A week ago I reported that Dean Potter and Sean Leary had set a new speed record on El Cap’s The Nose route, beating the old record, held by Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama, by a mere 20 seconds. At the time, Potter and Leary were quoted as saying that they were just getting started and that they thought they could shave more time off the new mark, which stands at 2 hours, 36 minutes, and 45 seconds. Not to be so easily outdone, Florine also weighed in on the new record, saying that he would likely try to regain his title. I ended the article with a note on how I was looking forward to the climbers dueling it out for the top spot.
Turns out, I didn’t have to wait long for the next salvo to be fired in this speed climbing competition. Potter and Leary took another shot at the route on Monday of this week, but came up a bit short, finishing three minutes behind their new record. According to this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, wet conditions prevented the new record from falling less than a week after it had been set. According to Leary, the pair were faster on the climb this time out for all but the last 600 of the 2900 feet that the route runs. The article also says that the climbing duo will give it another go in December or in the spring, depending on conditions.
The story doesn’t mention if Florine has geared up for an attempt at the record yet, but you can bet that he is already planning his return. The competition should be a good one, and I’d love to see each team have a go at it before winter fully sets in. Spring is a long time to wait for more fireworks on El Capitan.
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