“It’s very rare in life that you get to witness people really pushing it to the limit, and to have a front seat,” says adventure photographer Corey Rich (@coreyrichproductions). For the past three weeks, he’s been hanging thousands of feet over the floor of California’s Yosemite Valley, documenting pro climbers Tommy Caldwell (@tommycaldwell) and Kevin Jorgeson (@kjorgeson) as they’ve made their way up the granite face of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall. Using ropes only for safety, the pair made history this week by charting and completing a route that is widely considered the most difficult climb ever attempted.
Tommy has been attempting the climb for the past six years, and Kevin joined him in 2009. Corey began documenting the quest up the Dawn Wall when the project first began, and over time they’ve all become close friends. “There’s something special about photographing the people you really care about and traveling and surfing and suffering and sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles together for weeks on end,” Corey explains. “It makes you close, and there’s overlap in our lifestyles and passions. That’s pretty unique.”
Even though the feat is complete, Corey stresses that the spirit of adventure extends beyond the face of the cliff. “I think if people take one thing away from this, it’s find adventure in your life,” he says. “It’s about unknown outcome, taking calculated risks and trying to make something beautiful out of that. Enjoy that experience, enjoy the ride.”
—Please give us your thoughts on the end of recording for season two, “GRANDE ROAD.”
Sakamichi and Manami, who were riding behind us seniors up until now, but conversely in season two, it turned about to be us who were being pulled. Seeing these young kids grow before my very own eyes, it was not only Jinpachi, but myself as well who was pulled along, which gave the workplace a strong impact.
—Being the last Inter High of his high-school career, what kind of race did it turn out to be for Toudou?
In terms of results it was a regrettable ranking, but there is no doubt that he went all out. He also probably thought that as a third year, it would be okay to leave the emotions they connected together to the juniors. I think it was a race with no regrets, where they were able to find the proper place to leave those feelings.
—As a fellow climber, how does Toudou think of his junior, Manami?
Jinpachi surprisingly is very aware of his surroundings, so I believe he instantaneously took notice of Manami’s talent and acknowledged him. However, he only sees Maki-chan as his rival, so even though Manami is also a climber, tends to give him advice with no hesitation. That is what makes Jinpachi so interesting.
—Please tell us about the highlights from the new scenes in “Re:ROAD.”
Something noteworthy is how they step away from road bikes and return to being regular students with innocent expressions and high-school student-like cuteness. During Inter High their bond as friends is depicted, but in the new scenes it isn’t as teammates, but their closeness as friends that is conveyed.
—What was it like at the recording studio?
As a team we became one, and for the first time in a while were able to record with the members we fought against. Even though we aren’t the main team, having us also featured made me really happy, and being entrusted in this way made us all delighted.
—What sort of expectations do you have for Toudou and Makishima from now on?
I want the two of them to go on to become pros, turning into climbers fighting to become the top in Japan. And then Sakamichi and Manami see that and also aim to become pros. That is the type of development I yearn for. Really intense battles unfolded at Inter High, so one day with the world as their stage, I’d like for them to go against people from other countries. Also because I myself came from overseas (laughs).
—Please tell us about your enthusiasm towards “Yowamushi Pedal the Movie,” the original story to be released in August.
In any case, I want Jinpachi to make an appearance! Since he’s an appealing character who, while usually acting as the team’s mood-maker, shows his heated side during races, it would be great to be able to transmit Jinpachi’s charm to the many fans of “Yowamushi Pedal” in August’s movie as well. So, please ask for Jinpachi to appear (laughs)!
—Lastly, please give a message to the rest of your cast/colleagues.
I feel that the reason that this piece of work was able to be loved by so many people is due to the love of the “Yowamushi Pedal” staff, those who casted us, and everyone (in the cast)’s passion when breathing life into their characters. It was truly an honor being able to take part in “Yowamushi Pedal” with you all. Thank you very much.
Photo @ladzinski / Pro climber @kjorgeson is most well known for his historic free climb of the #DawnWall in Yosemite earlier in the year with partner @tommycaldwell. In an effort to reset, Kevin has been sampling hawaii’s deep water soloing this week, climbing without a rope over the warm blue waters of the pacific. With the hurricane in effect it’s been an interesting time on the lava cliffs to say the least. The swell can pick up unpredictably at times and the smashing waves on the cliffs is a pretty unsettling, especially if you’re where Kevin is! by natgeo