Tommy Caldwell
Yosemite Climber
Call 424.288.2898

Biography Print Bio

After a seven-year quest of finding a way to free climb the steepest, blankest face of the monolithic El Capitan, Tommy Caldwell, and partner Kevin Jorgeson, stood atop The Dawn Wall with the world watching. Even President Barack Obama was moved by their nineteen-day climb stating, “You remind us that anything is possible.”

Tommy’s father, a bodybuilding mountain guide, set out to show him the wonder of their backyard, the Colorado Rockies. By age twelve Tommy knew the pungent smell of a building electrical storm and the deep-down contentment felt after a twenty-hour day spent engaged in the grandeur of the mountains.

Tommy rose to the top of the competition circuit quickly and started establishing the hardest roped climbs in the United States as a teenager. His childhood in the mountains beckoned him back to bigger climbing objective. On an expedition to southwest Kyrgyzstan in 2000 Tommy and three other climbers were taken hostage. For six days they survived on no food and little water and eventually escaped when Tommy pushed their remaining captor off of a cliff and they ran 10 miles to a military outpost. “That experience completely changed my view of the world. I was given a glimpse into the power of the human will. I knew that we are capable of so much more than most of us can imagine.”

Tommy returned from Kyrgyzstan with a need to explore his perceived limits and found El Capitan to be the perfect canvas. Just one year after his hostage epic Tommy had a home remodeling accident and cut off his index finger with a table saw. This only increased his resolve and Tommy soon became the world’s most proficient big wall free climber.

Free climbing the most routes on El Capitan, including many first ascents, led Tommy to the improbable Dawn Wall. It was obvious this climb couldn’t be accomplished alone. Tommy knew the route needed the strength of a partnership. Kevin Jorgeson joined the efforts and they started to tackle the project move by move. “For years we mostly failed, but occasionally we would make breakthroughs. As a team we became stronger than I ever could have been on my own.”

In 2014, Tommy was named one of National Geographic’s 2014 “Adventurers of the Year.”

Tommy is married to wife, Rebecca Caldwell, and they have a young son, Fitz. They reside in Estes Park, Colorado.

Speech Topics

  • Discover Your Dawn Wall
    The feat was years in the making. Known as one of the most difficult free climbs in the world, the Dawn Wall has defeated many climbers. Professional rock climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell set out to conquer the wall, refusing to leave until they reached the towering 3,000-foot summit. This incredible story inspires all who followed the 19-day ascent to seek out and climb their own challenges; to find their own Dawn Wall.
VIDEO
MEDIA GALLERY
Photo: Caldwell on the Dawn Wall
Photo: Caldwell and Jorgeson Climb the Dawn Wall
Photo: Caldwell and Jorgeson Reach the Top
TEDTalk: What Are You Up Against?
Article: On El Capitan and Beyond
Article: Duo First to Free-Climb Yosemite 'Wall'
Article: Obsession with the Impossible
Article: Meet the Men Who Climbed the Dawn Wall
Article: Adventurers of the Year 2016
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