The American Connor Herson recently made a name for himself with the trad inspection of Empath (9a). Now comes the next prank: together with his father, he manages to free climb the Salathe Wall on El Capitan.

With the free inspection of the Salathe Wall kicks Connor Herson in the footsteps of his father, Jim Herson. This climbed out of the Salathe Wall almost exactly 19 years ago - 90 hours before Connor was born. He dressed his newborn son in a onesie, which read: "My dad climbed the Salathe Wall and all I got is this silly outfit."

connor-herson-climbs-salthe-wall-free
Shortly before his 19th birthday, Connor Herson free climbs the Salathe Wall. Image: Jim Herson

Salathe Wall: Route steeped in history

The Salathe Wall at El Capitan was made in 1961 by Royal robbins, Tom Frost and Chuck Pratt first climbed. The first free ascent of the Big Wall was successful Todd Skinner and Paul Piano in 1988 in nine days.

Opened ten years later Alex and Thomas Huber Freerider, a variant of the Salathe Wall that bypasses the hard cracks in the eighth difficulty. The line of Huber Buam leads left to the now famous Monster off-width (7a+), a section of El Capitan where several lines converge.

Challenging head wall

However, Connor Herson wanted to take the original and also difficult variant to heart. "It's not the Salathe Wall if you do the Monster Offwidth instead," says the youngster, who climbed the Nose Rotpunkt at the age of 15.

"It's not the Salathe Wall if you do the Monster Offwidth instead"

Connor Herson

The headwall was quite challenging for him, says Connor Herson. He climbed it in two pitches on the third day of their ascent. "So I guess I'll have to come back to connect them in one pitch. Nonetheless, it was an experience I won't forget for a while."

"It was an experience I won't forget for a while"

Connor Herson

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Credits: Cover photo Jim Herson

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