Staff Report

Legendary rock climber Tommy Caldwell – who made history when he and his climbing partner ascended the Dawn Wall, the unthinkably blank 3,000-foot face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – will discuss his unconventional rise to the top in an illustrated public lecture titled “The Push: A Climber’s Search for the Path” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at UCSB Campbell Hall.

The event is sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

In his early 20s, Caldwell was held hostage by militants in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, where he nearly killed his captors in order to escape. Soon after, he lost his left index finger in an accident. Later his wife, and main climbing partner, left him.

Emerging from these hardships with renewed determination, he set his sights on free climbing El Capitan’s biggest, steepest, blankest face – the Dawn Wall. This epic assault took more than seven years of planning and preparation, during which time Caldwell found love again, became a father and redefined the sport.

Caldwell and climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson spent 19 days living on the side of El Capitan, igniting global media frenzy and inspiring millions. The climb is also the subject of a new documentary, “The Dawn Wall,” an official selection of both the SXSW Film Festival and IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the world’s oldest and most prestigious documentary-only festival.

Tickets for $30 will include a copy of Caldwell’s book, while they are available. Other tickets are $20 general admission and $10 for all students.

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805- 893-3535 or visit