El Capitan is a mountain located in California’s Yosemite National Park, a 2,307 metre tall granitic monolith considered ‘the hardest climb in the world’. In January, US climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have made history by reaching its top, bare handed, after climbing the Dawn Wall, a notoriously prohibitive ascent. No one has ever managed to do that before.
It took them 19 days: an extraordinary undertaking, every night Caldwell and Jorgeson were sleeping in a tend hanging from a cliff, thousands meters from the ground. An accomplishment recognised even by US President Barack Obama, who congratulated them on Twitter. The words that Jorgeson said after reaching the summit however are what struck me the most of this incredible mission.
Tired and worn out, he told the press something I quite agree with: “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.” Caldwell and Jorgeson, after training and planning for ten years, have managed to achieve their goal. And what better inspiration for us all? There’s nothing stopping us from overcoming our everyday challenges and reaching the top of the mountains in our lives.