Kevin Jorgeson: "The Fun Scale", Authors at Google

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 11.12.2012


HAL BAILEY: Hey, everyone.
Thanks for coming to see Kevin today.
My name's Hal Bailey.
And I met Kevin through a friend of mine--
lifelong friend--
Andrew McDermott, so we should thank him just as much.
Kevin's here to talk about climbing and
why it's fun to him--
essentially the fun scale.
A little background on Kevin--
he's been climbing for about 15 years.
He is local to the area.
He's from Santa Rosa.
He started out in a gym and has sort of made his way
outside since then, since he was younger.
And he now climbs all over the world.
But there's one project he's been
working on for four years.
It's in Yosemite called the Dawn Wall.
It's a sustained 515, it's about 3,000 feet.
And it's a pretty intense climb.
The other thing, other than just being a great climber,
Kevin is also one of the best climbing
instructors I've ever met.
He set up some programs.
He set up frameworks and structure around
learning how to climb.
And he started a group called PCI--
the Pro Climbers Institute?
KEVIN JORGESON: International.
HAL BAILEY: International.
Pro Climbers International, where he's taken the best
climbers in the world, who have the ability and interest
in teaching, and he's bringing that to mortals
like you and me.
Or at least I think most of you all are mortals.
So anyway, I'll let Kevin take it from here.
But let's give him a warm welcome.
Thanks, Kevin.

I'm definitely stoked to be here.
I've heard a lot about Google.
I visited one time before.
And I think the thing that stood out to me the most when
I think about Google is the culture of this organization
and this company.
And I love how vital that culture is when I came to
visit with Hal, and I felt it.
And that's what really led me to want to share this culture
of climbing as well, because I have a feeling they're really
going to match quite well together.
So today I have three different things I want to do.

I want to introduce you guys both to myself, my sport, if
you haven't tried climbing before, and my organization,
Professional Climbers International.
I want to hopefully inspire you guys to try climbing
through some of the adventures I've been on.
And then the last, I want to invite you to join me both
today at 2 o'clock on the Google Wall for a free clinic.
But then we're also to be doing some ongoing climbing
classes on the Google Wall twice a month January,
February, March.
And we're bringing in some of the world's best special for
that clinic series.
So at the end of the talk, we can take names that are
interested for that.
You can come climb.
And we can make sure that everyone wants
to participate can.
So let's go ahead and kick off.
My name's Kevin Jorgeson, again.
And like Hal said, I've been climbing for 15 years.
And I was born to climb, I feel like.
I always was climbing cupboards.
And whenever I would get lost, my parents would look up
instead of down or under things to find me.
So I think it was just a matter of time
before I found climbing.
And I found climbing, so to speak, when I went to an
outdoor retail shop for the first time and they had a
climbing wall.
But they wouldn't let me climb it because I wasn't 16.
Luckily, Vertex Climbing Center up in Santa Rosa was
opening shortly thereafter.
And it was all over once I had been to Vertex.
So this photo is actually from probably my first ever
experience with a climbing wall, aside from that outdoor
retail shop.
Do you remember [? Morine ?]
Outfitters up in Santa Rosa?
They were in business before REI moved next door.
And this was right in their parking lot.

Definitely stoked.
So over the past 15 years, I've gone from climbing and
competing indoors, winning national championships and
competing internationally, to just moving exclusively to
climbing outside.
And to me, there's nothing more inspiring than a
beautiful line.
And when it comes to beautiful lines, it's really hard to
compete with El Cap.
Has anyone even been to Yosemite?
Tell me most of you have been since we're so close.
If you haven't been, go.
It's less than four hours from here if you speed.
And it's worth it.

We'll get into what this project is.
But let's just say that climbing has taken me many
amazing places.
And I'm going to share their journey with you guys.
So a little bit about climbing, if you haven't
climbed before.
Can I see who's definitely climbed--
rock climbed--
indoors or outdoors before?
Oh, then you know.
So there's a couple different disciplines, as you're aware.
You can freeze and be at the danger of avalanches all the
time through mountaineering.
And how, that's your thing, but not for me, sorry.
You can go sport climbing, which is fun.
Single or multi-pitch bolted climbs.
That's the photo in the middle from Smith Rocks.
Or you can go bouldering, which is just fun, ropeless,
You can do it indoors, you can do it outdoors.
All you need are shoes, chalk, and a crash pad.
It's great.
And I think that's one of the things that draws to me
climbing so much is that it is so versatile.
With a slight change in angle or location, you can find
yourself still participating in climbing, but maybe be
soloing over the ocean in Majorca, or up on a peak in
Alaska, or on a boulder field in Bishop.
It's really versatile to meet anyone's version of climbing.
So really, it's open to all participants, which I
absolutely love.
So three years ago, we started an organization called
Professional Climbers International.
And our goal is to develop and inspire the next generation.
And we do that through a number of different programs
and events.
But one is through large stage competitions, like the photo
on the left, but also through instructional programs like we
do in schools, here at Google, and all over the place.
And this happens to be the same climber.
He's winning the competition on the left and teaching a
clinic to adults and kids in New York last year.
Daniel was here too the day before yesterday in Sunnyvale
at Planet Granite, if you guys have been there.
Myself, Alex Johnson, a two-time World Cup champion US
female climber was there, and so was Daniel.
So that's enough for the introduction of myself, of
climbing, of PCI.
I want to dig into the fun and, to me,
more inspiring part.
So in September 2009, it was kind of an
interesting period for me.
In January I'd finished a lifelong goal-- well, maybe
not lifelong.
But it was a particular climb called Ambrosia.
It was this really dangerous, really tall boulder
[? prop. ?]
And I was kind of lost.
If you've ever climbed, do you ever go through post-send
Or maybe you finish a project of some kind.
Whatever, it doesn't even have to be climbing.
You finish it and you're like, now what do I do?
And I was having a serious case of post-send depression
in September 2009.
And I didn't know what I was going to do next.
And as a professional climber, it's all about pushing
yourself and having an inspiring project to look
forward to and to work on and progress toward.
And I didn't know where I was going, which really is not a
nice place to be.
So in September, I saw the Reel Rock Film Tour.
And it featured Tommy Caldwell on the Dawn Wall project.
And it sure looked like he needed a partner.
So I called him up and I was like, I'm nothing
but a pebble wrestler.
You're a big wall climber.
But hey, I would love to help you out if you would have it.
And he wrote a funny article recently where he said, what's
the worst I would get out of having
Kevin come for a season?
I get a belay partner, I burn through him, and then I'll get
another one.
But on our first day, it was really clear we climbed really
well together.
We were having fun.
And that we had forged both a friendship and a partnership
that was going to last the duration of this project.
So this is the line that the Dawn Wall takes.
And every other free climb on El Cap follows a very clear
system of cracks.
The majority of the climbs all across the wall
are called aid climbs.
And that means you're standing on and pulling
on gear as you go.
When you think of climbing, you're probably picturing free
climbing-- hands and feet, you're
doing the moves yourself.
Free climbing on El Cap, same thing.
You have the ropes there.
You're not going to die if you fall.
The Dawn Wall takes the blankest feature of El Cap and
tries to climb it.
It's quite the audacious objective.
And Tommy deserves all the credit in the world for
looking at that wall and even
believing that it was possible.
So without that, there's no way I would be working on this
project right now.
So I remember standing in the meadow on day one
looking at the wall--
met him in the meadow for the first time.
I mean is a childhood hero of mine.
I have watched him-- he's 33, I'm 28.
So I was literally watching him in the magazines and the
videos when I started.
I was like, hey Tommy how's it going?
Where does this thing go?
I mean, the wall is so blank.
There was no obvious place to go, like with the Nose, or the
Salathe, or the Zodiac.
All these other climbs have very clear places to go.
So began the Dawn Wall Project.
And the thing about climbing--
oh wait.
TOMMY CALDWELL: Probably one of the craziest
dyno I've ever tried.
And it's right in the middle of El Cap.
So it's sick.
I'm just not the best dynoer in the world.
But I think somebody could do it.
When I look at this next generation of climbers that
are doing things on the boulders and the sport climbs
that I really couldn't conceive of, if they could
apply that kind of talent to the big walls.
And that's what it would take to free climb this project.
Even if I can't climb this, I wanted to plant the seed for
somebody in the future to come and inspire us all.
KEVIN JORGESON: Now that's a classic Tommy line, being
super humble.
Oh, I'm just planting the seed for someone
else to come do this.
Tommy's going to climb this thing.
And I hope to be on that team with him.
There's nothing that's going to stop us from seeing it
through to the end.
But that was the call to action that I saw in that film
in September that was like, well, he's really putting it
out there to every discipline within climbing to step up and
help make this project happen.
Now the thing but a project like the Dawn Wall is you will
never, ever do it in a season.
Even if you're Adam Ondra, who's arguably the best
climber in the world right now, you couldn't come to
Yosemite and do this thing in a season.
There's a lot that goes into climbing at a big wall of this
size and this difficulty.
And inevitably, it's not all fun as we may
normally think about it.
So in alpinism, and in climbing, and I'm sure in
other industries or sports, there's this
idea of the fun scale.
And that definitely applies to climbing, and the Dawn Wall
project in particular.
And even if it's not as fun as jumping in a foam pit, you can
still have actually view it as a kind of fun.
So I just want to go through the types of fun.
So type one a simple.
It's what we think of fun.
It's the pure, unqualified, silly fun--
foam pits, climbing walls for the first time.

And in the case of the Dawn Wall, taking a magic carpet
ride in 60 mile an hour updraft winds
is pretty darn fun.

Tommy didn't want to break down the portal ledge and then
reset it up in the wind.
So he just sat on it and levitated his
way down the wall.

Or fun is forgetting your can opener every night, and
having to use a--
they call it a pecker, in order to open your dinner.

No I'm serious, I don't think we've ever opened a can with a
can opener on El Cap.
For some reason, we either forget it or leave it in the
hall bag at pitch down or something.
So we're always hoping that we have our beaks nearby so we
can eat dinner.

Or you can have type one in the form of a
100-foot rope swing.
KEVIN JORGESON: We'll, last time I did this is--
FEMALE SPEAKER: Are you all clipped in OK?

This is like a baby porch swing.

KEVIN JORGESON: Now I don't know if that's everyone's
definition of fun.
But to me, that's like complete type one.
That's just pure bliss.
So you can see there's a lot of time on the wall that's not
just spent climbing.
And you kind of have to see the fun in the entire process
in order to engage in a project that's going to last
three, four, five, six years.
Who knows how long it's going to take?
It's been four already.

Can you guys see our camp here?

That's our camp that we were based out of.
That photo was taken less than a month ago.
We spent October and November--
that's kind of the best season for working on this project.
And that's about maybe 1,000 feet up.
If you know the Nose route, this is El Cap Tower.
This is Texas Flake.
And then there's the Boot Flake up higher.
And you can just see how really blank that section is.
But again, for me, to be in that kind of position, just
pasted to the side of the wall, to be able to wake up
and make your French press coffee in the morning is just
complete type one fun.
well, I don't know, somewhat fortunately--
it's not all type one fun.
Either with a project like this, of that difficulty, or
for that long.
You kind of have to endure the whole scale.

So type two is kind of interesting.
It's not that fun when you're actually going through it.
But when you look back on it, it's pretty fun.
You're in it, you're doing it, and you're like, this sucks.
And then you look back, it's kind of like the things that
make really good story.
You're like, oh, this is so terrible.
And by 5 o'clock, you're like, that was so cool.
I did that.
Yeah, no big deal.
Yeah, I was having fun the whole time.

So terrible in the moment, taking the tape off of a
bloody flapper wound after a day of bouldering.
But fun in retrospect is realizing that you have a
heart shaped flapper under that piece of tape that you'll
never ever see ever again.
So let's see, what else do we have for type two fun?
KEVIN JORGESON: It's 10 o'clock.
We just did pitch seven a couple hours ago.
And now we're going to do pitch eight.
But we need a little pick-me-up.
We just ate dinner.
Kind of ready for a nap.

FEMALE SPEAKER: So what are you doing for a little
KEVIN JORGESON: I think I'm going to take this instant
coffee powder, pour it into my mouth, swig some water, and
swallow it instead of brewing it.
But when I describe it, it seems like a bad idea.
MALE SPEAKER: You're a model of laziness.
You even have a stove right next to you.

KEVIN JORGESON: I'm really afraid of how much I'm going
to put in my mouth.

This is the type two moment right here.

FEMALE SPEAKER: How does it taste?

Is it dissolving?

Is it warming up?

Let's see your smile.
Not bad.
KEVIN JORGESON: It's a little brutal when it firsts hits
your tongue.
But when you mix it up, it kind of
tastes like cold coffee.
MALE SPEAKER: Maybe you should stick that packet up to your
left nostril and just snort the rest of it.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Wait, did you just do that for real?
KEVIN JORGESON: I'm not going to snort the instant coffee.
I'm not that tired.
MALE SPEAKER: It'll hit your bloodstream faster.

KEVIN JORGESON: So that was in the middle of a week long
ground up effort in 2010, where we would start climbing
around 4 o'clock each day when the wall went into the shade
and then climb until we were too tired.
Because when the wall is in the sun, it's just simply too
hot to hang on to the holds, because they're so small.
A lot of you have climbed.
So you know how important conditions can be.
And that's one of the biggest battles on this wall is with
the conditions.
And some of the best conditions happen to be in the
middle the night.
But when you get tired, you've got to do what you got to do.
And it worked out well.
We did the next pitch that night and took a rest
day the next day.
All right.
There's a lot of elements of this
project that aren't ideal--
the conditions that I talked about with the sun.
Another is that there are certain sections of the route
that are just always wet, no matter what, always wet.
Pitch 10 is one of those.
This wet streak is so big you can see it from the ground.
It's 100 feet long.
And it happens to be in the middle of a 5.14 pitch.
So you do a bunch of lie-backing.
And then the holds don't get any better.
And the feet don't get any better.
Everything just turns to slime.
And there's nothing you can do except grit your teeth and get
through it.
And half the time you just slide right out.
But it's kind of one of those moments as well, where you're
getting through it and you're like, oh this is awful.
But then you zoom out and you realize, I'm
climbing a 5.14 wet pitch.
This is so cool.
And then you're like, oh this is really slippery.
I'm going to fall.
And you're all gripped, because the gear's bad.
And if you fall, you're going to zipper it all
the way to the belay.
But when you finish the pitch, that's kind of back to that
type one feeling.
But you have to get to the wet stuff in
order to get the elation.
And to me, type two is one of the most
rewarding types of fun.
I really enjoy type two.
And then there's type three.

It's just never fun.
The cool thing about type three is it makes
for the best story.
But when you look back on it, whether it be an injury, or a
close brush with death, or something, type three is just
something that you look back on, and you just don't want to
repeat any part of it whatsoever.
So let's see what we have for type three.
We talked about conditions.
Sometimes to get the good conditions you have to wake up
in terrible hours of the morning.
And pardon my French for naming my alarms.
But that's pretty much what it feels like to wake up at 2:00
in the morning to go rock climbing.

There's nothing that fun about lugging an 80 pound load of
gear to the top of El Cap--
just going to throw that out there.
I've done it a lot of times by now.
I thought, oh maybe it'll just turn into type two.
Like the runners endorphin, you get to the
top, it feels great.
That was the first time it was type two.
Every time after that, type three, over it.

That was about one second of type two.
I don't think I would've reacted like that if Matt
didn't start yelling.
I think he just stoked that I didn't break my legs.
But this was in England in 2008.
I went on this trip as a training trip for that
Ambrosia objective, which I did that January.
And all of the routes in England are really sketchy.
Nothing is bolted anywhere on the gritstone.
It's all trad.
So if there's no cracks, there's no gear.
And obviously, the gear is super low on this one.
And this is already kind of an infamous route.
It's called Gaia.
And if you've seen these underground climbing movies--
"Hard Grit"--
you get to watch someone take that exact same fall
but break his leg.
I was like, I really want to climb Gaia, but I really don't
want to break my leg.
And then sure enough, trying to onside it, my left foot
blows, and I nearly break my legs.
So the good thing was that, A--
that's Alex Honnold.
He ran backwards and kept me from breaking my legs, because
he pulled in the slack as I was falling.
And the second thing is, he moved this crash pad up
against the arete.
But my heels still struck.
So for the next week I was walking around--
I don't know, does an ostrich walk right on their toes?
But I couldn't step on my heels for a week.
So then, it was definitely a moment of type three for me.
Looking back, I have no desire to do that whatsoever.
But it's good footage, type three.
That's the nature of type three.
And luckily, I think it's really special that this
project has taken so long.
You get to experience all parts of the success and the
failure that goes along the way with working
something so hard.
The partnership that Tommy and I have forged over the last
four years is awesome.
I mean, we balance each other out really well.
When you're going through so much challenge, and
difficulty, and a lot of physical pain at times, you've
got to have someone there that has your back, that can
complement your weaknesses and your strengths.
Luckily, Tommy and I balanced each other out really well.

We may appear a little bored at times when belaying since
up at 2:00 in the morning.
But that's all just part of the game.
And it takes you amazing places.
You don't get to climb a pitch like that without going
through a little type two fun, and sometimes
some type three fun.
But in this particular moment, pure bliss.
And thanks to Jimmy Chin for capturing
such an amazing shot.
So everyone always asks, if you haven't climbed a big
wall, how do you go to the bathroom up all a big wall?

I mean, if I don't tell you now, you're going to ask me
So I figure I'm just going to let a video take care it.
MALE SPEAKER: I love portaledges.
I can't tell you how much I love portaledges.
You just live in them up here.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Why do you love them?
MALE SPEAKER: No exposure.
We can hang out in the middle of the
blankest wall in the world.
We're kind of cozy right now.
We could just take a nap.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What's Kevin doing over there?
MALE SPEAKER: Kevin is urinating in a
wind-storm right now.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What does that mean?
MALE SPEAKER: It means he's probably going to get piss all
over himself, and us, and the walls, and anybody within a
quarter mile radius of us.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Kevin, how's it going?
KEVIN JORGESON: I'll tell you in a second.
MALE SPEAKER: Love his technique--
legs slightly spread.

Right now he's trying to dig it out
from through his harness.

The wind is blowing him around a little bit.
FEMALE SPEAKER: You have cold feet, Kevin?
Oh, there it goes.
The little raindrops flying upwards, like dancing.
MALE SPEAKER: He is somewhat experienced in that he's going
with the wind.
Because if he was going against the wind right now, he
would be getting so wet.

This isn't embarrassing at all.
MALE SPEAKER: [INAUDIBLE] leg and your foot?
Looks like you're peeing right on your leg right now.

FEMALE SPEAKER: What did he just say?
MALE SPEAKER: He said that was the cleanest wind pee ever.
That's what he said.
The only certain [? people ?]
[? on the nose. ?]
FEMALE SPEAKER: Kevin got [INAUDIBLE] by a lot.
That whole ledge, I bet, just got hammered.

KEVIN JORGESON: Well, there you go.

That adage is true through.
If at first you don't succeed, you definitely
have to try, try again.
And it's interesting to experience the evolution of
this project over the last four years.
Year one, my eyes were just completely opened to how
challenging this objective was.
We didn't even know where the route was going
to go at that stage.
Year two, we knew where everything went.
Where we had to add bolts, we added bolts.
We knew what gear we needed.
And we also knew it was just way over our heads.
Year three, we gave it a good ground up effort.
I got an injury that set back.
And then this year, we focused all of our effort two months
on two pitches, on the crux pitches, the crux 400 feet.
And we made a lot of little micro beta breakthroughs, like
little sequence changes here and there
to help us get through.
And it's funny, the littlest change in your sequence can
open up all kinds of confidence to
your chances of success.
But if we had only tried it for two years or for three
years, it would still feel completely impossible.
So I'll be the first to admit that there are times in this
project where it just feels like I'm trying for no reason,
that this thing is so hard, and there's no way that it's
ever going to happen.
By still just trusting that by chipping away, it's going to
become more feasible.
You are getting stronger, you are getting more tuned in to
the root, that it will happen.
And now for the first time, I feel confidence in our
chances, to be honest.
I mean, we wouldn't be trying this route for this long if we
didn't enjoy type one through three that goes along with
this route.
And that was enough.
But now it almost feels like, wow, we can
actually do this thing.
So that's been a really exciting
process to go through.
And if you're in the middle of anything like that yourself,
some multi-year epic project, I encourage you to just keep
going, because there's light at the end of the
tunnel, if you will.
And your skills hone in.
I'm sure you've all been through it, no matter what, as
far as taking on something that you have no business
doing, but then doing it one day.
And we haven't even done this thing yet.
And we'll be back next year.
I'm going to go in the spring, and I'm going
to go in the fall.
And we're going to keep doing that until we send.
But without that process, and without accepting that fun
isn't always type one fun, it's not always type two fun,
you kind of have to accept some days it's just going to
suck, and it's not going to be fun at all.
But really, it's worth it.
It makes for good stories that I can share with you guys and
hopefully talk you into coming climbing with me, and yeah.
So what I would definitely like to do is introduce all of
you and anyone you know within Google to come climbing with
us in January, February, and March.
Twice a month for those three months, we're going to have
some of the world's top climbers on your climbing
wall, introducing you guys to climbing, if you haven't done
it before, and helping hone your mental strength, your
technical abilities, and your physical training on the
Google Wall.
And then my goal from there is to have gathered up all those
interested in climbing and who already climb that work at
Google and do even more cool stuff, whether that's outdoor
trips or doing meet-ups at the local climbing gyms, of which
there are a ton here in the Bay Area.
And all of this starts today at 2 o'clock on
the climbing wall.
So we brought harnesses and shoes.
No experience, no equipment necessary.
Just come hang out for an hour and a half and try it.
I encourage you just to come try.
And if nothing else, you'll have some type two fun at
worst, which will make for a good story, which isn't
a bad way to go.
So it's win-win, no matter what.
So I have a couple of fliers, if anyone wants to take a
little reminder for the clinic series that's going to start
in January.
Otherwise, come find me after the talk or at the wall.
And we can make sure that we stay in touch so that we get
to climb together from here on out.
And at this point, if you have any
questions, please fire away.
AUDIENCE: So you're working on this project.
And I'm not quite sure how it goes.
But you accumulate a lot of knowledge over four years.

What happens if your partner decides he wants to go and do
something else?
KEVIN JORGESON: I was talking earlier about the strengths
and weaknesses of our partnership.
And for me, I bring a lock tight memory when it comes to
sequences and gear and all the rest.
But I also back that up with meticulous lists of actual
sequences, the list of gear that we need, start to finish
on every single pitch.
That and this thing has been documented by really talented
videographers from Big UP Productions and Sender Films
for that Reel Rock film tour.
So it's great.
We actually have a video catalog, if you will, of some
of the pitches.
So if it really came to it, we could go back to those and
look at it.
But the nature of climbing--
Tommy's been climbing since he was five, I've been climbing
since I was 12--
your body really remembers the movement in and of itself at
this stage.
So after climbing on the pitches for that long, it
really takes no time to get up and running again.
Of course.
AUDIENCE: So it sounds like you've made a number of
attempts in this wall.
What happens in the moment when you decide that one of
your attempts is over and you're headed back down?
KEVIN JORGESON: We're pretty stubborn.
Again, coming back to that balance thing.
Tommy's the utter optimist.
He looks at the Weather Channel forecast.
I'm not a pessimist, but I'm a realist.
I look at the Noah forecast.
And we kind of balanced each other out a little bit.
Looking at a Doppler radar, like in 2010, we're watching
this huge storm.
Do you guys remember the amount of snow and rain we got
a couple years ago?
It was absolutely insane.
The snow pack was like 250% in Tahoe.
We were on the wall right as that storm was hitting.
And Tommy's like, I think it's going to go around us.
I think we should just stick it out.
We're at the crux pitches.
It's not like we had sent the crux pitches.
He's just in total denial.
And I'm like, dude, it's calling for 6 feet
of snow in 12 hours.
What are you talking about?
But to answer your question, we go until the weather
typically forces us off.
So we let some external factor come decide for us.
Because otherwise we're just up there.
But I was injured last year, for example.
And Tommy was up there and had great weather.
Our winter last year, remember, was bone dry all the
way through February.
He spent 16 days on the wall going ground up, and finally
decided to come down because he had holes virtually in
every single one of his fingertips.
And he'd have to sit up there, just sit there on the
portaledge for a week for his skin to heal to be able to
grab the holds again.
So for him it was like, all right, I've been up here for
16 days, just the time required to heal.
And the chances of doing the pitch, and the progress he
wasn't experiencing.
He decided that he was going to wait until next year.
Typically, it's weather.
AUDIENCE: Quick question, you mentioned injuries.
AUDIENCE: So just curious, when you were injured, and if
you are having to sit out for awhile, how did you stay
motivated while you couldn't climb?
And what did you learn on the way back when you were trying
to recover?
KEVIN JORGESON: After climbing for 15 years, you have a lot
of natural ebbs and flows of your
motivation, I've realized.
And I've realized really not to fight those.
And when I hurt my ankle on the wall last year, that was
kind of the start of just a natural kind of low period in
my climbing, I felt like.
And so I focused a lot on PCI.
I focused a lot on teaching and getting
more athletes involved.
And just kind of balancing out the other aspects of what I
love about climbing.
Sharing it with others, creating really good programs
to get other people into it.
And really not to force it, because that's when it's no
longer part of your passion and you've turned your passion
into a job.
And I really am conscious about that balance.
I feel like the most fortunate guy ever to be able to make a
living doing what I absolutely love.
I don't want to be doing anything else.
But as soon as I start forcing, I feel like, climbing
when I'm not motivated or working when I'm not
motivated, then it kind of ruins it.

AUDIENCE: I'm just wondering, how much time you spend in the
gym doing cardio or weight training?
Or are you always on the wall climbing?
KEVIN JORGESON: You know, the adage goes that the best
training for climbing is climbing.
But with a project like this, I've reluctantly had to accept
that I need to do more than just climb.
And getting off the wall this year--
I hate stretching.
I can't even touch--
KEVIN JORGESON: I can't do it.
It's embarrassing.
I need to be able to touch my toes if I stand any chance of
climbing pitch 12 of the Dawn Wall-- period.
And I've known that from day one.
But only after this season, coming off of that little bit
of progress and that kind of glimmer that we can do this,
I've started a daily foam rolling
and stretching regiment.
Not because I feel like I have to.
But all of a sudden I want to.
And we do do cardio days.
And I don't do a lot of weight opposition training.
But I do do antagonistic muscle training
to keep things balanced.
Because with this project, you have to be more than just
climbing fit.
It kind of breaks you down over the two to three month
season that you're in the valley.
So you can't show up peaked on day one.
You're actually training still, if you will, in that
first month that you're there.
So that by the fourth or fifth week, you're actually peaking.

AUDIENCE: Great talk.
AUDIENCE: You said that your partner spent 16 days on the
wall ground up.
Is there another way to spend 16 days on the wall, like
starting somewhere other than the ground?
KEVIN JORGESON: Yeah, you can drop in from the top as well.
KEVIN JORGESON: Yeah, from the top of the wall.
So this thing is so difficult.
And looking from the ground, like I said early on, you
can't tell where it goes.
This route was discovered from the top down.
The first thing Tommy did was hike a bunch of rope to the
top of El Cap, throw it off the top, and start swinging
around, literally trying to connect the
dots from top to bottom.
Because if we started at the bottom and just tried to push
one rope length higher and higher, not knowing if it's
free climbable, or this crack connects to the next crack, we
would be nowhere near where we are now.
And we're already four years in.
So the strategy, a lot of times, is to come in from the
top to see where things are.
But I would say, no.
No one's going to spend 16 days on the wall consecutively
without a purpose.
And if you're just coming in from the
top, you're not sending.
You're doing a recon trip.
You're working a crux pitch.
You're stashing water for the next attempt.
You're doing logistics and training.
So the pushes that have taken a really long time, some of
the historic ones like Warren Harding on the wall in early
morning light.
He was up there for a month.
He's going up from the ground.
He wants to send.
He doesn't want to bail.
When those kinds of things are at stake, the realization of
your project, that's when people stay for that long.
AUDIENCE: And then you just mentioned
leaving water behind.
From one season to the next, what do you guys leave?
Do you leave anything?
AUDIENCE: Nothing gets left.
So as you're going up the same pitches over and over again,
you're getting really good at the lower levels of the game.
And then you try to get to the advanced level next?
KEVIN JORGESON: So what we do, is so now I can tell you every
single move of pitch one through 18.
The crux is in 12, 13, 14, and 15, and 16.
They're all 5.14.
So we feel really confident about those bottom pitches.
And now, a lot of times, what we do in October is drop in
from the top and focus our efforts right on those crux
pitches, because we're confident about what's below.
And we're confident about what's above.
But if we don't have a clear game plan for how we're going
to do those crux pitches, or have the confidence to be able
to do it, then you're really just climbing up from the
ground into a brick wall.
So it's really important to know what's coming up and to
be confident and have the knowledge necessary to do it.
So that requires some top down tactics as well.
But we don't leave anything behind.
When we're working on the route, we actually have a rope
fixed top to bottom so that we can literally
commute across the wall.
In any one day, we may ascend up the fixed ropes halfway up
the entire wall, and the next day climb for 12 hours, then
go back down and have some pizza.
Or come in from the top and resupply a camp, because we're
staying up there two, three days at a time.
But then when the season's over, everything comes down.
And you have a burly type three fun set up and take down
mission at the start and end of every season.
Yeah, that's where those 80 pound loads come in.
Well, if you guys don't have any other questions, I hope to
see each and every one of you at 2 o'clock on the wall.
We'll cycle you all up it, no problem.
And then we'll add a bunch more dates to the clinic
series if you guys all show up.
But thank you, seriously.