And on the 16th day they rested.
A day after completing the most arduous pitches, or segments, of the Dawn Wall route, Santa Rosa native Kevin Jorgeson gathered his strength about halfway up the 3,000-foot granite face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. So did his climbing partner, Colorado’s Tommy Caldwell.
Jorgeson “sent” Pitch 15 on Friday after struggling with the vexing traverse and battling bloody fingertips for a week, then added two more difficult pitches on Saturday before taking Sunday off.
“Momentum is a powerful force,” Jorgeson wrote on his Facebook page Sunday. “When it’s on your side, everything feels a bit easier. When it’s not on your side, it feels like wading through mud. For seven days, my momentum was halted by Pitch 15. It took everything in my power to stay positive and resolved that I would succeed. Now that momentum has returned to my side, I’m staying just as focused and resolved because a lot of hard climbing remains. … Thanks for all the continued support everyone!”
Caldwell had worked ahead of Jorgeson until reaching a solid ledge — a rarity along the Dawn Wall — known as the Wino Tower, about two-thirds up the rock. He will now wait for Jorgeson to climb another three pitches and meet him there, which could happen today.
As a supportive crowd grows in the meadows below, the two elite climbers are sleeping high off the valley floor, suspended alongside El Capitan in tented portaledges. Because the upper reaches of the route are not as intense as the middle sections, Jorgeson and Caldwell expect to reach the summit sometime between Wednesday and Friday if nothing goes wrong.