a non-climber who then reports it as slightly distorted facts – before you know it we’re left with clickbait articles that greatly undermine the importance.
Here we’ve assembled our favorite quotes we’ve seen recently, all for your viewing pleasure.
- “Free climbing means no help, and no feet on the ground.” – Independent UK. This definitely is nonsensical, especially since free climbing is different when you keep your feet on the ground. It’s just like saying free climbing is “free” and something you don’t have to pay for.
- “Apart from the ropes that they bolt to the rock as they go, and their smartphones, they are alone.” –Independent UK. Obviously climbers bolt their ropes straight into the rock (no they don’t – please don’t do that), and all the film crew members don’t count as better company than your average smartphone.
- “Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell on Wednesday completed what’s considered to be the hardest route up Yosemite’s El Capitan using only their hands and feet.” –Buzzfeed. Just their hands and feet? That’s ama-za-zing!
- Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell on Wednesday became the first free climbers to scale the treacherous Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, completing what’s considered to be the hardest rock climb in the world without the aid of ropes or harnesses.” –Buzzfeed. Hey idiot, El Cap isn’t a rock climb.
- “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. Didn’t you know that The Nose is way grippier than the Dawn Wall? That’s a fact.
- “Two thrill seekers in Yosemite National Park are trying to tackle one of the toughest climbs in the world.” –CBS News. Not only are these just thrill seeking adrenaline junkies, but the screen grab above says they’re just hikers too.
- “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 is less about offending climbers and more about offending writers. This sentence is essentially saying the rock is as smooth as rock and the wall is as steep as a wall. Worst analogy ever.