Cheyne Lempe Breaks Salathé Solo Record


Cheyne Lempe starts up El Cap on his record-breaking solo of the Salathé Wall.

Cheyne Lempe starts up El Cap on his record-breaking solo of the Salathé Wall. Photo by Jessica Pemble.

11/11/13 - Cheyne Lempe, 22, has completed the second one-day rope-solo ascent of the Salathé Wall on El Capitan, breaking a 21-year-old speed record in the process. Lempe, a member of the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team, climbed the 35-pitch route (5.9 C2) in 20 hours 6 minutes.

Lempe, who called this the "most difficult objective I have ever attempted in Yosemite Valley, started up the famed route at 7:45 a.m. on November 6 and topped out at 3:51 a.m. the following morning.

"Though it is more time-consuming, I chose to be roped from the ground to the summit, with no free soloing," Lempe said in an email. "I couldn't add any mental stress to the mission, and I don't mind playing it safe…. It was a low-gravity day for me, which is unusual. My rope never got stuck, I didn't drop any gear, and I stayed psyched for almost the entire route, even when the sun dipped below the skyline." Lempe said he drank eight liters of water and consumed 2,200 calories during the ascent.

The previous speed solo record on the Salathé was 21 hours 44 minutes, set by wall-master Steve Schneider in 1992. "It's not going to be difficult for someone stronger than me to solo the route much faster," Lempe said. "There are many pitches that can be quickly free soloed, and a stronger free climber will be able speed through terrain that I had to aid climb."

Only a few pitches to go during Cheyne Lempe's speed solo of the Salathé.

Only a few pitches to go during Cheyne Lempe's speed solo of the Salathé. Photo by Cheyne Lempe.

Lempe has now done four one-day El Cap solos, including the Nose, Zodiac, and Lurking Fear. With partners, he also set speed records on The Shortest Straw and Octopussy; the latter was the first sub-24-hour ascent, climbed with David Allfrey and Scott Deputy. In early 2012, Lempe and Scott Bennett completed a massive link-up in Patagonia, climbing the northwest ridge of Aguja Mermoz and then the north pillar of Fitz Roy. See video from that climb here.

Date of ascent: November 6-7, 2013

Sources: Cheyne Lempe, American Alpine Journal


Comments

Cheyne you are AMAZING! A man to watch! Laura 11/11/2013

Laura Lempe - 11/11/2013 3:42:42

So. Bad. Ass.

Alton Richardson - 11/11/2013 2:09:02

only 2200 calories???

luca - 11/11/2013 12:51:39

Yup, exactly what Zev said above. I've done three El Cap routes with Cheyne and he's the nicest, most modest (not to mention most talented), guy you could ever meet.

Mark - 11/11/2013 9:26:17

Cheyne's a beast! And a silent, modest crusher. He's the future of big wall climbing and nice-guyness worldwide! (Gear sponsors should hitch their planet to his star!)

Zev - 11/11/2013 9:03:24

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