What does it take to conquer, to persevere, and to finally reach your summit – figurative or literal? Try asking James Whittle or Tom Caulfield, better known as The Tempest Two. After completing what many would consider a ludicrous journey, 54 days in length, in which they sailed a row boat 3000 miles from one side of the Atlantic to the other, you could say their thirst for adventure was firmly established.
To accomplish something so completely unimaginable without a doubt changes a person, and we wanted not just to understand their drive, but help them achieve their next goal. That next goal happened to be just as staggering as the first – scaling El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, arguably one of the world’s most famous and arduous mountain climbs.
We at fourfivecbd know that with the right drive, support, and diligence, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. This is the drive behind our CBD products – to help you rest, recover and rise so you can overcome and achieve the seemingly impossible. We wanted to help James and Tom reach their phenomenal potential (again) to showcase the benefits of adding CBD to their training regime. Below they have shared their story with us and with you.
6.10am, 28th October – El Capitan Meadow
Today is the day. It’s 6.10am and -2 degrees Celsius in the valley of Yosemite National Park in California. We are standing staring upwards at the 3000ft granite rock face in front of us.
We’re headed to the base of El Capitan to begin our climb up one of the most famous rock climbs in the world – “The Nose”. We are just waiting for the mist to lift. We have been training for this for the last 18 months in the UK and intensely over the last month here in the valley. We have met some incredible people along the way to help us in our journey, from all-star free-soloist Alex Honnold, to the generic dirt bagger from Camp 4, both playing a vital role in educating us through our journey to be here.
And there’s another team player in the mix – fourfivecbd. We made the decision to add their 0% THC CBD Oil to our training, and they’ve been with us through our ups and downs, every step of the way. With their airtight CO2 extraction process and rigorous 3rd party lab testing, they can guarantee that no trace of THC remains in this CBD oil.
With fourfivecbd, we can get the benefits of CBD’s therapeutic properties without running the risk of artificially enhancing our performance. As athletes, this is above all else imperative to us – we want to prove that with the right support, the right drives, the right mindset, we can all accomplish great things.
With their refined and sophisticated extraction method, their 0% THC CBD oil is rigorously by undergoing two lab tests for each batch manufactured.
It’s overwhelming the amount of information required in not just getting ourselves up the wall, but pulling a 40kg bag up with us too. Every system has multiple procedures, all of which open up more opportunities for failure and danger. Knots, ropes, loops, protection, people, this was going to be interesting…
Today we aim to reach the ledge of El Cap Tower by early evening, giving us time to rest, eat and get some sleep ahead of a massive day 2.
2am, 29th October – El Cap Tower Ledge (Yes, 2:00 in the AM)
Before ‘bed’, if you can call it that, we made sure to use fourfivecbd’s CBD Balm to help our skin recover too. After climbing for more hours than we could remember, our skin was pretty cracked, chafed, red. So on goes the CBD Balm to hopefully get some healing in before heading off on the next challenge.
Well that didn’t quite go to plan. Our early evening arrival expectations were dashed over and over as the bag of kit continuously got stuck, the climbing continually challenged us, and we gripped to ledges for hours on end. The wind was gusting so hard we couldn’t hear each other, and those vital calls for safety were lost somewhere on the face of El Cap.
The beautiful climbing pitches of the splitter crack “Stovelegs” provided hours of entertainment and fear in equal measure. We finally made it past Dolt Tower and eventually up to El Cap Tower for around 1.30am, only 8 solid hours behind schedule.
We were thrilled to be met with the smiling faces and good vibes of the legends Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, and Austin Siadak (who had their own journey on their hands in the form of a First Free Ascent elsewhere on this giant piece of rock). For now, we try to keep our voices down, eat some food, get the 0% THC into our systems quickly to help our muscles recover, and get some rest on this dinner table sized ledge ahead of tomorrow.
There is somehow 6 of us on here and it actually feels great to finally be able to relax and rest from the madness of the day.
7am, 30th October – Emergency Bivi Somewhere Near Camp 5
WHAT. AN. EPIC. WAKE UP.
After being woken up on the ledge by a BASE jumper at dawn, we spent a large portion of the morning chatting with Alex, Tommy, and Austin. We knew we had a big day ahead, but how often do you get the chance to chat with the true greats in their sport?
This was a perfect opportunity for us to soak in some final words of wisdom ahead of our huge day, which involved some of the classic sections of the Nose, tackling the King Swing, Great Roof, and Pancake Flake.
The King Swing was first up – A 100ft Pendulum, 1500ft off the ground, that we needed to scale in order to reach a new crack system and progress. It was a surreal feeling sprinting and jumping across the rock at breakneck speeds, relying purely on one piece of rope and trusting a knot tied by Tommy with my life. Knowing Tommy’s ability to tie knots, to be honest, was the main source of fear!
We made some good progress, but before we knew it the sun went down, and we still had 600 vertical feet to navigate. One thing we hadn’t anticipated was the non-stop nature of this ascent. There is ALWAYS something to be doing, whether it is climbing, hauling, cleaning the gear, flaking the ropes out, untangling the systems, eating, drinking enough water, un-sticking the bag etc. Because of this, when the sun goes down, time becomes warped and it was 4am before we looked at our watch again.
8 hours of non-stop climbing since sunset with no breaks. We were nowhere near our target of Camp 6, and had to start thinking about Camp 5 as our next best option. Fatigue was starting to affect our ability and safety by this point.
After freeing the bag from behind yet another flake we eventually made it to camp 5 at 5am… it was full. Considering Camp 5 is the size of a Mini Cooper’s bonnet, it only takes a couple of people to fill it. We had to make due with 2 pizza tray sized seats around a corner on the edge of the cliff, sitting bolt upright.
It was certainly one of the more surreal places to “sleep” and we managed about 40 minutes before waking to the sun once again, realising the ridiculous exposure immediately. It was time to press on with day 3.
8pm – 31st October – The Summit of El Capitan
The moment we have been waiting for… and it feels slightly anti-climatic to be honest.
I think that this may be down to a combination of pure fatigue and knowing we have a treacherous 3 hour descent ahead of us. We were on the face of El Capitan for 72 hours, awake and climbing for 66 of those. This isn’t a great ratio when the experience is the most intense of your life and you still have to scramble down the east ledges, rappel 1000ft, and hike back down to the base.
That being said, we are full of pride and relief at this moment. Our final day was a total whirlwind, the exposure hit us like a bus as we woke up, which made simple movements and systems full of fear and trepidation. We were especially thankful for the benefits of fourfive’s 0% THC CBD Oil at this point. It’s at times like these, when you need a clear head as well as a body that functions the way you’ve trained it to, that CBD’s benefits really shine.
It’s incredible how exposure affects your mindset. We pressed on early from camp 5 to try and ensure we made the summit with a determination that surpassed our expectations.
The final pitch is one of the most exposed places I have, or will, ever be. At 3000ft off the base of El Capitan you are dangling in space, with nothing but air underneath you. The sun had set about half an hour prior. We had now become the head torches on the upper face of El Cap that we so frequently envied (and feared for) from the valley.
Our bodies were absolutely battered, our minds were content and buzzing, but we were fatigued beyond belief. Our achievement hadn’t hit us yet and we were conscious that the majority of accidents in climbing happen on the descent when the “job has been done”…
10am – 1st November – Yosemite Valley
It is the morning after, and we are now beginning to appreciate what we accomplished. The descent was as expected – slow, loose and unsettling. Tommy took a couple of spills on the ledges that a few metres further down would have been a very different story.
When we look back at El Cap now, or see pictures of it, it is hard to believe we summited. On reflection, the three days on the face of El Capitan were absolutely incredible, but the 18 months beforehand were where the real progress happened – the climb up the Nose was merely an outcome of all the work put in.
We are already having exciting conversations about what we are planning next, and that, for us, is the point – seeking constant growth and learning in adventures we can’t do… yet.
Our Journey with fourfivecbd
We have come to value a few key things throughout our time training and on all of our adventures, and routine is one of our most important keys to success. The small things that we so often take for granted are responsible for the accomplishment of our larger goals.
Consistent training, health, diet, sleep and a purposeful attitude will pay off, we guarantee it. There are a few things we trust to help contribute in these areas and fourfivecbd is just that – trustworthy, made using methods that are redefining the CBD industry, and above all safe, THC free, and pure.
We saw the daily benefits of this small addition to our routine, and the results were unbelievable. For muscle recovery and for a supplement that simply works to help you achieve your ultimate best, we are convinced you’ll notice the difference it makes.
Our routine will continue as we endeavour to take on more and more, and fourfivecbd will be a huge part of that, 100%.