Tommy Caldwell

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Legendary Rock Climber

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New & Noteworthy Tommy Caldwell stars in the award-winning documentaries "Free Solo" and "The Dawn Wall"

Tommy Caldwell: Biography at a Glance

  • Tommy Caldwell is widely recognized as one of the best big-wall rock climbers in the world, known for his death-defying free ascents of some of the world’s hardest climbs
  • Set a historic speed record when he reached the top of Yosemite's largest wall in under two hours
  • Completed the historic first free ascent of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall, alongside Kevin Jorgeson, which is considered the hardest climb in the world
  • Starred in the award-winning documentaries Free Solo and The Dawn Wall, which have both received overwhelming critical acclaim around the world
  • Escaped captors after being kidnapped on a climbing expedition in Kyrgyzstan
  • Author of The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits
  • Named one of National Geographic’s "Adventurers of the Year"



Tommy Caldwell is widely recognized as one of the best big-wall rock climbers in the world, known for his death-defying free ascents of some of the world’s hardest climbs.

After a seven-year quest to find a way to free climb the steepest, blankest face of Yosemite’s monolithic El Capitan, Tommy, along with partner Kevin Jorgeson, finally stood atop the Dawn Wall with the world watching. Even President Barack Obama was moved by their 19-day climb, stating, “You remind us that anything is possible.”

To accomplish the seemingly impossible feat, Tommy and Kevin spent 19 days living on the side of the 3,000 foot cliff of El Capitan, slowly but surely making their way with nothing but their grit, determination, and first class skill keeping them moving upward. The story became a global inspiration, garnering over 34 billion media impressions, and was covered by every major news outlet, including The New York Times, National Geographic, TIME, Vanity Fair, Good Morning America, CNN, ESPN, and more.

On June 6, 2018, Tommy and his partner accomplished another seemingly impossible feat - climbing the 3,000-foot Nose route of El Capitan in 1 hour 58 minutes and 7 seconds.

Tommy’s father, a bodybuilding mountain guide, set out to show him the wonder of their backyard, the Colorado Rockies. By age twelve Tommy knew the pungent smell of a building electrical storm and the deep-down contentment felt after a twenty-hour day spent engaged in the grandeur of the mountains.

Tommy was establishing the hardest roped climbs in the United States as a teenager and quickly rose to the top of the competition circuit. His childhood in the mountains beckoned him to bigger climbing objectives. On an expedition to southwest Kyrgyzstan in 2000 Tommy and three other climbers were taken hostage. For six days they survived on no food and little water and eventually escaped when Tommy pushed their remaining captor off of a cliff and they ran 10 miles to a military outpost. “That experience completely changed my view of the world. I was given a glimpse into the power of the human will. I knew that we are capable of so much more than most of us can imagine.” 

Tommy returned from Kyrgyzstan with a need to explore his perceived limits and found El Capitan to be the perfect canvas. Just one year after his hostage epic Tommy had a home remodeling accident and cut off his index finger with a table saw. This only increased his resolve and pushed Tommy to become the world’s most proficient big wall free climber.

After free climbing the most routes on El Capitan, including many first ever ascents, Tommy ultimately came to the seemingly impossible Dawn Wall, never yet dared to be free climbed. It was obvious this climb couldn’t be accomplished alone. Tommy knew the route required the strength of a partnership. Kevin Jorgeson joined the efforts and they started to tackle the project move by move. “For years we mostly failed, but occasionally we would make breakthroughs. As a team we became stronger than I ever could have been on my own.” 

Tommy was named one of National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year” in 2014.

In 2017, Tommy penned the inspiring memoir, "The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits."

"We got close enough to their achievement to share it, and that’s enough to make anyone want to shoot the moon." - Variety


Discover Your Dawn Wallarrow-down

The feat was years in the making. Known as one of the most difficult free climbs in the world, the Dawn Wall has defeated many climbers. Professional rock climbers Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell set out to conquer the wall, refusing to leave until they reached the towering 3,000-foot summit. This incredible story inspires all who followed the 19-day ascent to seek out and climb their own challenges; to find their own Dawn Wall.


Tommy and Kevin did so much for Samsung during their time at the conference. We really appreciated that their storyline was so well told and received by the guests. They have a lot of fans at Samsung.


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