Growing up in Loveland, Colorado, Tommy’s parents instilled in him a love of nature and climbing at a young age. Family trips to Yosemite nurtured his fascination with mountain peaks and a deep connection to the outdoors. As he began to develop as a climber, he would face two intense, life-altering scenarios that could have easily ended his burgeoning career. Rather than breaking him, they became pivot points that would only serve to motivate him to become his best.
While on an expedition in Kyrgyzstan in 2000, Tommy and three fellow climbers were captured and held hostage by rebels for 6 days until Tommy overtook a lone guard, pushed him off a cliff, and freed his fellow captives. One year later, in 2001, a carpentry accident left Caldwell with one of his fingers severely injured. Doctors told him he would never be able to have the use of his finger again, so he elected to have it removed. Despite this incredible adversity early in his career, Tommy would go on to become one of the world’s best all-around climbers.
Tommy’s career includes an incredible collection of feats, including many first ascents of some of the most challenging climbs in history. First ascent climbs like Kryptonite and Flex Luthor at the Fortress of Solitude in Colorado cemented his emerging status as an elite climber but it was his efforts on his adopted home turf of El Capitan in Yosemite where he would become a legend. By the late 2000s Caldwell had already completed first ascents of some of El Capitan’s most intense walls, but in 2015 he took it up another level when he and fellow climber Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall after 6 years of planning and preparation. At the time their 19-day ascent was considered by some as the hardest successful rock climb in history and was chronicled in the the documentary “The Dawn Wall”, released in 2018. Tommy also featured prominently in the Academy Award-winning documentary “Free Solo” as he helped his fellow climber and close friend Alex Honnold prepare for his history-making free solo climb of El Capitan in 2018.
Today Tommy has settled into life as a husband and father in Estes Park, Colorado, where he continues to focus on elevating the sport. Still an intense competitor and elite climber, Tommy continues to push himself both physically and mentally, while serving as a role model to the sport’s latest generation of champions, including fellow Champions + Legends athlete ambassador Adam Ondra. We are proud to partner with Tommy as he continues to push the sport of climbing higher and further.
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