El Capitan
El Capitan; (photo/ Mike Murphy, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Honnold, Caldwell Set Speed Record Up ‘The Nose’ of El Capitan

Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell just set a new record on The Nose of El Capitan. The duo climbed the route, one of the most iconic in Yosemite, in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 15 seconds.

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

Each spring and fall, climbers flock to Yosemite with lofty goals on its big, granite walls. And recently, a trend of climbing The Nose as fast as possible has taken hold. On May 30, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell speed climbed The Nose route on El Cap in 2:10:15. This record beats Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds’ time of 2:19:44 in Oct. 2017. Instagram stories posted by Gobright and Hans Florine confirm the record. To climb The Nose as fast as possible, climbers employ a mixture of free and aid-climbing tactics.

El Capitan
Gobright, Reynolds Crush 'The Nose' Speed Record Up El Capitan
The new record of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds knocks four minutes off a record set by Alex Honnold and Hans Florine in 2011. Read more…

Honnold, Caldwell Climb the Nose in 2 Hours, 10 Minutes

The Nose is 2,900 feet high and has 31 pitches. It’s steep, exposed, and extremely strenuous. Most climbers dream of one day attempting The Nose, and climbing parties take several days, spending nights on the wall. Yosemite’s El Capitan is also seen as the classic test piece for speed climbing. Elite big-wall climbers cut their teeth against the feat, with records falling year after year. The pros dial in specific pitches and learn to move as fast as possible.

While few climbs hold such a prolific history of speed climbing as The Nose, climbing the wall as quickly as Honnold and Caldwell is mind-blowing.

the nose speed record
Breathtaking Timelapse Captures 'El Capitan' Speed Climb
Watch Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds break the speed record on the famed Yosemite climb, The Nose of El Capitan in an astonishing two hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds. Read more…

Both Honnold and Caldwell hold their most renowned ascents on El Cap. Honnold famously free-soloed El Capitan’s Free Rider route in 2017. Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson claimed the first ascent of the Dawn Wall, one of the world’s hardest big-wall routes, in 2015. Honnold also previously held the speed record. In 2012, Honnold and Hans Florine climbed it in 2 hours, 23 minutes. Honnold posted on Instagram about their speed record practice, hoping to break the record this season.

With each ascent more unbelievable than last, time will tell if The Nose will see an almost unthinkable sub-two-hour time. Congrats to Caldwell and Honnold on the remarkable feat!

Nate Mitka

Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.