Tommy Caldwell’s Decision To Wait

*this post contains spoilers from the film The Dawn Wall.

Tommy Caldwell attempts a quite literally insane set of pitches, documented in The Dawn Wall, with the objective of summiting a never before done route on El Capitan.

This climb was attempted not as a solo expedition, but as a joint expedition with Kevin Jorgeson his climbing partner.

There’s a tense moment in this film where Tommy climbs a pitch that Kevin is unable to complete.

Tommy decides to wait to summit and climbs just a few more pitches beyond to stay active while Kevin alternates between climbing and resting.

After several days of Kevin attempting the pitch the question arises if he even has the ability to accomplish it.

Ultimately it takes Kevin 7+ days to accomplish this pitch, elongating Tommy’s summit time significantly.

Although Tommy’s decision to wait is admirable, and a great reminder that the level of people you’re surrounded by is hugely impactful, it also raises an important question.

Is what Tommy did “right”? Would continuing on without Kevin have been wrong?

Regardless of what decision Tommy made, waiting or continuing on without him, in this case there isn’t an objective “right” answer.

There is just an answer that best aligns with your values and interests.

For Tommy that ment waiting for Kevin.

Photo by Grace Brauteseth on Unsplash.

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