Alex Honnold pulverizes the solo speed record for Salathé Wall

Alex Honnold climbed the Salathé Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley rope solo in an incredible 11 hours and 18 minutes. He was almost twice as fast as the previous record holder Brant Hysell (19 hours and 57 minutes).

Almost a week ago Alex Honnold reported two free solo ascents in Yosemite Valley. After this “warm-up” it is the 35-pitch route on the Salathé Wall that he climbed rope solo. After a whopping 11 hours and 18 minutes he was already back at the top. With this, Honnold literally shattered Brant Hysell's previous rope solo record of 19 hours and 57 minutes.

In the end, I set a new speed record of 11:18, although I remembered Warren Harding's quote: "As I pulled over the top of the mountain it was unclear who was the conqueror, because the mountain seemed to be in much better condition that I was.”

Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold during his rope solo ascent of the Salathé Wall. Image: Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold during his rope solo ascent of the Salathé Wall. Picture: Alex Honnold

New solo speed record

In order to better understand the significance of Alex Honnold's new speed record on the Salathé Wall, it is worth using the previous times for comparison: The previous record holder, Brant Hysell, completed the Salathé Wall in 19 hours and 57 minutes at the beginning of May . This made him 9 minutes faster than Cheyene Lempe in 2013.

It should also be remembered that when rope soloing (usually) each pitch is climbed three times: lead, clear out material, climb up. Why do we write «usually»? According to his own statements, Alex Honnold climbed seven pitches completely rope solo. In between, he always climbed a small section daisy chain solo or with other techniques.

Alex Honnold's rack in the Salathé Wall
Alex Honnold's rack in the Salathé Wall. Picture: Alex Honnold

According to Alex Honnold, he was pretty battered after his ascent. “My hands were full of cuts from random rope handling injuries.” Nevertheless, he has fond memories of his most recent speed record:

It was a beautiful day on the wall, almost entirely in the shade. And I met a lot of nice people along the way. All in all, a great day of climbing.

Alex Honnold

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Credits: Cover picture Alex Honnold

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