OT: Speed-climbing El Capitan

I haven’t done rock climbing in years (not enough time plus a case of tendenitis in the elbows), but back when I did I would sometimes attend climbing competitions and marvel at Hans Florine as he wiped the floor with everyone else in the speed-climbing events. Speed climbing is just what it sounds like — going as fast as you can up a route. Technique and style matter practically zip. Hans is quite tall, and he used to literally run up the wall (man-made in the case of sport-climbing competitions).

Now he and his partner Yuji Hirayama have broken their own record on the El Capitan, the imposing face in Yosemite Park, California. It once was thought unclimbable, and even today takes most climbers several days, which involves camping out on the face in bivvys.

Hans and Yuji did it quite a bit faster.

2 hours and 37 minutes, to be precise, was their time today.

This broke their own record set earlier this year by a whopping six minutes. That’s about 18.5 feet per minute of vertical climbing as the face is 2,900 feet high.

The video gives you a sped up look at key parts of the climb, with Hans doing voiceover. You’ll see some other climbers on the route - they weren’t involved in the record attempt, in fact Hans and Yuji have to work around them as they are going so much slower!

Hans is a local boy (Bay Area) while Yuji lives in Hidaka, Japan, and both have full-time jobs and families. Oh, and Hans is 44 and Yuji is 39. Pretty amazing.

SFgate article