Tommy Caldwell’s famed Dawn Wall project seems to have been ill-fated for the 2013 season. First, the government shutdown caused a two-week delay for Caldwell and his climbing partners Kevin Jorgeson and Chris Sharma. And now, Caldwell has suffered an injury that could delay the big-wall project for another season.
On November 1, Caldwell wrote on his Facebook page: “Disaster strikes! Haul bag took a 200-foot plunge while clipped to the back of my harness. Hauling hook fail. It was a bit jarring. Looks like a costochondral separation. I am headed home to try and heal as quickly as possible.”
A costochondral separation, which occurs when a rib separates from the sternum, can take upwards of three months to heal with complete rest from strenuous activities. At this time, however, it is unknown whether Caldwell’s injury is mild or severe, but with the already shortened window of climbing on what is likely the world’s hardest big-wall free climb, the Dawn Wall project could be delayed until 2014.
Caldwell has been attempting to free climb the Dawn Wall since 2007. The route follows the aid line of Mescalito with slight variations and holds a staggering six pitches of 5.14 climbing. Despite the government shutdown postponement, Caldwell, Jorgeson and Sharma were reportedly making good progress on the route. Kevin Jorgeson and Caldwell provided updates during their 2013 bid via Facebook–a few of which you can see below.
Update: According to Chris Sharma’s latest Instagram post, it does indeed seem that the 2013 Dawn Wall season has ended.
Sharma posted: “A huge big up and thanks to the Dons of the Dawn Wall @tommycaldwell and @kjorgeson for having me up there with them.” It was such a new and mind blowing experience. It’s hard to comprehend how big and hard that thing is. Tommy I hope you recover and get back up there soon. Was so good getting to hang after so many years!”