Climbing No. 289 (October 2010): Kevin Jorgeson on the Dawn Wall project. Photo by Corey Rich / Aurora Photos
Bummer! Shortly after beginning this fall's efforts on the Dawn Wall, the multi-year project of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson to create El Capitan's hardest free climb, Jorgeson badly injured his ankle and began hobbling around on crutches. Jorgeson smashed his ankle late last week during his first attempt at the huge horizontal dyno on the 15th pitch (5.14+); a visit to the doctor revealed "severe ligament damage."
Emailing from El Cap, Caldwell said of Jorgeson's accident, "He had so much psych going that he hucked too hard and hit the other wall. I am hoping it will heal quickly and he can join the project again soon." Meanwhile, Caldwell's wife, Becca, has joined him on the Dawn Wall as he continues to dial the moves for a free-climbing attempt.
Caldwell has been working on the Dawn Wall project since 2007, and Jorgeson joined him in 2009. The route, which roughly follows the Mescalito aid climb, is expected to have as many as seven 5.14 pitches, including several 5.14+ leads. Last fall, they made a redpoint attempt and free-climbed through the 11th pitch before an incoming snowstorm forced them to bail.
Here's hoping Kevin will be back on the big stone soon!