Audioburst Search

255: Tommy Caldwell | The Push for the Path Upwards

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

So I ran up behind them kind of the last possible moment and watched him fall about twenty feet hit this legend then bounce off into blackness. Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger as always I'm here with producer Jason to Filipo Tommy. Caldwell is a superstar in the rock climbing community since age three three Tommy's been travelling the world challenging himself on impossible rock faces and climbs many other people wouldn't even attempt most recently. He climbed the Dawn Wall of El Capitan happy ten at Yosemite National Park. This is literally an almost entirely flat rock surface watching this watching these guys do this on Netflix. They've got the dumb on wall. This is like watching Spiderman scale skyscraper except Spiderman has more handholds than those guys did. It's just unbelievable before Al CAPP. Tommy lived in extreme childhood and early in his career who's even kidnapped by militants in Kirghistan sliced off his finger as it free climbing wasn't hard enough already today's episode it has some great stories and a really in depth look at someone who is obsessed with the craft and has pursued it to mastery. I really enjoyed this conversation and I know you will as well. If you want to know how I managed to get all these amazing folks on the show and maintain relationships with hundreds of people for professional and personal reasons checkout six minute networking which is free Jordan harbinger dot com slash course the more people that know this stuff. I think the better off we all are by the way most of the guests on the show they actually subscribe to the course and the newsletter newsletter so come join us and you'll be in great company in the meantime. Here's Tommy Caldwell. I know you started climbing at age three and your dad was into it and I I'm. I'm wondering your dad was an adventurous guys a big bodybuilder schoolteacher guys for the movie but you being born early premature. Do you think he did some of what he did. Maybe a little bit yes certainly I mean I think the fact that he had the scrawny little kid probably for Macho Bodybuilder pained him I'm greatly and so he had to fish to combat that now I only say that ah like half tongue-in-cheek he was a schoolteacher as well as a bodybuilder and and so he thought a lot about how to take the kind of smaller self-conscious kids and make them more confident in rock climbing was his avenue for that and I was just perfect test subject yeah yeah I had no confidence. I was really really naturally shy really like mentally delayed when I was young and climbing is what fixed it for me in a lot of ways. We had a good laugh watching the movie the other day because my mom was a special ed teacher and he said something like well. I was mentally delayed probably up until now still he'll never leaves you yeah I. I'm wondering though like okay you're maybe not the best student at that age or at three. You're definitely not a student net all but in early days you're maybe not the best student so having outlet like climbing probably is one of the few things at that age that maybe you're really kick he can but yeah I mean it worked for me because I started so young that I became good at it without having any metric to measure how good I was so then when I had friends that got into it later I was the I was already the bad and the fact that my dad was taking me into the mountains and exposing me to physically really hard hard things from a really young age meant that by the time I kind of got a bit older is actually really tough. I was small and I wasn't all that intellectual but I could endure d think think that being small stature is an advantage in climbing because I am never gonNa Climb Mountain hopefully. I don't think maybe I'll walk up one but being being small in stature seems like an advantage because you're pulling weight up with one or two arms if you're lucky maybe some feet maybe some legs. Having a small slight build is seems like a good advantage yet for certain types of climbing and specifically climbing that has really small holds is good to be small like if you think about it like a spider's away better climber than an elephant generally yeah yeah so the smaller the better in a lot of ways except you can't carry as much stuff. Oh Yeah it really small climbing partner that can carry all your stuff right so I feel like that's where it's GonNa go in the future that really small people are going to have the whole team that supports them and does everything else. It's now that you're a high public profile now. You can have like a climbing intern right. He just follows you around with your your stuff. I probably could have look into eh totally yeah. The childhood looked pretty extreme. You're camping solo which is kind of scary. Even now you're doing that. What what? How old were you when you're out in the woods by yourself herself a min- a few miles from my house in Rocky Mountain National Park Yeah encamped solo starting at age nine or something so yeah I was pretty young? I'm trying to think uh I just had a kid six weeks ago. I'm trying to think like okay. What age will I let him walk into a park by himself with a tent and stay overnight yeah? It's funny my dad always he's still to this day he talks about he's kind of a budget and you think society. Is You know these helicopter parents and he's like the antithesis of that he really wants you'd have the self reliance and independence and so that's our Israeli encouraged that kind of activity which gave me a huge sense of responsibility I mean climbing is all about risk management. I learned that really young. Was your mom not like Hey maybe don't send him out into the middle of the woods alone to make a fire like he can't even microwave macaroni Ernie and cheese. We should leave him in the garage the other there's definitely moments of that so the one example that blows my mind the most is my dad likes to talk about the story of taking me when when I was three winter camping so we skied like a few miles into the mountains douglas no cave apparently I was still in diapers during this raging storm and my mom does say that on that occasion during this raging storm that whole night she was just up you know pacing around like worried about it but for the most part she just has full trust. I mean what do you do if you have. I have a husband and child who are really into doing risky things. You learn to trust them. I don't know what do you do when you have a husband. That's into doing risky things. My kids too young to be into risky things but it's only a matter of time yeah. I know that Your Dad taught you a lot of lessons like it's not what happens in your life but how you react to it for example bolt when you did eight hundred twenty seven miles for your one hundred mile challenge in school and they literally didn't even believe you that that's heartbreaking right and you've learned learned from an early age not only can you do things other people can't but that also maybe nobody will ever even believe that you're doing them. Yeah I mean the fact that I was really shy was an advantage in that way I I learned about personal satisfaction because I really didn't want to deal with other people. I just didn't like being around other people yeah. Has that changed. I mean you seem merely social right now. Are you can fake it. It has changed largely because of my wife. I'm married to one of the most social people in the world these days and so yeah people are lovely and take me you know thirty years to figure that out. That's all right late bloomer no problem. I'm with you on that. Yeah it does seem like your dad built grit through like a combination of what what most people would consider traumatizing experience and maybe a little encouragement along the way. That's a common question I get like how do you get better at these kind of scary things you you just expose yourself to minorly traumatizing experiences on a slightly create increased level day after day and at some point you get get better at doing things that most people would consider majorly traumatizing the only see minorly or is there a line where like you're like okay. I'm never doing something like this because it seems and we'll get into just some of the things that you've done especially with climbing but are there things with climbing or maybe outside of climbing real like now. I'm never going to do that. That's too ridiculous while both yeah I feel like it. I risked myself enough climbing that I kind of don't do things that are risky outside of climbing like I'm not going to buy a motorcycle. That's kind of the main one that I talk about but also a bunch of climbers about ten years ago in Yosemite got into wing Su base jumping oh yeah and I was spending all my time in Yosemite and that's it's illegal there but it's also one of the best places to do it in the world's one of the safest places to do it in the world actually and so it was very tempting to get into it at that time because you see all your friends friends flying around like birds and it just looks amazing and plus. It's a pretty nice way to get down from the mountain afterwards you don't recognise as much but I will say that the community of real core you seventy climbers was maybe like twenty of them and maybe ten of them really got into serious wing suit base jumping and only three or still alive. Oh that's really bad yeah. That's horrible yeah seventy percent yeah. I'm not trying to make light of it but when seventy percent and the people into something are expiring doing that thing that's there's like a heroin user control group that is probably doing better than that yeah yeah and then out of three that are still alive. You know one is missing a leg and yeah I mean it's just it's bad that's that's like adrenaline addiction to the point of sickness ace instead of actually like wow look at what we're pushing the limits of its crazy yeah and I think of a lot of risky climbing. I wonder you know it's admired in a Lotta ways especially Big Himalayan Glen Alpine climbing like in my culture that's really admired people that can go up and do these really hard mountains where you know you're up on the side of the mound for like a week and you only have a small all suit packet each day and like being able to endure that is really admired but I've started to look at it in ways is almost like a drug addiction action like why is that so admired why most of these it is really really dangerous. I think Big Himalayan Alpine climbs are kind of like wing suit base jumping. There's just so many unknown variables and so that is another thing that I basically at this point in my life say that I won't do my buddy. Dave Ross key who's been on the show. I don't know if you know him. At all. All David Russky he summits things like K two and Everest but no oxygen right and that's kind of crazy to me as well yeah so I'm talking about like big. Steve Alpine faces like the typical climbing up the fixed ropes on Mount Everest or something. I I see that as very much less dangerous yeah. He's seems there's more measured. He's like not in a hurry to do things that might get him killed. He just wants it to be just hard enough or he's drawing as a as a person yeah which makes sense. Would it be like you don't need to you don't need to base jump from the the red bull dude who's like jumping from space. Basically yeah yeah like you don't need to do that. No I'm good. I'm just GONNA go ahead and skydive. I'm fine but I mean one really cool thing about climbing those do take things that seem really dangerous or deadly and you figure out ways ways to make them safe and oftentimes there is ways to make him safe and that's kind of an empowering thing if you can do things that seem improbable or impossible and make them doable. That's like in climbing that Kinda opens up the world in so many ways in such wonder how that applies other places in in life yeah I can imagine that solving a problem which is essentially what it really complex climb seems needs to be like the dawn wall where you're figuring it out like puzzle that confidence must translate to other areas of your life. Yeah I mean so I was really shy and didn't like to be social. I got good at climbing because I was so deeply into it and it did bring a lot of confidence into my life and because of that I've been able to sort of like take the opportunities that climbs was like the dumb wall presented and run with them like write a book and beyond this podcast right now like this is never the kind of thing that I would have wanted to do or had the confidence to do of of climbing and never been there to help me get there as a teenager. You started climbing in competition on these artificial walls. I think we've all seen those right like at a climbing gym or on a cruise ship now. They're popular these little like colored fake stones or screwed into the wall and you won this adult competition at age thirteen. was that one of the first times you realize like Oh. I'm better at this than I thought. Did you have any measuring stick before them. There wasn't really measuring because kids didn't climb back wasn't it wasn't a family activity. Most people considered you did a sport for either kind of Adrenalin junkies or it was just so counter cultural back in that day so the fact that my parents did it with me was real odd but it also meant that I gained skill at the age that nobody else did and then it turns out that that small eighteen year old build actually lends itself self really well to climbing so all those things came together at this competition that I entered it not thinking that I even had a chance and then ended up winning it and and that was the yeah that was like the awakening. That was the moment where I was like wow I'm climber now. This is what I WANNA do with my life. There's probably no way back then though to make a living as a professional climber right I mean making a living climber is is kind of a funny thing because living the life of a homeless person in the culture of climbing that I was is in was actually very admired that meant that you were willing to forgo any creature comforts in life to dedicate yourself one hundred percent climbing and so you lived in caves saves and you ate the food off of the people left on the tables at the semi cafeteria and that's that's yeah that's that's kind of what you did and and so I spent a few years of my life out of high school I'd dumpster diving and living unlike fifty dollars a month and the thing about that is it was actually pretty lovely time mm-hmm. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was life was simple. All I had to do is think about climbing in the years since then I have made what is more typically thought of as a proper living off climbing but I don't think of the money part too much. Come is like men life is nice when you don't have that much money. 'cause you know as long as you have enough to give you the basic amenities and bill to buy the things that are actually like mandatory for being healthy you can live cheaply and it's pretty nice. Yeah I would imagine there is a line where you're like. I don't WANNA eat hot dog bites off of has flies on it or like a squirrel got to it before. I did chasing him these days for for sure like I think anybody WHO's lifestyle improves. It's hard to go backwards especially with a family yeah. The wife might not be too thrilled if you've got little fits. It's eating off. That's why they throw it away. Although that probably would be a pretty successful technique I think that's something your dad they come up with you can eat if you can chase down the person before they get to the garage. Yeah types of climbing okay. The sport climbing. Is that the one with the wall but the fake rock screwed into it there's different types well. We're not really familiar with the sport. Climbing is essentially a wall that's usually between fifty and one hundred and in fifty feet in length you have P- replaced anchors of somebody's actually drilled a hole in the rock and installed bolts that you clip into so so essentially what that does is it makes it so that you get all of the physical difficulty of climbing with none of the danger gas so that might be an actual rock climbing wall tape. It doesn't matter if it's wood or stone res- sportclimbing could be outside or it can be on artificial gotcha okay and then there's the way that you climb you use use regular rocks that are naturally occurring in nature but there's no assist from the ropes right. You're not pulling up on anything right so I'm up free climber which free climbing actually terrible term because everybody when they hear that word free they think no rope. That's what I thought all you die but what it means is that you are climbing the surface in front of you and you have the ropes that are only there in case you fall free soloing is when you climb in without any ropes and if you fall you die that's like walking around a mountain and hoping you don't get struck by lightning but carrying a giant metal flagpole with you the whole time I feel like way more way more dangerous. Isn't that much more dangerous right yeah yeah free soloing is like you have to do everything perfectly or if you die yeah. I don't need that kind of Adrenaline that surfing covered covered in animal parts and blood adrenaline is another misconceived thing like if adrenaline is happening when you're climbing something is going wrong so even free soloist don't do it but for the adrenaline for the mastery they they're trying to actually control their body in a way that they can do extremely risky things without having an Adrenalin adrenaline involved. That's a good point because if you're starting to shake and vibrate and hyperventilate and panic. It's probably a great way. You wouldn't have a career very long as somebody who claims that right. If if you have that reaction you're not going to be a free solo yeah. That definitely makes sense. I think gently falling or maybe not gently but falling not dying. That's probably the best way to learn how how to climb better time. Which is why sport? Climbing is really nice because there's days when I go snorkeling where I fall hundred times in one day. The rope just catches Yoon Yeah. Everything's everything's good yeah. Thank God for that. This dirt bag culture of climbing seems like something that would get old pretty fast and I assume moving to Colorado and trying to get better at this you start building a lifestyle and you start working on different skills and I know you've done things like going to France and spending time in places where one hundred hundred plus people are dying just to work certain types of skills you wrote about that and I'm wondering what is that you're like climbing these caves and work on these skills that really you you can only work on in these grottoes. I guess I'm trying to put a visual to this. Oh so you're talking about like going to France GonNa Chamonix Yeah. That sounds okay so Shawnee is sort of you know Europe's you. We know centerstage for Big Alpine style climbing yeah. Those mountains like one hundred people a year die but those are the people that are pursuing very very risky. Form of those are like the wing Su base jumpers climber you know or they're just the tourists didn't know any better because the thing about Shamanee's you can take a lift from from the valley floor at three thousand feet. You know you can be sitting in the Cafe Drinking Cappuccino and twenty minutes later you can be at fourteen thousand feet in the middle of the most else gnarly Alpine terrain in the Alps and you can just basically step off the platform and fault your death in Crevasse so that's why so many people die makes makes the mountains to accessible. You don't have to get them yeah. That's you gotta earn your way up there that will you know you're not supposed to be there after a few steps right right so the mountains in the US don't don't have lift access like that so you do have to earn your way and so a lot less people die. That's very different than the style of climbing that I primarily went to France like I climbed those big mountains but we were experiencing big mountain terrain so we weren't doing anything that was particularly rescue when I was fourteen years old with my dad but really we went to France because we wanted to go sportclimbing because that was the cutting edge of physical innovation people were taking gymnastics skills and applying them to steep rock faces and and that was kind of a new thing and it was exciting to us and that's where it was all going down. A lot of people think climbing is mostly about strength or endurance but that doesn't seem to be the a case like watching the dawn wall. There's a lot of maybe not chess. Maybe that's kind of a bad analogy but there's all kinds of fear management and risk management and you're managing being your endurance. You're trying to think like okay. There's this thing I either had to jump across and you try that for a couple days didn't work and then he found a route underneath it. It's like a whole battle battle-plan is this there's so much more strategy involved. I think than most people think of yeah I think that's one of the things that really attracted me to the specific style that I love big wall free climbing. I mean because there's so many elements you have to figure out a live on the vertical wall and perform at a really high level than logistically. That's pretty complicated to like fuel yourself you know stay out of the sun and deal with storms and then the actual climbing rehearsal much the way you know like a gymnastics routine would in a very high level. It'd be like an Olympic level gymnastics routine. You have to execute it perfectly enabled to be successful yeah so you do that on pitch after Pitch Chapter Pitch of climbing and it's just a tremendous puzzle that I really love gathering those pieces and figuring out how to put them together. You're listening into the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Tommy Caldwell. We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by Ziprecruiter. Hiring can be a slow process. I should know I I've tried to do that many times. Sometimes I've succeeded in many times I have failed cafe all tourists. Coo Dylan Mika wits needed to hire a director of coffee for for his organic coffee. Companies see normally director of coffee sounds like somebody who gets coffee but I guess if you have an organic coffee company. It's something else anyways having trouble finding qualified fight applicants so he switched to Ziprecruiter Ziprecruiter doesn't depend on candidates finding you. It finds them for you. That's a huge difference and trust me. That is very handy handy to say the least to Dylan posted his job on Ziprecruiter said he was impressed by how quickly he had great candidates. Apply is the technology identifies people with the right experience and then invites them to apply to your job so you get qualified candidates fast not just a huge stack of resumes you then get to sift through and Ziprecruiter's candidate rating feature. Lets you filter Sir applicants so you can focus on the ones with the most relevant experience and that is how Dylan found his new director of coffee in just a few days four out of five employers who post on Ziprecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day Jason See why Ziprecruiter is effective for businesses of all sizes. Try Ziprecruiter for free at our web address. Yes ziprecruiter dot com slash Jordan that ZIP RECRUITER DOT COM slash J. O. R. D. A. N. ZIPRECRUITER DOT com slash Jordan ziprecruiter the smartest artist way to hire. This episode is also sponsored by figs now when I got this company is a sponsor I thought but scrubs for medical professionals you know those bad sheet looking things that people wear that make look like they made it at home while figs is this is the awesome version of that doctors nurses dentists Santa's people who work in medicine health care. You're awesome people we love you. We would probably have no teeth and or die really young without you and every one of you has helped us does at some point in our life right so these amazing people they dedicate their lives to carrying in serving others and then we dress them up in frigging used pillowcases that don't fit and figs is an amazing company they make scrubs that are stylish and functional for years. These things are ugly and uncomfortable. Figs creates high quality medical apparel so that medical professionals look their best. They've got stretch pockets. I I had a bunch of these and I thought okay. I'm going to give him away to the medical professionals that I know and then call him back in a couple of weeks for I guess a report the antimicrobial microbial fabric protects from germs and bacteria which of course are everywhere in that environment. They're really soft moisture wick. They've got this four way stretch so that you can wear them. When you're bending over doing whatever you're doing or working on patients or just carrying a bunch of stuff they're not gonna get all stretchy pulley heavy Segi and gross and they've got Yoga Gogo waistbands? They've got a bunch of different styles so I recommend Chinese out if you are in the medical industry or if you live love work with somebody in the medical industry they're they're big on gifting. It and I've got a pair here that I were as pajamas and eventually gifted because they are so good that I felt like they went to waste with. Just be sleeping. That's how good they are Jason and tell them where they can get their figs so whether you're one of the awesome humans that works in healthcare or someone that wants to say thanks to these deserving folks figs is going to make that easy by providing you with fifteen fifteen percent off your first purchase by using our code J H s get ready to love your scrubs head to wear figs. That's W. E. A. R. F. I DOT COM enter our code J. at checkout also figs gives back and you can too every time you shop figs. They give scrubs to healthcare providers in need around on the world through their threads for threads initiative so to date figs donated hundreds of thousands of sets in over thirty five countries. That's a lot of scrubs thanks for listening and supporting the show and to learn more and get linked to the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors visit Jordan harbinger dot com slash deals and don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Tommy Caldwell. That link is in the show notes at Jordan Harvey Dot Com slash podcast if you'd like some tips on how to subscribe describe the show just go to Jordan dot com slash subscribe subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player so you don't miss a single thing from the show and now back to our episode with Tommy Caldwell. What's like your least favorite part of it? I know that's a dumb potentially dumb question because you probably love everything but there's gotta be something where you go you know. I hate pooping in the bag. That's the worst I've really wish there was a way around this. I mean when friends die okay that dark all right well thank sense which is which is common honestly I mean really I would probably probably had forty forty plus close acquaintances and our friends that have died in the years that I've been climbing so that's a big part of it. We're trying not to go that Dr no no. That's fine I I just I was just kinda kidding. That's the worst part I mean. That should have been a really obvious answer to that question sure right but if you work going with yes the death of people you know and love. What's it's the second place you know? It's really annoying about climbing. Is I think a lot of adventure sports you can take a season off like snowboarding for for instance and you still have all those skills and you come back and you can still operate at a relatively high level in climbing. If you WANNA climb well you have to just like constantly be added training three three four five days a week and if you take a week off you lose so much what are you losing strength or like yeah you're losing strength and coordination and just like the the feel of it you have to be relentlessly dedicated to do which in some ways I love that but in other ways I hate it sometimes. I'm like especially these days in life where I have a a lot of other things threatening to get in the way of me training all the it'd be nice to not suck so bad yeah like you're climbing in those moments he great to go to Disneyworld and not have to climb Epcot Center to stay in shape yeah yeah totally so now. When I travel around the cities I looked for climbing gyms? They go every day and have to stay on it or just. Let it go for like six months or year at a time and I'm just like screw it. I'm not going to be good at climbing right now and then I'll have to take another four months to build back up Jeez yeah do when you walk into gyms and now people must be like wow aren't you that guy from that thing that I saw that one time yeah it is somewhat hard to go to climbing gyms and that way I make sure I go like midday between like eleven and three PM 'cause there's not many people in the gym then yes if you WanNa kick Tommy at the Climate Jim between eleven and three wherever he's got an event. Here's the story. You're probably sick of telling but I'm going to go for it anyway. Because it's super interesting the Kirghistan thing this incident is a a topic. That's really familiar to me unfortunately getting abducted doc not by Islamic militants but you know getting kidnapped in general really sucks. I'm with you on that. You're twenty one years old. Why are you in Kirghistan? Most people are like well. That's your problem it when Kurdistan anytime you go to a place that ends in stand you're asking for trouble yeah. I guess that is part of the problem. Maybe yeah I mean I was. I was into climbing in Yosemite and and I wanted to get a little more exotic and remote. I mean like going on expeditions to exotic places are it's the fantasy right so Kirghistan. It seemed like the perfect fit. It was in a place that was remote. The weather was good. There was big unclaimed walls there and we you wanted to explore and then the north face approached my girlfriend with this opportunity to go and they would pay for the trip so and climbers hadn't been abducted really ever that I know of in these Himalayan or Sub Himalayan regions back then so it wasn't like we went there even considering this as as a possibility right yeah you're thinking food poisoning or maybe like you get injured and you have to go home not like yeah the dangers that we would encounter on the mountains we're going to be the only dangerous not the Taliban cloned. Imu Right as long as the the Islamic movement of WHO's Becca Stan so you on the border of lose backstabbing Kirghistan then it's the borders are all really close together there. We're in Kirghistan close to he's back to Stan also close to two GCA Stan. Did you have any idea of this. I mean you must have looked on the Internet and people are like Oh don't go there and you're like ad says the same thing about every country now yeah there was an element of that so I think the year previous some Japanese tourists had gotten involved in a little bit of civil unrest and so there was a there was a slightly elevated warning on the US State Department website. I'm is that she just classified as a counselor for Information Sheet and so we saw that and we're like what does this mean like. How do you read this and so we started looking around like what other countries in the world have this level of warning and we came across across Australia at the time at the same level of warning 'cause the Olympics and so we're young little bit naive? We probably should have looked into it more but we're like well. People are still going to the Olympics yeah well. Mexico has like a super high warning half the time and people are like a ninety seven hour flight- there yeah and to be fair what happened to us was very are unique like yeah. It was Subaru. Unlucky like people still go climbing there all the time even though the dangers are much higher in a Lotta ways than they were the year that we went so what happened. You're hanging out sleeping in a cocoon on the side of what are those things called Portalegre literally exactly like it sounds like you have alleged that's portable and you added to the side of the mountain. That's it's like a lawn chair. Hanging caught that can hang from the side of the mountain. Essentially it's a platform that you erect and you clip in and then yeah so you're strapped into that thing. You're not going to be be dreaming and roll off the side of the mountain right yeah. You're you're tied in generally that saves me from a lot of future nightmares of being on a Puerto Legend rolling off the every night everybody finds that so terrifying but it actually compared to like clinging onto the cliff yes feels real nice to be in a portal which super comfortable I would say so right like you're either splayed out like Spiderman and you're like finally I can sit down. Let's be awesome at the end of the day to do that so okay so you're in. You're on the PORTA Ledge. Do you think you're dreaming when you STU in the beginning of this like how does even begin yeah so we were a thousand feet up this wall called the Yellow Wall camped in these Puerto ledges and at twilight twilight so like six. Am We heard gunfire which seemed odd being as how we're in the middle of this very peaceful seeming valley my first. We didn't know that we're being shot dat but pretty soon they kept shooting bullets ricochet off this like ceiling of rock above us and so that's that's how we're captured. They came to the base while they shot up up at us and we knew that we had to go down right along. Telephoto Camera Lens that we could look down and see these guys with big guns clad in army fatigues I mean I can't even believe they were able to to accurately or maybe they were aiming at you and they missed. I don't know no they had like sniper style rifles. They knew exactly what they were doing. They're able to be very accurate. Tank the good thing I suppose that they were able to do that because they could have missed and hit one of you Geez okay so then what I mean you can't run away. You're on a mountain. You're moving at like. I don't know how many feet per hour or something if you try to climb up you have to go down right. We have to go down. We sent the oldest member of expedite down. I we hoped that they were just going to rob us or something thing but when he got down they just said that we had all come down so yeah we all went down and they took us back to our base camp that was like a mile away where they had slashed open our tents. Anything ain't no tents have zippers on them. Just unbothered allergies yeah they had raided all of our food and we're like okay. Things are pretty serious but then as we're kind of surveying saying the scene a helicopter flew valley and the curbs military was basically coming into the valley at that time to combat the rebels bulls the rebels of the Islamic movement is Becka Stan and we're right there in the mix of it and so yeah we essentially a small war broke out. You're in like a battle scene right now now but you wanna get captured or you'd love to have the Kirghiz military run in on you because then you're free right yeah I mean that was our hopes but the Islamic movement of his Pakistan Costano gotten to us I and taken us hostage and so we were human shields on some level they had also taken a Kirghiz soldier hostage. She was the military military outpost in that valley actually lived in that valley. They'd kill some of his friends now so he had blood on his pants. We didn't know that they had killed his friends at that moment though he started start looking at us and he's like we need to find ways to attack these guys grabbed at temple and he's like when you stab you make all these motions like we need to overcome these guys with big guns by attacking them with temples and you probably thought that was a bad idea and he's like you don't understand they're gonNA kill all of us but he couldn't really communicate that to you. At that time. Yeah I mean he couldn't communicate it so I got the message across so so you knew that he because you could see how scared he was. I guess he was making motions like putting his hand across process neck. which you know obviously means death like somebody's GonNa die but we didn't know if he meant or what Yeah Oh man so then they're taking you around somewhere right? It will like what was their plan. We don't know really what our plan was. We think that they were going to try and take us into his Becca Stan. We probably would have ended ended up in some camp and held for ransom but what ended up happening is when the Kirghiz invaded we had to abandon everything all of our food warm clothing and just basically run for it so I had had one small bag which had six power bars in the rebels brought their guns and that's all we had pretty soon win. That battle broke out. We're we're on like one hillside behind this boulder and the Kirgiz military was on the other side and where with that soldier his name was Toronto and they shot him in the head for about four hours. We had to Kinda me on his body behind this boulder. This battle raged until it got dark and were able to escape over this hillside at the point at which they killed him. You must have been what's going through your mind at that time because I guess they got rid of him because he was a soldier and knew the area and was maybe not as valuable as Americans I mean what was it well. Well I think once the battle broke out they had to turn their guns towards the other Kirby soldiers was right next to you was going to attack share so they just knew that he was too much of a liability. Oh Jeez laying on a dead body of that was just murdered by the people that now have you. What are you thinking at that point? I mean it's just a really intensely. I mean like even today like back on an seems like I watched it through a mirror or something. It doesn't feel quite real but there was this sort of like intense really quick bonding think of the four of us like we were all intensely where of each other and trying to make sure that we were Gonna do everything we could to live through it. You know nobody was like freaking out or breaking down down. We were just all very on point trying to do whatever we could. He must have been cold freezing Hungary. I during that battle you don't notice the coldness because it's very intense but over the next six day period because we're hostages for six days we were in and out of various stages of hypothermia yeah a lot of that time because we're eleven thousand feet in elevation. We're often wets it was like there was an amount of suffering involved both physical and mental that was unlike anything I had experienced before yeah that makes sense I would I would imagine if you weren't a climber used to being already tossed into the snow by Your Dad you know oh in the middle of winter and parked camp alone. You would have been even worse off. Ya know that was a huge part of it. I think ultimately we survived because we were climbers. We're we're used to that environment to a degree that even our captors were not like we were used to be on steep terrain yeah. It seems like after a while I know a couple of the guys left you after a while to go what look for food or something yeah we don't know yet. Two of our four captors just disappeared why night one we don't know what happened to him Jays and then. How did you end up up getting out of that situation? I mean I know you're at this point starving. You'd been going through rivers and stuff like that. And what was your strategy actually to get away so on our our first night Jason Singer the guy who put the expedition together who's actually employees of the north face. We're running from that battle scene got to this raging river and we didn't know if the Kirgiz the military was pursuing us at this time and we couldn't figure out how to get across this river and the rebels are trying to push this big log across the river and they couldn't do it and he like grabbed his logging logging jumped into the river and kind of getting swept away and I was like what is he doing. He's GonNa get Switzerland and he managed to pull this across the river and so then we could all climb across and Dan once we got to the other side the soldiers looked at him and they're like sold out there like the rebels looked at him and they were like you're a soldier and he had done this very very strategically. He's like I wanted them to feel like we were helping them like we're on their side and then we were really tough and that set up a huge dramatic trust that probably ultimately help us escape. So how did you escape. How did you finally get away from these guys so we spent six days all getting very skinny and suffering a lot and the two members Jason John were were thinking that we need to find a way to overcome our captors like fielder guns shoot Kim Bash them over the head with rocks? Throw them off a cliff something like this Betham my girlfriend and I we were the other two climbers. We didn't think that we thought we should just try and outlast them but on the SL six night the head captor of dual went back to our base camp to try and get some food and the plan was for us to kind of be line a straight up this really steep mountainside aside and he was going to circle around with some food and medicine top and so we started climbing up this mountain sided in the middle of the night under moonlight that ended up being real steep and so our captor are one remaining captor who is like this eighteen year old hired mercenary who is super scared was the only one looking after us and it became really obvious that the chance to escape so you know the plan like I said was Jason and John the trailer male members of expedition to kind of guide him from below and then Beth and I would be sort sort of pioneering the route above and then they were gonNA look for a chance to push him off the cliff but they never quite do it. It's just like hard thing to do. I guess yeah and so when we got right right near the top of the cliff are one remaining captor kind of got excited about the prospect of being away from the exposure so he started to scramble ahead and there was rain in in the air and we're already on the verge of Hypothermia House like if we get wet we're probably done for at this point so like I think our only chance to escape this all I did is I turn to my girlfriend and I said I don't think they're going to be able to do this. Do you think I should do it and she just like didn't say anything so that signified to me that she'd come around and she agreed with me so I ran behind them kind of at the last possible moment grabbed him and pulled him off the cliff and watched him fall about twenty feet hit this legend bounce off into blackness at that moment were were. You relieved feel like I'd have some mixture of relief and then also just like like you said it was surreal. I'm just wondering if even sunk in right away. I guess there's no relief. It was like my immediate reaction was like the loudest noise you'd ever it was like intense just like like what if I just Don John I like ran up to the top of the mountain where I was no longer in the sponsor and I just like curled up in a ball grabber myself and I was like what did I just do and then the other members caught up with men tried to come for me as best they could but we were it was very urgent because we thought that dual was just around the corner. Oh the guy who left if to get food right Oh so you're thinking what if he just saw that whole thing go down. Get Out of here yeah so we didn't linger you know thirty seconds or something and then we were off down the Valley Oh my God and so it was it was very intense. Did you know where to go after that I mean how do you even use backtrack yeah so on a few days into our expedition Jason and John John had gone on this long hike to try and get to a phone essentially which you know they were going to get to this road that we knew was like thirty miles from our camp and they had never made it to the phone loan but what they do is they came across a small military outposts that was down the valley that was just like a single like one or two guys and so they knew that that existed and so our plan was to get to that imagine being stationed out there. That's like you just know. Nobody likes you back home base. If you're the two guys that have to sleep in that shack the nowhere yeah I mean there's a lot of that in those mountains just have a military presence. Yeah just look for what drug smugglers taliban-like guys yeah. I mean ultimately the IMU's Muse mission was to pave an opium trade trail through those mountains politically a little bit more complicated than that but there's a little bit of that going on yeah they wanted to fund their uprising but hey if they get a bunch of money in the meantime selling drugs no big deal right right yeah they got. They got to fund their their revolution exactly yeah you're religious legis now ray you're Christian. There's no like tactful way to say that I guess like you're a man of faith sounds so ridiculous. I aspire to believe save more than I probably do. In reality think that's literally every person of faith ever rain right Po probably says the same thing when he goes to bed at night right does having faith ever give you pause given that you were like kidnapped stand by people who had blind levels of faith. Do you ever go like Oh. I better check myself on on the thinking yeah I think faith is is a very complicated thing and it's the reasoning behind so much so many terrible things in this world that there's also a lot of great that can come out of it so oh it's super complicated. He's obligated and I do know that in Kirghistan win life seemed in peril and you start to think these deeper thoughts. Faith is where you turn because you need. You Need Comfort I'm I think almost everybody even if you're not religious you start to wonder if you should be religious. I think that I was with a bunch of my friends in a couple of psychos with guns. I'd be like okay Jesus. I've been kind of a Dick haven't paid much attention to you but if you're real show up now this is a good time those thoughts can be helpful yeah yeah I would imagine you're you're sitting there freezing and hungry. There's not are these mountains lie they like grassy or is it. Just you're just on rocks. They're like desert mountains tin. There's grass. They're small shrubs. There's like juniper bushes but really steep lake. It's all these steep like v Shaped Valleys with these raging rivers down now running down them yeah so there's no place you can't go pick a bunch of berries like there's nothing like that yes. We didn't down valley. There was a an apricot grove that that we passed through very quickly after I had pushed share pov off the cliff but we didn't yeah you're like I don't really have time for this right now right yeah. We'll hit McDonald's on the way out of this Hellhole yeah. Do you think what happened in Kirghistan gave you an idea of what you're really made of in a way that maybe made you a better climber. Oh yeah yeah yeah it was kind of a mildly motivated sort of mediocre climber on that trip to Kirghistan. I was actually just like the hired rigor. I wasn't a professional climber. In that point point I was just sort of like the tag along boyfriend but that experience like reset my bar for things like pain and suffering in a way that's very useful in climbing like when I go up into the balance after that trip and things would get scarier painful at always be able to think back to Kurdistan and it'd be like this is nothing compared to what tracing Carson and so that gave me this curiosity be behind like what we can endure as humans and so yeah my curiosity to explore that has fueled so much of what I've done since yeah I can imagine like you're stuck on something the thing and you you've tried it forty times well. At least I'm not getting abducted and sold into slavery Yes when you starve to death yeah when you see something that dark the rest of life looks real sunny afterward word. I feel like I'm really optimistic like mostly very happy person after Kirghistan in a way that maybe I wasn't but it's interesting not everybody has that kind of effect act like some people go the other way they have serious. PTSD drums and they spend their lives in fear after something like that for some reason I went the other way part of that is my nature but probably part of that is like the way I was raised. Definitely I think part of his way you're raised. There's new science now that shows hey resilience if you have. Ptsd it's not that you're not resilient but people who are very resilient do have have I guess lower instances. I'd have to recheck this but a lower instances of the way that they think about traumatic experiences or the way that they process them. It's not like a matter of toughness snus. It's just a matter of how you frame the experience like you're used to going wow that was cold. I'm hurting. I'm sore that was a growth experience and a lot of people go wow now. I'm cold. I'm hurting. I'm sore in this bad thing happened to me and they don't have the language and they don't have like the circuitry to process it and the way that reframe something positive right yeah yeah actually away. The confusing part is I think a lot of people say if I want my kids to be resilient I need to really protect them from trauma as a child whereas my dad had the opposite approach actually expose me too trauma but just like the right dose right. I think that's key it's gotta be the right dose. Yeah not like wake up at night with nightmares go to the psychologist trauma but just like yeah. He was cold for a night. He'll he'll be fine fine right yeah. I didn't like beat me with the stick every night. Yeah make me tougher. You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Tommy Coldwell. We'll be right back after this. This episode is sponsored in part by Biz Council so this is an awesome idea. I love this company in the beginning of Your Business. If you're anything like me you didn't hire a lawyer of course my new business. The first thing I did was hire a lawyer. I am a lawyer so you have to be kind of careful because sometimes you can screw something up even if you do supposedly I know what you're doing. Google is good for a lot of things research finding business connections not for legal advice. It's state states a couple of sentences written differently can and beef all unfortunately it can be a huge difference if you ever run into trouble and businesses when they finally do get money and make a decently size they hire a lawyer on retainer because man I can and tell you when you need a lawyer you wanna be able to call one that you already know not be fricken googling so it's not a matter of if it's a matter of when what Biz Council does does is it's essentially what was started by the people who founded legalzoom so they've come up with a new way to get businesses. Get real legal work done without breaking the bank so for eighty nine bucks a month you get unlimited consultations with an attorney who's dedicated to you and I know what you're thinking well. If it's eighty nine bucks and it's unlimited they're probably huge pain to schedule doing all this other stuff. It's going to be tricky. No I'm telling you you will get a call within twenty four hours. Even a lawyer on retainer often won't be able to call you within twenty four hours and they have a dedicated attorney for you so it's someone in your state. They're going to get to know your business over time. You can pick up the phone you can shoot him an email and you get two free contract act reviews every single month so if you get somebody sending you an agreement and you're not sure if you sign it you send it to his council. They'll check it out. Be Back to you the next day or if you're writing document acumen they can review what you've got and make suggestions that you can make changes in and if you need something complex. They've got flat fee prices so I need an operating agreement cool. It's it's going to cost this much not well. I'm four hundred dollars an hour and ten hours and it might be thirty depends on all these things no. Here's the price. This is what you pay done. This is why I love this business. I wish this existed when I started. I recommend this for sure Jason. Get your dedicated business attorney at BIZ COUNCIL DOT com slash Jordan be is e council dot com slash Jordan. I'll tell you I'm using this and we have a regular business attorney. It's just that this Biz council can do a lot of the light to medium lifting and it's a great value. You just can't beat the price and you can't beat the the results. This episode is also sponsored by ship so jen and I have been together for seven years. We just had a baby. I never thought I'd be able to credibly advertising dating APP but ship. Lets you swipe for your friends so we've been using it. It does help set up her brother. WHO's an awesome guy and he's very picky and it's really funny so I can swipe right for him essentially and so congestion and then it shows who I picked picked it shows who she picked and it shows who he picked and then there's a little chat room where all of our picks go in there with the photos in the profiles and you can discuss them so so we're basically all up in his business and you can have different teams so it's like me and Jen can pick but also some of his other friends can pick and they're in a separate channel or they can join join our channel so it's really really funny these multiple crews and you have multiple groups of people that can swipe for you and discuss each one talk about living vicariously? There's an APP for that now now Jason Tell them how they can find ship finding data's more fun if you do it with friends download ship. Try the dating APP that lets you swipe with friends this S. H. I pee search for ship dating in the APP store and start swiping today. This episode is also sponsored in part by borderlands. Let's make some mayhem shooting your way through a mayhem fueled adventure in borderlands three blasts through new worlds and enemies as one of four new playable vault hunters each with deep skill trees abilities and customization play solo or with your friends to take on insane enemies score loads of loot and save the galaxy from a fanatical threat mayhem is available now on xbox one in ps four order now at borderlands dot com rated M for mature. Thank you for listening and supporting the show your support of our advertisers keep us on the air to to learn more and get links to all the great discounts. You just heard so you can check out those amazing sponsors visit Jordan Harbinger Dot com slash deals in Dover. Get The worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes that Jordan harbinger dot com slash podcast. If you're listening to us in the overcast player please click that little star next to the episode we really appreciate it and now for the conclusion of of our episode with Tommy Caldwell you do have either really bad luck or your subconsciously seeking out experiences. That'll make you tougher because you you end up having one of the accidents that as a climber you just can't have an continue for some reason you decide to do a remodel yourself and your fricken rican cut your finger off man yeah I think that's probably a big flaw within me as I expose myself to more risk than probably okay so I was more careless than I probably should have been without knowing enough about power tools and chopped off my yeah my finger yeah and not just any finger like like one of the most important figures that you've using climate yeah I would say they're all pretty important okay well. Let's see I'm a novice yeah but the nice finger isn't a good one to lose yeah so what what happens then what you cut this thing off. They can't just sell it back on me. I feel tried yeah. They tried my dad showed up at the hospital with like a magazine cover and was like look he's good climber. You have to do everything you can so they did. They went through. I think usually in my circumstance they would have just been like well. You're going to be fine without a finger twitter sewed up the stop and you send you home like a few hours later for me. They tried to reattach it. I spent two weeks in the hospital but it didn't work so yeah. They kind of did everything they can and I had yeah I think I hope that they were gonna be able to reattach it but then at the end of the two weeks they came in and they're like we've done everything we can fingers dead. We're going to have to remove for good and then the doctor told me that he thought I should start thinking about what else i WanNa do in life. That's not comfortable conversation at all I. I sometimes wonder if he's strategically did that because that fueled me did he knows I mean he was a climber. The doctor who did the surgery's at doctors at one that did the surgery and I had one that was kind of like there for emotional support you kind of took me under his wing because he was a climber as well and that was the doctor that told me that I should think about what else I want to do and and I when he said that I was like a bummer he then he left the room and Beth my girlfriend she turned to me and she's like fuck that guy no idea and so I I went after climbing with this sort of passion that I didn't have before and make sense. There's really deliberating actually because everybody thought that I would fail. Nobody thought I'd be a good climber anymore and I didn't really think that'd be a good climber anymore. So when I started climbing in and I realize is that actually still could climb pretty well. I exceeded my own expectations and other so each time I would get better. It was like it was very liberating and I could always do more and better than I thought and it just started this flywheel turning that went got you. Some new momentum created this incredible moments and moved in a year. I I was doing climbs that it hadn't been enabled do without my finger really finger yeah. That's so what do you do like cutting off the tip. I would imagine the tip is full of like little. It's callous calloused all up and stuff like did you kind of have to rebuild your for lack of a better word. I don't I don't use that finger really too short but I did have to use other fingers and there was like some small injury type stuff that happened because my hand had to readjust to the imbalances created did by not having that finger but mostly I just trained the same way I always did but with just a little bit more fire and a little bit more strategy to like I've worked harder on specific finger strength building techniques like I did a lot of more like indoor hanging from hang board during this thing called a campus board during like weightlifting with my fingers and stuff to try to make my finger struck and it turns out specific finger strength scientifically is the best metric between like really good climbers. Only mediocre climbers like like the ones that are really really good. It's all about the fingers. Did you try that grip strength thing that the mind pump guys. We're using the mind pump studio. It's one of my favorite shows. I love these guys but did you did. Is that why that things he's hanging out I showed up and they like put that thing in my hand and they're all squeezing it and they had me screwed. That's pretty good. That's that's all you got. You probably crush them in there like we don't want to admit it yeah. I don't think I mean the funny thing about climbing is it's all strength to weight ratio. It's actually more effective to be light than it is. Just be real strong yeah that that makes sense because you can be pretty strong but if you're two hundred and fifty pounds like you're unless you're really built in an inhuman hulk way. You're not going to be able to do like a hundred pull ups or whatever the equivalent is. You're doing on that mountain right. Do you ever go to the airport and you're pushing the elevator button like Dang that fingers GonNa me switch. Yeah I mean you get used to it now right but in the beginning it must have been like you hear about people who tried to scratch an edge or the the part of their body. That's missing which is and you can't scratch it gather. Ah The weird thing for me is I think when I early on after I lost my finger I think when I was shaving the right side of my face I would feel like there was Bert underneath that fingernail that was no longer there was like it's annoying sensation so the body had to rewire the nerves a little bit and so I had Ed Phantom sensation. I never had a lot of phantom pain like for some people it can be real painful. I never had that though so does it just go away because you can't scratch Atun itch that is in their red so yeah I think your brain kind of figures it out in the end it Kinda rewires itself. I think I still do have those sensations at at times but now associate them with being at the end of the NUB instead of finger. That's no longer there. Are you just have to re map it in your your brain yeah but sometimes if I'm really stressed about something I'll try and press an elevator button or something with that finger. That's no longer there autopilot taking them late for my oh what's Improv here all right nothing finger. When did you start getting obsessed with the don on wall the subject of the movie and willing to it in the show? It's really excellent flick. It's on Netflix. When did you start going? I'm going to do this actually IMPA previously impossible thing so I got really excited about El Capitan specifically shortly after Kirghistan cutting off my finger actually a little bit before then but I really got into it after those and I wanted to find find that limit of what I was capable of all it was an exploration of that and so I went and climbed all the existing routes on that wall and then I started putting up new ones and I spent basically a twelve or fourteen years of my life just like becoming the expert of that wall essentially got totally obsessed by it but I never none of the climbs ever took me like more than a month if they all went down pretty easy and so I had this burning desire to see how far it could actually take it and so since I was so experienced on that wall I knew that the faces aces from afar look completely absurdly blank might actually be possible if you train for them enough so I sort of identified this route which ultimately became Don Wall to take on as a project like all the other routes followed these crack systems and this wall didn't have any crack systems so to me. I was like maybe this is possible possible. Everybody else's like that's stupid. Why would you even think about that like there's no way that can be climbed but since I'd spent so much time on there I was like man I can do something that I think that's what appealed the other climbers is once I started to kind of piece together as a thing? This route actually might exist. It really started to spark the interest of other climbers 'cause sort of blew their expectations since out of the water some of the most famous on the world this thing that everybody knew would never be recliners a guy who says they might be possible yeah it looks easier to climb a fricken fricken skyscraper or a building or brick wall that looks to someone like me flat than it does this section of rock the section of rock when I'm looking at Netflix and I'm looking close up. There's a little crack in there where I'm thinking if I had a business card maybe I could slide it in there and it would be but you're grabbing onto things like that our credit card edge edge thick and you're holding yourself up on their somehow. Yeah I mean that's the appeal like you have this three thousand foot tall face and and the holds are barely there. You wonder if there's enough there. You spend all this time trying to figure out the path and you know the difference between what's climate and what's not climate is maybe like a piece of rock the size of a pinhead or something like that and so it's just this incredible puzzle spend all this time trying to piece together that puzzle and train in yourself to be able to grab onto those small holes and then figure out all the logistics behind enduring the amount of time that it will take the live up there for nineteen days which Chilton took to climb the route and so yeah there's just so many things to get fascinated by the huge element of memory and then there's the whole partnership side of it I mean I don't know it's just a really cool fascinating pursuit see you're up there for weeks at a time. Are People sending things down or did you have to carry all the water you were going to need the whole way. we worked on the climate for seven years and usually what we do is we would go there at the beginning of the season and we would fix a bunch of ropes to the wall we'd go we'd walk to the top actually really and then rappel down and attach these ropes to the wall which is kind of like an elevator allowed us to attach these offenders to the rope and kind of commute around and work on the hardest sections of the climb and so we were going up and down pretty constantly for like a month anytime we'd go up we'd bring more supplies and we we established a camp basically a third of the way up the wall which became our base camp for the whole siege and we'd pre stashed it with a lot of equipment and we would actually had enough for Whole Nineteen Day ascent but since it became a documentary film project we had to sort of like share those supplies with the film team because they have to live up there with you so we had to sort of like it was actually an advantage in the end like they had to hire essentially a porter to recharge the camera batteries and kind of commute up and down these ropes and we use that Puerto reelection. Can You bring some extra you the green eminem's for us. You Know Brown eminem that must've been and who gets that job there like what we need is for you to go up and down this insanely difficult difficult mountain but you have to carry a bunch of stuff including bags full of poop yeah total now. There's actually plenty of takers. There's a lot of people who want I want the chance to live and make a little money. Once the ropes are there. It's doesn't take a whole lot of skill to go up and down share. The difficulty lies within trying to free climb. You know if you're just descending fixed ropes. It's any relatively experienced climber can figure out how to do that so you're spending years finding the way to go up this initially. How do you remember how to get up later on that to you? Looks like a walk through my neighborhood does to me right being on that wall because to me. It looks like a flat rock to you. It looks like it's it's a very clear map yet. I mean we spend an insane amount of time. Memorizing in my partner Kevin Johnson was actually had an almost photographic memory four war climbing movements from year to year like we spent our nights talking about the specifics of the moves in a way that would've made anybody who wasn't trying to climb the route with doesn't totally batty I mean we would spend hours and hours discussing the nuances of body position and we had to memorize literally tens of thousands of hundreds of thousands of small details and then trying to execute them perfectly so that's one of the reasons it took so long I can imagine I'm surprised that he it didn't even take longer than that to go through memorize and then do the whole thing and in some places years you guys were stuck for days on the same pitch the same stretch of rock. Is that basically what pitches like a same yes in Iraq. Yes Oh ropes can really climb with a three thousand foot rope so what you have to do is break the a big wall into pitches which are rope lengths and you know usually the reps are two hundred feet long so you try and find stances or small ledges is but on that while there's not really legend so we try and find his place where the there's a big enough hole that we can let go with our hands and we call that a no Hanson and so you map it out and you break it from one no Hansen thanks to the next into pitches. There's thirty two pitches and the goal is to climb each one of those thirty two pitches in order from bottom to top without returning into the ground but if you fall in one of those pitches you can return back to the beginning of the pit so it's kind of like a brief overview of the rules of the game yeah that makes sense you're right. It's not like you're you. Don't do the whole thing thing in one strategy you are able to reset you. Just can't use the rope to pull yourself up. That's basically right the main real I guess the that and Dodi a day of this most people that I know who are obsessed singularly with things like this are often running from something in their life like where you kind of like I'm GonNa focus on this mountain because every stuff behind me as kind of messy yeah yeah there I mean there wasn't element of that for sure like the girl that I mentioned in Kirghistan. Beth through who I later married my relationship with her broke up around the time or at the time that I decided to really take on the John Wall is a project and so you know like so many any great endeavors in life there fueled by failed relationships. Yeah I feel you I get so there's definitely element of that. So that's how it started. Actually I needed like a a distraction from the pain of that but after a few years I just got so fascinated in the project and I met my now current wife who is just is such an amazing human and so it really turned towards the positive towards the exploring and sort of like that incredible journey that we're on pretty quickly this the whole thing though turned into like the moon landing you know people were watching this all over the place but you guys were stuck on the side of the mountain so I remember Barack Obama and like Ellen and celebrities talking about this kind of stuff on twitter I think at the time it blew up in the media viral in the media strangely like in a way that we absolutely didn't plan there's no way we could have anticipated it but ridden the climb just became very dramatic like we're using instagram on our third year and I was pretty against it. I was like man this needs to be about us kind of her own journey for thinking about telling the story to other people just like takes soul out of it but then people enjoyed it so much that a few years later I was like okay I kind of feel selfish for wanting to keep this whole experience myself so we kept doing that and so there was was that there was a way for the story to get out and so on that seventh year where we ultimately became successful a reporter from the New York Times named John Branch picked up the story pitched it to the the newspaper think it was a super slow news cycle or something they picked it for the cover and people were really interested in so they'd I they'd just kind of gave an overview of what was going on on but then they did a profile on me one another day prevalent Kevin Another Day they ran a huge photo spread another day and then Kevin started to fail and so then there's this whole conversation in about what's more important than climbing the Brotherhood in the teamwork or personal success because I had the opportunity to go to the top and leave or should I wait for him and so it just became this very dramatic matic long sporting s kind of like I think I've realized that you know the Olympics is a is an event right at last couple of weeks or something and so everybody gets involved in so that that gives a lot of time for people to learn about it more people to get interested in it and momentum bill to yeah the fact that the climb took us so fricking long allowed that momentum to build world yeah and so by the time we got the top like every news source you know in the world. There's a worldwide news reporters and you send me. There's like ten news trucks six. The president was tweeting about us. How aware were you of this happening while you're up there because you're not really you're not checking your email every day? Oh you are yeah we have solar panel with us and you get pretty good for Jeet Servants Ironically the best cell service and you semi values from side of l. cap so we saw a blowing up in the media and if I were like whoa this is crazy and then pretty quickly we were like this is bad distractions yeah and so seven and now we're like okay. We're we will do like our normal instagram update once a day but we're not going to allow I think right at the beginning winning we did a interview with the New York Times and another one with NPR and then we just cut it off for like nothing else and then I dropped my phone off the wall. Did you drop it or did you dropped it. Okay Yeah. I feel like I'd be like sorry I dropped it Yup and so I didn't really have to deal with reading any of us which was Super Nice about point so we were aware we see going on but we didn't really have to deal with it per se until we got to the top. Do you think differently now about death. Defying climbs like this now that you're a father because I feel like I might take fewer dangerous trips now that I have my own son who's in the room with us right now being really good right so a lot of the climbing that I I do is pretty dangerous and I think very heavily about that stuff as a father. The Dawn Wall was like the perfect place for me because it actually wasn't all that dangerous wall is super. I share the roofs are strong. You can fall one hundred feet and you don't hit anything. I'm so easily feels exciting. It feels like it should be dangerous but if you think about it logically it's not all that dangerous so the effect is that that fulfils me that fulfils that adventurous need that is very strong within me in a way that I feel like I can do as a father and so so that's why I love Al Capp these days. That's why still I'm GonNa go there in a few weeks again in spend another season in Yosemite because it's the one place that is is safe but really adventurous adventurous and has great cell phone service and I can bring my family they can they can camp and they love it there yeah yeah. What do you want to pass down that you learned on Al Capp? We Want WanNa pass down to your kids aside from technical climbing skills or outdoor skills. What did you learn that mountain? You want your kids to know oh well I. I'm not certain I WANNA pass down climbing L. Really I mean I don't know oh the risky parts of climbing kind of addicting and I have a lot of friends that have died and have some friends whose kids died and so I get to see that firsthand was light light and so I don't know but there's a lot of great things about climbing that like this want to dream big and be part of something that feel so grand and the ability to defined grit and suffer through experiences and value growth and you know there's so many things that can be really really great for climbers that climbing does build and if can keep them interested in the safe disciplines of climbing sport climbing and bouldering. That's just going to be all positive yeah but the problem is since I've been decent at the more dangerous disciplines of climbing they might see that as a unity and they'd have the tools to go there if they wanted sure I wanNa make dad proud. I'm GonNa do something even more ridiculous than and try to climb the wall and in a way that the risky elements of climbing for people who know how to assess that risk are an easy way out like you can didn't go and do something that other people think is really awesome and the gains you a lot of notoriety without having to put in that much work just because you're able to hugh assess the risk whereas the real physical elements of climbing sport climbing bouldering you actually have to train your ass off and get really good and even then you you most likely will never be noticed that crying sound you hear means. We're running out of time so what's next for you. Kinda killed your white whale right with the doll wall like I. I don't know what you're thinking but if I were in your shoes I'd be like I'm good. I'm going to take it a little bit easy now but maybe that's not in your nature yeah. I don't think taking it easy is in my nature I mean climbing cummings been great but relatively self serving and I feel like I want to pursue things that have a little bit more purpose so the last few years of my life has been trying to get comfortable I with sharing my story so that people can be you know hopefully find a little bit of inspiration from it. Yeah these days. I'm actually getting into activism work okay and so who knows who knows in all that will take me but trying to end does it feels more purposeful trying to figure out a way to make sure that humanity doesn't totally screw themselves Southfield feels a little more valiant than climbing big rock faces. You GotTa do WanNa get the profile to do the other one rant died. I have no regrets that's for sure Tommy thank you very much man. It's been fascinating. Thank you thank you to Tommy Caldwell. That was really interesting man. What a fascinating guy the the movie it's called the Dawn Wall and it's on Netflix and the book is called the push available where wherever fine books are sold links to all that will be in the show notes and there's a video of this interview on our Youtube Channel at Jordan harbinger dot com slash youtube? There are also worksheets for each episode as you know so you can review what you've learned from Tommy Caldwell those are Jordan harbinger urban show dot com in the show notes and I'm teaching you how to connect with great people such as Tommy and manage relationships using systems using tiny habits in just a few minutes a day and I'm teaching the debt for free three so go to Jordan harbinger dot com slash course and don't do a later do it now. Because of course you're going to procrastinate. You'll do it later. You gotta dig the well before you get thirsty. Once you need relationships relationships you are too late. The drills take a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff twenty years ago. Ignore it at your own peril Jordan harbinger dot com slash course and by the way most of the guests on the show they subscribe to the course in the newsletter to come join us. You'LL BE IN SMART Company. Speaking of building relationships you can always reach out and or follow me on social. I'm at Jordan Harbinger on on both twitter and instagram. This show is created in association with podcast One and this episode was produced by Gen Harbinger Jason Filipo and edited by J Sanderson show show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogerty Music Evan Viola and I'm your host Jordan Harbinger our advice and opinions and those of our guests are their own and yes. I'm a lawyer but I'm not your lawyer so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show and remember we rise by lifting others the fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting testing which should be in every episode to please share the show with those you love and even those in the meantime do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen and we'll see you next time. This episode is sponsored in part by better help. Better help this stuff. I wish this had existed years ago. They offer licensed professional counselors where specialized in issues like depression stress anxiety relationships leaving trauma anger families of grief self esteem. I feel like I could check off at least half of those at some point in my life and many of you are saying go on so continue please so you can connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment anything. You shares obviously confidential that makes it convenient. You can do it all on your phone. You don't have to drive across town find parking schedules. It's something and then wait in the waiting room. Get help your own time and at your own pace in in your own place you could do this from your lunch hour in the parking lot of your car you can unscheduled secure video or phone sessions. There's chat there's taxed and of course you can always switch therapists if you want to. I think this is a great way for people to dip their toes in the therapy water especially if they're like oh I don't WanNa have to go through the whole rigmarole you don't have to there is no rigmarole. Just go to better help dot com slash Jordan Jordan. You'll get ten percent off your first month with Discount Code Jordan better help dot com slash Jordan you fill out a little questionnaire. It's really easy you get paired with a counselor and you start protecting your sanity so give it a shot

Coming up next