First of all, it’s awesome to see bouldering get some attention and have it be well explained in the mainstream media. Secondly, I thought I would share a story of a time when I was in Yosemite, bouldering with Tommy Caldwell.
At the time I wasn’t even aware that Tommy bouldered much, but his strength was obvious as he would run daily laps on difficult Valley testpieces Thriller V10 and The Force V11. I was with Angela Payne and she was trying to do a rare female ascent of Midnight Lightning. Tommy gave us a great warmup tour of the boulders in Camp 4. We took a little break and eventually made our way over to the famous problem. Our campsite was about 100ft away. We grabbed our pads and Tommy went to get his. It soon became apparent to the camping climbers that not only were people about to climb on Midnight Lightning, Tommy Caldwell was about to climb on this problem and a whispering crowd gathered around. Tommy assured us he had several methods and I was confident he demonstrate with flawless execution. We arranged the pads, Tommy confidently chalked up, pulled up on the starting holds, and his foot slipped unexpectedly and he totally just ate it. There may have been a collective gasp from the crowd, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Check out this video of Tommy Caldwell cruising Midnight Lightning in Yosemite, with a sound byte from first ascentionist Ron Kauk.