Honnold Frees 19-Pitch 5.13d in Mexico

By Climbing Staff ,

Josh McCoy (left) and Alex Honnold celebrate on top of El Regalo Favorito, high above El Portreo Chico, Mexico. Photo by Alex Honnold

2/21/13 - Alex Honnold has free climbed an old Kurt Smith project in El Potrero Chico, Mexico, to create a 19-pitch route with a crux of 5.13c/d. Mi Regalo Favorito ascends the left side of the Outrage Wall to the summit of Cerro San Miguel. Smith and Jeb Vetters spent two months in the late 1990s bolting the route ground-up, including 21 nights on the wall, but they never free- climbed the whole thing.

"There are probably no other 20-pitch bolted routes in the world that are just open like that," Honnold said in an email. "I figured it was an amazing opportunity that I shouldn't miss."

Honnold and climbing partner Josh McCoy spent four days cleaning the route, including removing hundreds of feet of old fixed rope. On the first redpoint attempt, Honnold could not send the crux third pitch, and they climbed only the first six pitches. But with the beta dialed, he redpointed that pitch on their second attempt, and the two continued free climbing all the way up the route. (Watch the video below with McCoy's GoPro footage.)

"The crux would probably be 12a or so if not for something like a V9 boulder problem guarding the anchor," Honnold said. In addition to this stopper crux, Mi Regalo Favorito has 10 more 5.11 or 5.12 pitches, plus many easier pitches.

During their three-week trip to Mexico, Honnold and McCoy also made the likely second ascent of El Gavilan, an old Jeff Jackson route on an isolated formation called La Popa. The nine-pitch line is consistently overhanging and goes at 5.13a, with sustained hard climbing. "It was a really good challenge," Honnold said, "and the style of climbing was just fun—steep and juggy."

Dates of ascents: February 2013

Sources: Alex Honnold, American Alpine Journal

View the embedded media.

Unwrapping Mi Regalo Favorito, El Potrero Chico, w/Alex Honnold, February 2013 from Josh McCoy on Vimeo.

Join the Conversation