posted by dpm on 03/14/2013
America's trad climbing dream team, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold, had a big day in Zion National Park, Utah. In a 16-hour push, they managed to free climb four walls: Sheer Lunacy, Moonlight Buttress, Touchstone Wall, and Spaceshot.
Sheer Lunacy served as the warm-up. The route is about 800 feet tall, with approximately 8 pitches. Three of them are 5.11 and the crux is 5.12b. The rest are what Alex would likely refer to as "scrambling."
Next up was probably the most sustained route of the day, Moonlight Buttress. Ten pitches cover 1200 feet of splitter cracks and corners. The upper stretch of the route has six 5.12 pitches in a row including the 5.12d crux pitch. This route has been free-soloed by Alex "no big deal" Honnold.
Caldwell and Honnold on the Touchstone Wall, route three of four during their Zion link-up. Photo: John Dickey/Facebook
The 900-foot Touchstone Wall was next, involving mostly moderate climbing aside from the 5.13b crux pitch. Then they finished up with the 1000-foot Spaceshot, another mostly moderate climb with a 5.13a crux pitch and some additional dicey, hard climbing.
This all adds up to about 4000 feet of excellent desert crack climbing for the superhuman pair. Caldwell remarked on Facebook that it left his fingers pretty swollen while Honnold called the day "super fun." It was probably a bit less painful than their Yosemite trifecta free-climb which they pulled off in May of last year. That link-up involved about 7500 feet of free climbing up to 5.13a over 21 hours, linking El Capitan, Mt. Watkins, and Half Dome.