Climber Tommy Caldwell packs Donovan Pavilion in Vail |

Climber Tommy Caldwell packs Donovan Pavilion in Vail

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society
On Jan. 17, Vail Symposium hosted big wall climber Tommy Caldwell at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail where he spoke about his journey of endurance, risk and going beyond limits.
Photos by Betty Ann Woodland | Special to the Daily |

At the Donovan Pavilion in Vail on Jan. 17, Vail Symposium along with The Bookworm of Edwards and Vail Public Library, hosted climber Tommy Caldwell during the Unlimited Adventure Series event.

If you have not heard by now, then Vail Symposium is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that has been part of the life and history of Vail since 1971. Vail Symposium’s mission is to provide educational programs for the Vail Valley community that are thought-provoking, diverse and affordable. Advanced tickets for this presentation were only $10.

The mood was upbeat as well more than 200 attendees filtered into the Donovan Pavilion eager to hear Caldwell weave tales of climbing, life lessons and personal challenges. Many in attendance were climbers themselves. There was a good turnout of young climbers from the local clubs and schools.

Jimmy Green said, “This is awesome. Tommy is the Michael Jordan of climbing.”

‘The Push’

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More than 60 people waited in line to meet Caldwell after his entertaining presentation and get their copy of his book, “The Push,” signed by the author.

In his book, Caldwell describes his climb of Yosemite’s nearly vertical 3,000-foot Dawn Wall that took 19 days to conquer along with his partner, Kevin Jorgeson. Caldwell’s odds-defying feat was the culmination of an entire lifetime of pushing himself to his limits as an athlete. Hiking and climbing Colorado’s high peaks with his father and spending lots of time outdoors with his family groomed him for his career as a professional climber.

“The Push” is full of stories of hardship, heartbreak, personal triumphs and tragedies. It is well written and a great read for all ages and climbers and non-climbers alike. You can find “The Push” at The Bookworm of Edwards.

The Vail Symposium continues its interesting programs with a two-day event on Jan. 24-25 addressing geopolitical concerns in a time of uncertainty. For its full list of programs, visit http://www.vail

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can reached at

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