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In January, 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention.

But for Tommy Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was much more than just a climb. It was the culmination of a lifetime defined by overcoming obstacles. At the age of 22, the climbing prodigy was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan. Shortly after, he lost his index finger in an accident, but resolved to come back stronger. When his marriage fell apart, he escaped the pain by fixating on the extraordinary goal of free climbing the Dawn Wall.

Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and his partner Jorgeson spend six years meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell is faced with a moment of truth.

Should he abandon his partner to fulfill his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship?

Tommy Caldwell and climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson attempt the Mescalito route on Yosemite’s El Capitan. This is Caldwell’s fourth season attempting the route, considered to be one of the most difficult in the world. He hopes to come back next fall and be greated by a longer climbing season. Caldwell’s fiance Rebecca Piestch also appears in some photos.

In this Red Bull Media Interview, Tommy explains what it was truly like living on the Wall.

Read the full interview on Page 20 of Issue 55, Outer Edge Magazine.

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