Gobright, Reynolds Crush ‘The Nose’ Speed Record Up El Capitan

Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds climbed The Nose in 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds.

El Capitan
El Capitan; photo by Mike Murphy, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Nose of El Cap, in Yosemite, Calif., is one of the world’s most famous rock climbing routes.

Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds now hold the record for the fastest time up El Cap. On October 21, the team climbed The Nose in 2:19:44 using a mixture of free climbing and aid climbing.

The absurdly fast pace knocks four minutes off the previous record of 2:23:46, set in 2012 by Alex Honnold and Hans Florine.

The Nose: What it Takes

To climb The Nose takes extreme climbing fitness. The pitches range in difficulty along 2,900 vertical feet of stone and sometimes require long traverses. Getting up is challenging enough for most climbers. Doing it as fast as possible is a whole other beast.

Speed climbing often incorporates a riskier style, with safety precautions downplayed for the sake of quickness. Running out placements of protection, simul-climbing, and even foregoing protection altogether is common.

To be clear, however, Gobright and Reynolds did not free climb each pitch. They relied on both aid and free climbing techniques.

History of ‘The Nose’ Speed Record

The Nose has been the subject of speed ascents for decades, with the world’s best climbers trying to outdo each other.

From imposing obstacles like the “Great Roof” and “Changing Corners”, to gentle 5.9 hand cracks, the 31 pitches of The Nose make for exceptional climbing.

To do all of this in 2:19:44 is seemingly unthinkable. It’s debatably the most impressive speed ascent in climbing history.

Wikipedia lists the complete history of speed ascents on its page for “The Nose.”

Date Party Time
(hh:mm:ss)
2017-10-21 Jim Reynolds, Brad Gobright 2:19:44
2012-6-17 Hans FlorineAlex Honnold 2:23:46[16]
2010-11-6 Dean PotterSean Leary 2:36:45[17]
2008-10-12 Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama 2:37:05[18]
2008-7-2 Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama 2:43:33[19]
2007-10-8 Alexander and Thomas Huber 2:45:45
2007-10-4 Alexander and Thomas Huber 2:48:30[20]
2002-9-29 Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama 2:48:55[21]
2001-11 Dean Potter, Timmy O’Neill 3:24:20
2001-10 Hans Florine, Jim Herson 3:57:27
2001-10 Dean Potter, Timmy O’Neill 3:59:35[22]
1992 Hans Florine, Peter Croft 4:22
1991 Peter Croft, Dave Schultz 4:48
1991 Hans Florine, Andres Puhvel 6:01
1990 Peter Croft, Dave Schultz 6:40
1990 Hans Florine, Steve Schneider 8:06
1986 John Bachar, Peter Croft 10:05[23]
1984 Duncan CritchleyRomain Vogler 09:30 (approximate)[23]
1975 Jim BridwellJohn LongBilly Westbay 17:45

Brad Gobright, Up and Coming Climber

Gobright is known in climbing circles for his lightning-fast style of climbing and dirtbag ways. In 2016, he climbed three routes up El Capitan in under 24 hours, The Nose included. He also set a speed record on another classic route, the Naked Edge in Eldorado Canyon, but later was beaten by another team.

The new record on The Nose is an impressive accomplishment for both Gobright and Reynolds.

Learn more about Gobright in the upcoming Reel Rock feature film, Safety Third.

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Midwest born, Nate Mitka started with Gearjunkie after a short stint as “intern”. An advocate of all outdoor activities he’s developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.

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