Climber Alex Honnold is officially the first to climb the 3,000 feet El Capitan granite wall, iconic in Yosemite National Park.
The route is well-known as Freerider and it involes a highly difficult and complex system of cracks. Moreover, in its hardest sections, it holds the width of a pencil. In general, guides say that it takes four days to climb. However, Mr. Honnold only needed four hours.
After his magnific journey, he describes the most challenging portions of the ascent, as well as where he deviated from the route.
The 200-foot section that is right before the Round Table is very tiring.
“It’s quite a bit steeper, and you have to hold on for a long time, so you start to experience a lot of fatigue in the forearms.”
He then adds that the Boulder Problem is a smooth vertical wall, with small holes that are far apart from each other. To put it in short, “it is a short section that’s quite fierce.” as Alex likes to describe.
“The Monster Off-width is like the crack of doom.” he continues. This section forces climbers to wedge half their body inside a crack and then wiggle upward.
“It is this funny combination of where you feel quite safe but it is also kind of an outrageous thing to climb.”, he adds.
What caused Mr. Honnold to deviate from his route was the section above the Heart Ledge.
“The normal way requires you to put your foot against something that feels like glass, and it always felt like your foot might slip off. So it made more sense for me to do this big circle around that, even though it was wore moves and a little more complicated.”
He then mentioned that he deviated by 15 to 20 feet to the right, just to be safe. Even though it was more challenging, it felt safer, as he mentioned.
He also added that anyone who wants to have this experience must trust their feet as well as be able to make fast decisions.
El Capitan has never been climbed as fast. Alex succeeded in setting a record that may, or may not be accomplished again in the near future due to the difficulty of the hike.