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April 15, 2015 - Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy - Mass of Installation

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April 20, 2015

art Robert McElroyHOMILY - In January of this year, America was riveted for nine days as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson set out to accomplish a task that for over wall of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Free climbing means using only one’s hands and feet to ascend a rock’s natural features, while employing ropes and other gear only to stop a fall. For two years Tommy and Kevin had mapped out their strategy for conquering each of the thirty two pitches, or sections of El Capitan, ingeniously creating routes that relied upon a miniscule number of natural crevices in the almost sheer granite of the dawn wall. Over these two years, they had forged both a deep friendship and a mutual partnership that relied at some moments on Tommy’s greater skill in climbing and at other moments on Kevin’s optimism and athleticism. They began their climb as a team and resolved that no matter what happened they would complete it as a team. Over the first six days they made it up fourteen grueling pitches, and on the seventh day Tommy Caldwell, the more experienced climber, made it up the fifteenth pitch, which is the most treacherous section of the dawn wall. But Kevin Jorgesen remained trapped on the fifteenth pitch. For the next four days he fell time and again in his effort to overcome the flawlessly smooth face of this most difficult section of El Capitan. Now time became the enemy for both climbers, because the longer they remain exposed on the wall the more likely that a bad weather front would move in and end the climb for both of them.

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