If you’re tapped into the climbing world at all you’ll know that Alex Honnold has had a fairly eventful spring. First came a trip through California’s Yosemite Valley with Tommy Caldwell in mid-May when the pair linked free ascents of the South Face of Mt. Watkins, Free Rider on El Capitan, and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome in a record-breaking time of 21 hours and 15 minutes.
To put things in perspective, many accomplished climbers dream of just making it to the top of these routes. A standard time for getting up the 2000-ft (609 meters) South Face of Mt Watkins, rated 5.13a, is generally 2-3 days. Free Rider on El Capitan is 2900 feet (883 meters), rated 5.12d, and is generally climbed in four days. The Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome is 2000 feet (609 meters), rated 5.12 or 5.9 C1 and also takes four days.
Yes, that’s right. What takes most solid climbers 10 days or more (without rest days between routes) was climbed by Honnold and Caldwell in less than a day.
A few days later, Honnold shattered his own record by soloing the same routes, known as the Yosemite Triple Crown, in just 18 hours.
But that wasn’t the end to Alex’s little climbing holiday. In mid-June, Honnold roped up with Hans Florine to break the speed record on another El Capitan classic, The Nose. The pair sped up the 2,900-foot (883 meter) 5.9 C1 line in 2:23:46. And no, that’s not 2 days and 23 hours, it’s 2 hours, 23 minutes, 46 seconds. The average time to climb this route is … drum roll, please … five days.
Hard to believe, right? EpicTV Weekly thought so too and on this Thursday’s show we’ll be skyping in to the guy that über-alpinist Jimmy Chin called, “Undoubtedly the greatest free soloist who has ever lived.” So watch for EpicTV Weekly #8 (published late afternoon Friday, 22 June) and if you have any questions for Alex, boost ‘em up on our Facebook page and we’ll throw them out to him.
Sources: Alex Honnold, Alpinist.com, SuperTopo.com