posted by dpm on 06/18/2012
Alex Honnold and Hans Florine have shaved 13 minutes off of the previous speed record on the Nose of El Capitan. Their final time was a lightning quick 2 hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds. Looking back through the history of speed ascents of the Nose, you'll see that at first, days got shaved off the time. Then, through the 80's and 90's, each record took an hour or more off the old record. Over the past decade, it seemed that just minutes or seconds were being shaved off: 2:48:50 in 2002, 2:48:35 in 2007, 2:43:33 in 2008, and finally the Potter/Leary record of 2:36:45 in 2010.
After Hans and Alex almost broke the record on a 'practice' run last Friday, I expected they'd come away with a new record yesterday. I thought that maybe they'd even be able to break the 2.5 hour mark which is a huge milestone. Taking 13 minutes off of the old record, like they did, may not seem like that much time but at this point in the game, it's shattering. It looks like 2 hours may represent the 4-minute mile...and even that looks achievable now. Congrats to Hans and Alex on a huge accomplishment.
Hans Florine posted a picture of the rack they took on the record breaking ascent. It differs only slightly from what they took last Friday on their final practice run. After that practice run, Hans offered some details of the logistics on his Facebook page:
I led from the ground to the end of Sickle and got my rack replenished there during the pendelum over to Dolt Hole Crack. Then led all the way to Eagle with that replenishment.
Alex led from Eagle to camp 5 and got a rack replenishment there and then led off the top with no other gear
We had a minute delay removing a cam in the gray bands. and a minute delay as I was slow going up into the changing corners pitch. -Yes, Alex had to wait for me!
Alex simul climbed the whole bottom half except the last 120 ft of the Stove legs.
I simul climed to the great roof. I jugged the great roof, I climbed the pancake flake, jugged from there to the base of Camp 5. Jugged from there to the ledge 80 ft below Camp 6. Climbed until 40 ft above camp 6. jugged to the block belay. simul climbed from there off.
probably will simul climb a touch more on the next go or Sunday.
The above rack looks minimal for even a single 100-foot pitch. According to Hans' explanation, they only swap gear 3 times. The entire route is climbed in 4 blocks with Hans taking the first two blocks to Eagle Ledge and Alex leading from Eagle to the top with only one rack replenishment at Camp 5. I wish I could have seen it go down like Tom Evans who snapped some great photos. Check out his El Cap Report for June, 17 for all the pictures of the ascent.