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Tommy Caldwell, Texting During the Climb up El Capitan in Yosemite


Texting in Unusual Contexts:  For more than two weeks in November 2011 climber Tommy Caldwell lived on a nylon ledge hung 1,200 feet up El Capitan, the massive sweep of granite standing sentinel over Yosemite Valley. 

"One of the world’s best all-around rock climbers, he slept on the ledge, cooked on the ledge and went to the bathroom into a receptacle hanging below the ledge. And at the top of this solitary, silent sport, he was being watched by thousands of spectators around the world. . . .

"Caldwell updated his progress on Facebook using his iPhone, which he charged with portable solar panels on the wall. His fans, more than 4,000 of whom he accumulated during his climb, could follow along in real time with commentary from the climber himself. No need to wait days, weeks or months for a print article or video. The Dawn Wall, as Caldwell’s project is known, is the latest example of what has become an increasingly accepted practice among professional climbers and the wider climbing community: from-the-route social media. Observers enjoy it, sponsors encourage it and climbers get to share what is inherently a selfish pursuit" (

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