Nik Berry: Third Ascent of El Capitan's Prophet (5.13d)

posted by dpm on 06/01/2012


Nik Berry has pulled off the third ascent of El Capitan's Prophet. First climbed by Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles in October of 2010, the first ascent of the route was ten years in the making. Leo and Jason originally went ground up on the line that has difficulties of runout 5.13b and well-protected 5.13d.  Read more about their first ascent here.

Last November, Sonnie Trotter and Will Stanhope claimed the second ascent, also after quite an effort. Good info on their efforts can be found here and you can watch a video of them clowning around on the wall here.

Will Stanhope on the Prophet (5.13d)

Nik was accompanied on his ascent by Madeleine Sorkin, who reported the news on her blog. She writes,  "We spent the last two days climbing the route from the ground. His hard working days (fixing and mini-tractioning the route) leading up the effort coupled with an indomitable level of psyche paid off. Nik floated most of the climb his first try. The pitch with the sideways dyno gave him trouble and he had to figure out a variation around the dyno that gains the remaining boulder problem at the pitch’s end. He’s calling it “the devils reach around.” The A1 beauty pitch looked like 5.9 as he sent it, placing all the gear on lead (I think except for the first and last piece)."

Leo Houlding on the crux, A1 Beauty pitch. Click the image for video.

The A1 Beauty pitch is the technical crux of the route; a perfect splitter just below the summit of El Cap that finishes with an outrageous step from the crack to the arête. Click the image above for video of Leo Houlding sending the A1 Beauty on the first ascent.

Nik Berry. Photo: Andrew Burr/Nik's Blog

Nik's ascent of the Prophet comes as a crescendo to more than just a few noteworthy accomplishments over the past year. Last August he claimed the first ascent of a new multipitch free climb on Lone Peak near Salt Lake City. Wonderboy checks in at 5.13c and you can read about it on Nik's blog here.

He also made a trip to Colorado for fast ascents of Musta' Been High (5.13c R) and China Doll (5.14a R). Read about those ascents on Nik's blog here and look for more on his send of the Prophet

Nik on Musta' Been High (5.13c R). Photo: Nik's Blog