Tommy Caldwell tried for more than two weeks to beat the Dawn Wall and it didn’t make it. So yeah, it’s hard as hell.
Rock climbing is a sport in which pain and frustration tend to serve only to motivate. Torn hands, shredded forearms and gnarled toes, unnoticed along the way, appear only a few hours later in camp, the bar or in Caldwell’s case, when comfortably secure in a port-a-ledge next to your wife. You realize then that those small cuts and bruises and punches to your ego are meager reminders of what fueled you from the beginning. They become trophies. Exhaustion is your summit flag. And then it’s on to the next one, fingers be damned.