6/19/12 - Hans Florine and Alex Honnold broke the Nose speed record on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley on June 17 with a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes, 46 seconds. This is about 13 minutes faster than the previous record set by Sean Leary and Dean Potter in 2010. They began their ascent Sunday morning just shy of 6 a.m. with a crowd assembled in the meadow, hoping to see a piece of El Cap history made.
“Now that we officially have a record, it feels surprisingly satisfying,” Honnold said in an email. “Mostly it just feels great to have climbed the route so smoothly and well.”
Honnold wanted to break the Nose speed record with Florine after seeing the REEL ROCK film Race for the Nose. “It got me all psyched,” he said. “So I called up Hans, and he was obviously keen to retake his record.”
Florine and Honnold returned to the Nose this weekend after attempting to break the record in November 2011 and missing it by 45 seconds. On June 14, the pair fell short of the record by three minutes on a "warm-up run."
“We climbed the whole route at a pretty steady pace, and I was out of breath the whole time.” Honnold said. “But it felt pretty awesome. Hans always said ‘Safety first, fun second, speed third.’ And it honestly played out like that.”
Florine has held the speed record numerous times since his first "quick" ascent with Steve Schneider in 1990 (8 hours, 6 minutes). Since then, he has engaged in heated competition with other climbers to hold the record. Florine also set the Nose solo ascent record in 2003 with an ascent of 11 hours, 50 minutes.
“The difference between climbing the Nose in 2:37 and 2:23 isn’t really that big,” Honnold said. “Either way, you’re climbing a big face in two and half hours. Our time is a product of the style we climbed in: We simul-climbed a lot. Dean and Sean climbed it the same way and would have had a similar time if it hadn’t snowed the season they were working on it. Soon enough, someone will do better. I think it could go sub-two [hours] some day with a lot of cardio and a little less safety.”
Check out Tom Evans' El Cap report for more photos.
Date of ascent: June 17, 2012