This past week, like millions around the world, I spent hours following Tommy and Kevin's free ascent of the Dawn Wall in the media. The buzz surrounding the ascent was remarkable to watch unfold in real time. Both climbers were on Twitter posting messages and photos from the wall during their ascent. These were soon picked up by traditional media outlets and it wasn't long before TV and mainstream media including, the New York Times, ABC, NBC, the Guardian and others set up operations in El Cap meadows. There was even streaming video. It was great to watch such a worthy rock climbing ascent unfolding live and to know that the climb captivated and inspired both climbers and non-climbers around the world.
Back in 1988 I spent a month and a half documenting Todd Skinner and Paul Piana's free ascent of the Salathe, the first route to be freed on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, I was the only media on the wall covering their ascent. There was no
media in the meadows covering the ascent, no iPhone or social media (since they didn't exist at the time), there was me and friends on the valley floor watching the climbers progress and giving them a nightly radio call with a weather report. Initially the first reports about the successful free ascent was word of