has soloed the Regular Northwest Face
(VI 5.12a, 23 pitches) on Half Dome and The Nose
(VI 5.9 C1, 31 pitches) on El Capitan in Yosemite, California - taking just over eight hours for both routes.
Alpinist.com reports that: "His ascent of the Regular Northwest Face took 2 hours and 9 minutes—a new record that is 41 minutes faster than his September 2008 free solo. Honnold then climbed The Nose in 5:59, just under six hours. It is possible that Honnold also has set a link-up record for the two routes. Combined, the routes involve about 5,000 feet of serious climbing."
Alex Honnold makes his way up The Nose (VI 5.9 C1, 31 pitches) on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California. [Photo: Tom Evans]
Honnold described his impressive day of climbing: "I woke up at 4:45ish but it was too dark to do anything really. I think I started climbing for real at about 5:30." Alex carried 30 feet of cord on Half Dome and a 60-meter rope on El Capitan. It is clear that Honnold free soloed much, if not all, of the Regular Northwest Face and some of The Nose.
Hans Florine wrote that Honnold "only used [the rope] getting to boot, for the king swing, and on the great roof."
Honnold explained that he was not preoccupied with free climbing any of the pitches of The Nose: "None [of the pitches] were truly free since I stood on bolts and pins as much as I could. But I pretty much French freed everything except the first 25 feet of The Glowering Spot and a little section getting to the Boot [Flake]."
Alex said that "the whole timing thing is not a strong point for me...I stopped to look at two amazing birds on the way down from Half Dome. I'd hate to have to hurry." However, he admits that he "was hoping to break the speed record on [Half Dome], which is 1:50 or something." :)
Tom Evans on his website reports: "Alex Honnold drove up this morning and was eating a leisurely breakfast, when I went over and looked at his new van interior. Pretty cool! He mentioned that he had just done the Reg on the Dome in a sporty 2:09 and was about to go on the Nose for the link-up. That time is the NEW solo record on the route. We chatted a while and he walked off to the Nose, with a considerable rack and a rope. He muttered something about having read Han's book about speed climbing last night and was eager to see how the roped solo stuff would work for him. He wandered off around 10:30 and I soon saw him in the Stovelegs, carrying all his gear and a light pack, but 3rd classing everything..."
You can see more pictures and a report on Tom Evans' El Cap Report Website.
[source: alpinist.com, elcapreport.com and supertopo.com]