Free solo and speed climbing in the Valley!
Dean Potter free soloed Separate Reality 5.12a and Dog’s Roof 5.12b in Yosemite. The first route was first soloed by Wolfgang Güllich in 1986.
“An incredible feeling of joy melts all the tension and I suddenly have an impression that it was not a game of gambling with my life; it was not subjectively dangerous. I sit in the sun on the flat summit plateau – the ‘other reality’ is now part of the past. It is the thought of death that teaches us to value life” – that’s how Güllich described his feelings just after the ascent in German magazine “Bergsteiger”.
In 2005 the second free solo was done by Austrian climber and photographer Heinz Zak (who took famous pictures of Güllich's first ascent). Dean’s is the third ropeless ascent while his solo of Dog’s Roof, Ray Jardine's route from the late 70’s, is the first in the history.
Dean Potter joined a small group of Valley free solo legends 6 years ago, when he soloed Astroman 5.11c on Washington Column, Blind Faith 5.11d and The Regular North Face on The Rostrum. With some speed records and enchainments he’s also one of the big players of speed climbing. Potter proved it once more on 12 July, when he teamed up with two other speed freaks, Ammon McNeely (probably the best Yosemite speed climber at the moment) and Ivo Ninov, to set a new speed record of Reticent Wall A5 5.7. The trio climbed the 21-pitch, incredibly sustained (majority of the pitches are graded A3+ or harder) El Capitan route in 34 hours and 58 minutes. The crux pitch was made in the night and the team finished route on 14th of July just after midnight.