Rock Stars! Two Climbers Conquer El Capitan & Achieve Their Dreams

I’ve been utterly fascinated by the story of Kevin Jorgeson (who by the way is from Santa Rosa) and Tommy Caldwell’s attempt to climb El Capitan’s Dawn Wall in Yosemite.  It is a 3,000-foot sheer granite cliff with almost no footholds.  Together, they’ve been working to make this climb for over six years, one of them for 8 years.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, CA. Photo:
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, CA. Photo:

No one has ever done anything close to their feat….a free climb that used only ropes for safety measures.  If they fell off a piece, they would have to start the whole section over again, which they often had to do, over and over again.  Some estimate they climbed up 10,000 feet of cliff by the time all their falls were factored in.

They were on El Capitan for 19 days. 

If you don’t know the story, they slept in a flimsy tent, called a portaledge, attached to the rock.  Can you imagine that?  Sleeping hanging 3,000 feet up hanging from a sheer cliff?

Photo: Corey Rich/Aurora Photos
Photo: Corey Rich/Aurora Photos

I Could Never do that!

It’s so easy to say, “I could never do what they did!” 

Well, of course not, unless you were willing to dream big, work hard, persevere against impossible odds, and find a partner who had the same dream.

But, if it is your destiny, and God planted a dream within you, you can do it!

I believe we were all given a purpose that only we can fulfill…..God didn’t give it to anyone else because it was his gift to us--something he dreams of partnering with us to bring into reality.

Reclaim Ministries is all about helping people reclaim their Identities, Lives and Destinies! To reclaim is to take back all that is lost, stolen or broken.  It is to move from vast wasteland to a land of promise….a place of beauty and productivity.

I know that our dreams often seem as daunting as El Capitan. We look up at them and say, “Impossible!”

Image via Kevin Jorgeson on Facebook.
Image via Kevin Jorgeson on Facebook.

But, God looks from Heaven and says, “POSSIBLE! Together, all things are possible with me!”

Kevin Jorgeson was in the impossible position.

He ripped open his two most important fingers early in his climb.   He made them work, but the situation became precarious when he got to the hardest ascent, Pitch 15--an 80 foot lateral that runs right to left across the face of the rock.  “Bridging it requires a climber of average height to fully extend his arms outward from the shoulder while balancing on a foothold.  It requires the two fingers that were injured to squeeze downward on a knife edge of granite.  The rock ripped right through his fingers, then the skin time after time after time” (Press Democrat, 1/16/2015, Santa Rosa climber's El Capitan success came down to battered fingers and a single, tortuous move).

He fell off 10 times in a 7 day period.  Twice, he had to take days off to rest, setting his alarm for every four hours to treat his fingers.  Tommy Caldwell patiently waited, refusing to go on ahead without his partner.

You would wonder if they ever considered sending Tommy ahead, so he could fulfill his dream.

They never did.  They were determined to do it together; they had started together, their dreams were merged into one.

Our dreams are merged into one with God.  He is patiently waiting for us; calling us, beckoning us, believing in us.

We can do the Impossible!

The only problem is we have been lied to, stolen from, and hit over and over like boxers in a ring, as we hear the message, “You can’t do that.  Who are you to believe that you could accomplish that? You are small; you are weak; you are unsuccessful.”

Photograph by Corey Rich, BigUp Productions
Photograph by Corey Rich, BigUp Productions

We need to decide whose voice we will choose.

What’s your dream?

 Can you dig it out from under the ashes?

My dream is to leave a generational legacy.

I want to convey the message of reclamation to my family that will endure for generation upon generation.  I want my great, great, great grandchildren to know the depth to which they are loved by their heavenly father and the access to the unending resources from heaven available to them to reach their dream.

I want to Encourage, Equip, and Partner with God’s Beloved Children, (that’s you), to Reclaim your Identity, Life, and Destiny.

Kevin Jorgeson is our hero.  He writes the definition of perseverance.  He spent hours watching tapes of his falls across Pitch 15, seeking to discover the adjustment needed to reach the other side.

He finally found it.  He had to adjust one small foot angle.

Saturday, he attempted Pitch 15 one more time.  “He fell twice.  On his final attempt, he cut his index finger in five places in a desperate push from the rock. Blood exploded in several directions” (Press Democrat, 1/16/15, Santa Rosa climber's El Capitan success came down to battered fingers and a single, tortuous move).

Kevin kept on going. Fingers ripped up, bleeding everywhere, because his dream was so deeply imbedded in his heart.  He finished Pitch 15.  His girlfriend got the text. She said she knew at that point he would make it!

Persevering in Obscurity

Here’s another interesting piece of the story.  Kevin and Tommy were relatively unknown climbers until one day the New York Times picked up their story.  Suddenly, they were like “Rock Stars” and Household Names.

How they will impact the climbing world and, regular people like me, is a ripple effect that they may never realize.

This is how God works. He trains us in obscurity and then one day, he decides, “I want the world to know about you!”

Think about Joseph.  Think about David.  Think about Mary.  Think about Jesus.

It’s his pattern.

Celebrating at the Summit. Photo: Instagram/Big Up Productions
Celebrating at the Summit. Photo: Instagram/Big Up Productions

So, don’t be discouraged if you are anonymous to the world.

One day can change everything.

Get clear on the dream God has uniquely for you!

Feed the dream, pray into it, envision it happening, make agreements with it, and don’t allow any obstacle to keep you from reaching the top of the mountain.

If Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell can do it, so can you! One way to feed your dream is to share it here. I’d love to hear it and pray for you to reach it!