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Ask Tommy Caldwell // Win a FREE Edelrid Boa Eco 9.8
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General Admin
Mar 2, 2016
Howdy MP!

I'm a new staffer at Mountain Project, and i'm stoked to announce that Tommy Caldwell will be chiming in to this forum thread to answer your questions.

Next Thursday (3/10/16), he'll choose the five "most engaging and thought-provoking" inquiries to reply to. Consider it our version of an Ask Me Anything. To top it off, he'll award a 60m Edelrid Boa Eco 9.8 rope to his top two favorites.

That's this rope right here: \

What burning questions do you have for Tommy? Training? The environment? The life and times of a pro climber? Parenthood? That Dawn Wall thing?

Let me repeat TC's guidelines in full: "Ask me the most engaging, thought-provoking question you can think of. Note that I did not say weirdest question!"

Okay GO!
Shannon Davis
Joined Sep 15, 2015
96 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Yours truly on Treiber's Deception.
A few:

1) Years ago, when you cut off your finger, what were the psychological repurcussions? How long was it before you knew that it wouldn't affect your climbing at the harder levels?

2) Has your approach to risk changed since you became a father? When you go after projects like the Patagonia traverse, does thinking about Fitz play a role on the your level of acceptable risk, either consciously or subconsciously?

3) Looking back on the time you were captured by rebel forces while on the wall in the middle east, do you find you have any PTSD left over from having to attempt to kill someone else in order to escape safely?
Joined Jul 26, 2010
193 points
Mar 2, 2016
Do you consider yourself to have a high risk tolerance? Vaughne
Joined Mar 21, 2011
43 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Tiffany Mountain, Okanogan County, WA.
Hi Tommy! A couple of questions:

1. How do you feel that the media coverage around your Dawn Wall project affected the way climbing is perceived in popular culture? Do you think that it will accelerate the process of climbing becoming more mainstream, or was it ridiculously difficult enough (in the eyes of the average American) that it remains a novelty?

2. Related to that, do you think the outdoor crags in North America are ready for the seemingly imminent influx of gym/recreational climbers that are new to the sport? It seems like we are getting to the point where, at some crags, bolts have been around long enough that they need to be replaced. How can the average climber help ease the transition period so that the crags remain both a safe and a clean space? (The Salathe Sweep project you just did with BD comes to mind). Or will the crags never be safe enough, and do people just need to accept that risk?

3. As a father, how do you anticipate that you will introduce Fitz to climbing? Are you at all concerned that your level of dedication will scare him away from the sport that you love if he's not ready to make a huge commitment to it as a kid? How can you mitigate that? (I ask as a hopeful future father, and also a husband who is hoping to make the transition from single pitch sport to, eventually, multipitch trad with my wife)
Gavin W
Joined Feb 19, 2015
134 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Somewhere on Prusik Peak.
You've been a rockstar in the climbing world for a long time. How does it feel to be catapulted into mainstream stardom? You were on the Wheaties box - what impact has this sudden fame had on your life? Nick Sweeney
From Spokane, WA
Joined Jun 8, 2013
672 points
Mar 2, 2016
Throughout history there have been numerous notable ascents, climbs that have redefined what is possible in the sport.

If you could have been a part of any climbing team in history which team would it be, and what is it about their climb that inspired you to choose them?
From Sandy, UT
Joined Nov 29, 2012
20 points
Mar 2, 2016
What drew you to climbing originally? For me, it was the adventure and how different it was. Now with more guidebooks being printed, gyms opening up and crags getting increasingly crowded, I feel like some of the uniqueness and adventure aspect has worn off. I went to my local crag last weekend and it was so crowded I almost didn't have fun (almost). I work for an outdoors program at a college and we have a climbing wall and are always pushing climbing trips and programs and classes. I guess what I'm getting at is how do you feel about the increasing popularity of climbing? Do you want to see as many people climbing as possible? Patrick Wilder
From Birmingham, Alabama
Joined May 20, 2015
1 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Running it out on easy slab. "Now where is th...
- With your recent, major accomplishments pushing into the mainstream and other ventures likely taking up more of your time, what do you envision as your future "lifestyle" in climbing, particularly with a growing family?

- You, many of your peers (Alex et al) and select younger climbers all appear to have embraced a different world "attitude" in regards to climbing. Eschewing the wild and rebellious "fight the man" days, the "new gen" seems to embrace a much more enlightened style of both climbing a lot but also using the medium to better the world around them. Do you think that's an accurate observation? Why the change?
From TX
Joined Jun 2, 2006
1,401 points
Mar 2, 2016
If you could sit down to a meal with any climber you wanted to, past or present, who would it be, what would you talk about, what would you be eating, and where would you be at?? Nicholas King 1
From Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Apr 14, 2014
22 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Top roping Bad Case of Gingervitus
Now that you sent the Dawn Wall, what is the "next big thing" for you and for the climbing world in general? Tim G.
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Sep 4, 2011
100 points
Mar 2, 2016
What do you think distinguishes you from the rest of the climbing community? What actions and opportunities brought you to this point? RkDav
From Bozeman
Joined Mar 30, 2011
45 points
Mar 2, 2016
What would your perfect climb be? If you could pick any kind of rock, style, length, location, moves, etc and combine them to make the most amazing line ever, what would it be like? Ben Wilbur
From Durango
Joined Jan 14, 2014
1 points
Mar 2, 2016
You have previously talked about how becoming a father has changed how you view the risks inherit to rock climbing. If at some future date your wife asked you to quit climbing, for the benefit of your family would you quit climbing or keep climbing because it is a part of you? jacob m s
From Provo, Utah
Joined Apr 19, 2011
111 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: black nasty
Have you ever beat Kelly Cordes in a margarita drinking competition?

If you had a baby girl, what mountain would you name her after, and why?

And last but not least.. Have you ever beaten you dad at arm wrestling?
Joined Mar 6, 2006
1,488 points
Mar 2, 2016
As a soon to be father myself, I am curious how the trials, joys, experiences, and memorable moments of your climbing career have influenced your role as a father. I imagine the experiences and highlights of your climbing career have in some way better prepared you for being a father, and inversely fatherhood complimenting and deepening your experience as a climber. How have these two aspects of your life enriched the experience in the other?

Nick B.
Joined Jun 8, 2015
35 points
Mar 2, 2016
Dear Tommy,
I feel like I can call you Tommy because you and me are so alike. I'd like to meet you one day, it would be great to give you a catch. I know I can't climb as hard as you but I think you'd be impressed with my speed. I love your hair, you climb fast. Did you have a good relationship with your father? Me neither. These are all things we can talk about and more. I hope you write back and we can become good friends. I am sure our relationship would be a real bold flash!
Matt C

Rock Climbing Photo: Sticker

Rock Climbing Photo: Another sticker
Another sticker
matt c.
Joined Nov 19, 2009
154 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: goats yah
Where do you want the world of climbing to be, in terms of progression, ethics, popularity, etc., by the time you leave it? What steps can be made to make this a reality? calebmmallory
From NC, Seattle, and Hong Kong
Joined Jun 5, 2015
379 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Aleks
climbing friend caldwell,

I very much like you please answer my question yes, because I very much like win free rope. Also you would inspire us all and many think of you as their own climbing friend.

Do you enjoy more the great satisfaction of the flash, or the satisfaction of the long and painful redpoint? I believe you option 2 but may you please tell why.

Do you enjoy fun time euro dance party?

Are you terrified to climb at rifle because your belayer periodically no hand the grigri, and indefinitely rest their hand on the device contrary to manufacturer instruction?

Do you think it better to include fingerboarding, or better to climb hard instead as much as possible instead? Would the repeater or the maximum single hang be better for massive crushing grip strength iron palm?

Does it ever get socially awkward during bivy on the dawn wall and how do you recommend handling?

I thank you
Aleks Zebastian
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 3, 2014
162 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: yep
Dear Tommy,
What's your most awkward portaledge story?
Gold Plated Rocket Pony
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 14, 2007
104 points
Mar 2, 2016

One hundred years from now, what do you see for the future of rock climbing and what concerns do you have?
Dave T
From Charlotte
Joined Oct 3, 2007
6 points
Mar 2, 2016
Many people seem to focus on the risk, but I'm more interested in the rewards (not riches). So, how has your sense of accomplishment/reward changed as your climbing career has matured? Do you feel like you are getting more from the sport now than when you first started?

PS. Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.
From People
Joined Apr 23, 2013
52 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit of Tiffany Mountain, Okanogan County, WA.
Aleks Zebastian wrote:
climbing friend caldwell, I very much like you please answer my question yes, because I very much like win free rope.

climbing friend aleks
i think that if you are of very bold flash of climbing rock, you do not need the rope, yes?
Gavin W
Joined Feb 19, 2015
134 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch 1 corrugation

What's your most favorite moderate crack climb of all time? And what sort of calisthenics do you always do to help keep you in shape?
dylan grabowski
From Oakland
Joined Mar 12, 2015
67 points
Mar 2, 2016

I would love to know what you think about when you think 5.16. Is it possible? Does it truly exist somewhere in the world? What does the future hold for the next generation of climbers and aspiring athletes. I honestly cannot think of another person who has pushed the limits of free climbing in the ways you have over the last ten years, there are few who have the knowledge, wisdom, and vision you do in the artistry of route development. So please, enlighten those of us who will never fully grasp the edge of possibility the way you have.

Thanks and cheers,

Unassigned User
Joined Dec 31, 1969
0 points
Mar 2, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: RRG, Send me on my way 5.9-
If you could only rope up with three climbers for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
Andy Million
From Murfreesboro TN
Joined Mar 25, 2012
91 points
Mar 2, 2016
With a career focused around a esoteric pasttime, do you ever feel that you could be doing something more important?

This is not to belittle you or your achievements, but do you ever consider changing to a career that adds societal value?

What does it look like to you to have a meaningful impact as a climber?
Joined Sep 30, 2015
15 points

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