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​Tommy Caldwell Free Climbs Mount Hooker in a Day Car to Car

“The wall was much bigger than we expected,” Adam Stack says.

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Caldwell in a hurry on Mount Hooker during the probable first sub-24-hour car-to-car free ascent. The approach is 15 miles. Photos by Adam Stack.Wind Rivers, Wyoming, August 24, 2:22 a.m.: When
Tommy Caldwell and Adam Stack stepped out of their car wearing running shoes and climbing packs, headed for Mount Hooker, they had only a faint idea
of the seriousness of their endeavor on Wyoming’s biggest wall.

Other than a hand-drawn topo by Josh Wharton, who had climbed the 1,800-foot Jaded Lady (5.12a) and plotted trail GPS points on Stack’s phone,
the two had little knowledge of their intended line, freed in 1990 by Paul Piana, Todd Skinner and Tim Toula.

Three hours into speed hiking in the dark, Stack and Caldwell got lost and had to backtrack, costing them time. Back on route, they picked up the pace
even more and reached the alpine big wall, 15 miles in the rugged backcountry, soon after sunrise. Their objective starts at 10,000 feet and tops out
at 12,509.

It was below freezing (low for the day was 29) when Caldwell switched into his climbing shoes.

Stack describes the granite face as involving “flakey sections and ledges full of loose blocks we were forced to climb around.” The climbing was safe to
protect—whenever Caldwell slowed down enough to place gear in the many cracks.

Caldwell says, “I’ve been doing these speed missions lately, and by using the Mini Traxion, we were able to do the route in five pitches.”

“Tommy has so much experience in that type of environment that he can do these simul-climbing pitches up to 400 feet, with hard climbing, placing very
little protection,” Stack says. “I’m not sure how ‘safe’ this is, but I trust Tommy.”

The climb went smoothly until Caldwell, nearing the route’s crux at three-quarters’ height, stepped off-route. He patiently held his position on the rock,
runout and unable to bring in slack, while Stack took “15 to 30 minutes” to catch up and put Caldwell on a regular belay. Once safely on belay, and
after finding his way back on route, Caldwell continued through the crux.

When Stack reached the crux moves, he fell, and for the sake of speed gave up free climbing the route in its entirety, focusing the effort instead on Caldwell.
“Though the outing was my idea, my overall goal was to support Tommy,” Stack says.

Above the crux Caldwell climbed faster again, yet had to move cautiously so as not to drop loose rocks onto Stack.

“That was the point where we realized the wall was much bigger than we expected,” Stack says. “It just kept going for a long time.”

The two reached the top of the wall at 3:30 p.m. and stood surrounded by jagged peaks. “That was awesome!” Stack recalls Caldwell saying. After seven hours
of climbing, they walked off the peak.

At 5:30 p.m., the team reached the trail and speed hiked the 15 miles back toward their car. Several hours later, two or three miles from the car, they
started running, but missed a turn and ended up on a parallel trail half a mile from the car. Looking at their GPS coordinates, and realizing that
backtracking would lose time, they cut through the woods.

“I got super turned around in the woods when our GPS stopped working,” Stack says, laughing. “Tommy has a great sense of direction and was able to get
us to our car”—at just after 10:00 p.m., for a sub-20-hour total (19 hours, 39 minutes). “Tommy was an absolute beast,” Stack later wrote on
Instagram, “onsighting every pitch … and fearlessly questing up the face hoping we were on the right route!”

Stack and Caldwell’s ascent is likely the first time Mount Hooker has been climbed car to car free in a day.

To get in sync before their objective, the two had climbed the three biggest faces in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park in a day: The Diamond, Chiefs
Head and Spearhead, in 17 hours car to car.

“I nicknamed the trip the 2016 Adam Stack Weight Loss Challenge,” Caldwell says with a laugh. “He lost 25 pounds preparing for it.”

Sources: http://www.toddskinner.com/Hooker/Pages/Hooker28.htm,

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/jaded-lady/109371450