For the second time in less than a week Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have set a new speed record for climbing The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. Last week, the duo smashed the previous mark by more than nine minutes, but as Outside reports they also has a few incidences along the way that slowed them down some. So, not content with scaling the iconic route in 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 15 seconds, the two men returned yesterday to see if they could lower the mark further, and in the process edge ever closer to the mythical sub-2 hour mark.
In speaking about climbing The Nose together, Honnold told Outside “A lot of it is familiarity with the route. Even though it doesn’t feel like we’re moving faster, we are. Every time we do a lap we’re a little smoother. We’re adapting to a new level of effort.”
That apparently is the case as Honnold and Caldwell were able to complete yesterday’s climb in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds, putting them less then two minutes away from the two hour barrier that Honnold has been targeting. That mark was probably in reach, but as the neared the top, just six pitches below the summit, one of their ropes got tangled and Tommy had to descend to free it up. In the meantime, all Alex could do was wait. That cost them more than two minutes alone, keeping them from reaching their goal.
To put things in perspective, the speed record prior to last week’s new record was set last fall by Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds at 2 hours 19 minutes, and 44 seconds. In the span of under a week, Honnold and Caldwell have now dropped that mark by nearly 18 minutes. That is an amazing feat and from the sound of things they’re not quite done yet. The two climbers have told Outside that they intend to keep trying to chip away at the time over the next few weeks.
Does anyone want to bet against these two guys setting the speed record even lower?