Tommy Caldwell, who free-climbed El Capitan, opening Winter Words series in Aspen

Tommy Caldwell clenches a nub while attempting one of the Dawn Wall’s hardest pitches in 2011. At the time, Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson were about to finish. (Provided by Tommy Caldwell collection)

After his historic free-climb ascent of the El Capitan’s Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park in early 2015, Tommy Caldwell stared down a nearly as daunting challenge: a blank page.

To write his memoir, published last year as “The Push,” Caldwell used the same tools he’d used as a climber to revolutionize his sport and accomplish the seemingly impossible.

“With climbing, I’m not super naturally talented physically and I’m kind of in the same boat intellectually,” Caldwell, who will open the Winter Words author series Jan. 8, said in a recent phone interview from his home in Boulder. “I always struggled as a student. But I have this ability to apply pretty incredible discipline and to feel impassioned toward things. That’s what I do with my climbing. That’s what I did with the book.”

Focused on the book for a year, Caldwell set his alarm for 4 a.m. to wake up and start writing no matter how he was feeling or whether he had anything to say. Eventually, “The Push” started taking shape.

Read the rest of the profile on Aspen Times.



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