How Climbing With Alex Megos Helped Tommy Caldwell On The Dawn Wall
When we brought together Tommy Caldwell, Hazel Findlay, Emily Harrington and Alex Megos for the Epic Climber project, we were really excited to see how four diverse climbers would interact in different settings and what, if anything, they would learn from each other. What we did not expect was for Tommy, easily the most experienced member of the group to be taking notes from young gun Alex Megos. However, talking with Tommy after the event, he told us that was exactly what had happened.
EpicTV: What appealed to you most about getting involved with Epic Climber?
TC: Hanging out in an epic place, climbing epic things with cool people.
EpicTV: Cool people indeed! Which of the other climbers did you learn the most from during the project?
TC: Alex Megos is a total bone crusher with a scientific training approach. He reminded me about the urgency you feel when you are young. I also got a few training tips from him that I put into use in the months after the event and which eventually led to helping me out on the Dawn Wall.
EpicTV: That sounds like a pretty positive triumvirate to us. Has your time in Chamonix inspired you to return to tackle other objectives in the Alps?
TC: Every time I come to Cham I tell myself I need to move there for a year.
EpicTV: You might need more than a year! There's enough climbing in and around the valley to keep most people busy for decades. Not to mention all the skiing! How do you think it compares to the other places you've climbed?
TC: It's diverse and beautiful. The lift access element makes it unique in my world. The history is rich. It's one of the best for sure.
The cable car system, so integral for the ski scene in Chamonix, also gives unparalleled access to some of the best alpine climbing anywhere on the planet. The famed Aiguille du Midi lift, pictured above, is actually France's second most popular tourist attraction behind only the Eiffel Tower. The cars often carry a mixed load, including tourists eager for the panoramic views, skiers looking to access the Vallée Blanche and climbers out to sample the very best of alpine climbing.
EpicTV: One last thing before we leave you, we've talked a lot about Chamonix and how great Alex Megos is, but what's the one moment you remember most from your time on Epic Climber?
TC: The most memorable moment was when the drone malfunctioned, took out the trophy and plopped into the hot tub with the four of us sitting in it!
EpicTV: Somehow we knew you'd say that! We might be really excited about the potential for drones in climbing filming here at EpicTV, but even we haven't worked out all the kinks!
If you'd like to see more of the climbing around Chamonix including plenty of inspiring moments from Tommy, Alex, Emily and Hazel, be sure to keep up to date with the series as it unfolds here.