Two rock climbers set a new speed record ascending El Capitan in Yosemite National Park early Wednesday, achieving the feat in just under two hours.
Documentary photographer Austian Siadak said Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell scaled the 3,000-foot sheer granite wall in one hour, 58 minutes and seven seconds.
On June 6, 2018, in California’s Yosemite National Park, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell accomplished the seemingly impossible climbing the 3,000-foot Nose route of El Capitan in 1 hour 58 minutes and 7 seconds. “It’s like breaking the two-hour marathon barrier, but vertically,” says Hans Florine, who, with his climbing partner Yuji Hirayama in 2002, was the first to take the speed record on the Nose under three hours.
The Nose is widely considered the greatest big-wall climbing route on Earth. It runs straight up the prow of the massive granite formation known as El Capitan and is the monolith’s most recognizable feature. Every spring, it draws the world’s most adventurous climbers to test their mettle. Most take three to five days to scale the challenging terrain, “camping” on the wall in portaledges anchored to the stone. For elite climbers, the time to beat is NIAD, or Nose-in-a-Day, climbing it all without an overnight. For Honnold and Caldwell, the route is their morning workout. “It didn’t feel that fast,” Honnold says of their latest record attempt, “but when I popped over the top I saw 1:57 and was like go, go, go, go!”
The time on the technical climbing route has consistently dropped since the peak was first climbed 60 years ago by Warren Harding and three others in 12 days following 18 months of drilling bolts and other hardware into the rock.
Honnold said he didn’t think he and his partner were on a record-shattering time until he neared the finish and looked at the timer on his phone.
Honnold and Caldwell broke the record three times in the past week, carving more than 20 minutes off a mark set last year.
Honnold said he’s proud they kept at it to break the two-hour mark when they could have rested with records at about two hours, 10 minutes and just under two hours and two minutes.