1115: The Amazing Adventures of Tommy Caldwell, Star of Netflix’s The Dawn Wall

Sep 09, 2019
1115: The Amazing Adventures of Tommy Caldwell, Star of Netflix’s The Dawn Wall

In this episode, Sal, Adam and Justin speak with Tommy Caldwell, star of Netflix’s The Dawn Wall. Tommy has had an amazing life filled with adventure and danger from the time he was a small child. Held hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan, overcoming a potentially career-ending accident and scaling the Dawn Wall of El Capitan are just of few of the stories he tells in this fascinating interview.

  • How rock climbers are their own filmmakers. (4:40)
  • What has been the impact of Dawn Wall? (8:20)
  • Finding strength in yourself: Tommy’s relationship with his father growing up and how he inherited his ‘joyful masochism’ mentality. (9:42)
  • The harrowing hostage situation he experienced while in Kyrgyzstan. (14:15)
  • The moral dilemma he experienced post escaping. (31:20)
  • When we think we are at our breaking point, we are not even close. (33:20)
  • What has the transition been like being in the public spotlight? (38:00)
  • The liberating feeling of taking away all expectations. The potentially career-ending accident he overcame. (39:00)
  • The differences between ‘big free wall’ climbing vs. regular rock climbing. (43:12)
  • How climbing a ‘big wall’ is like learning a second language. (45:30)
  • The adventure of a lifetime: His 7-year journey to ‘summit’ the Dawn Wall. (47:00)
  • Being addicted to the stimulus. (51:14)
  • The camaraderie amongst the climbing community. (52:29)
  • Does he find normal life boring? (56:20)
  • The different levels of ‘flow state’. (57:15)
  • The dangers and performance level attributes associated with climbing. (59:05)
  • The 3 climbing disciplines that will be in the 2020 Olympics. (1:03:35)
  • How does a climber survive financially? (1:05:30)
  • The bill and ‘becoming the messenger’ to protect the Arctic from drilling. (1:08:58)
  • The meaning behind his new film, Reel Rock 14. (1:11:56)
  • How did Netflix get ahold of The Dawn Wall? (1:14:12)

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