Outdoors

Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell set speed climb record on Yosemite's El Capitan

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

A climbing record was set on the iconic El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday by two of the most famous and accomplished American rock climbers, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.

Honnold announced on Instagram that the pair completed the Nose route in record time.

Honnold and Caldwell completed the climb in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 15 seconds, beating the previous record – 2:19:44 set by Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds in October of 2017 – by about nine minutes.

Reel Rock shared a photo of the duo on the summit while shooting for an upcoming film.

El Capitan rises over 3,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and has been a destination for the best climbers from around the world since it was first climbed in 1958 by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore, who lives in Fresno.

Honnold and Caldwell climbed the iconic Nose route using ropes and special equipment, which is known as free and aid climbing.

Free-solo climbing – different from free climbing – is where climbers use only their body to ascend a rock wall. Honnold is well-known for his free solos, including of El Capitan and Half Dome – a historic ascent that made the cover of National Geographic.

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Portaledges, where rock climbers sleep on long climbs, on the side of El Capitan as Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson were ascending the Dawn Wall in January of 2015. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson attracted international attention and a media frenzy in 2015 when they climbed El Cap's Dawn Wall, considered one of the world's hardest big-wall climbs.

Caldwell wrote on Instagram earlier this month while training with Honnold that "I think I was never really into speed climbing in the past because I didn’t realize how fun it is."

He shared a photo of the two of them together, adding, "It sure is amazing to see the ease with which Alex handles the big stone."

Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge
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