Today Alex Honnold reported completing a new linkup in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park with Tommy Caldwell, enchaining peaks from Mount Meeker to Notchtop. Caldwell dubbed the adventure the Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup (CDUL). The team was on the move for 36 hours and covered roughly 20k feet of vertical, 35 miles, and 65 pitches over 11 classic climbing routes. “Though the stats don’t mean much because the terrain is so rugged it’s hard to characterize it as ‘hiking,'” Honnold wrote. The team was supported by Adam Stack and Maury Birdwell.
“I guess my wish for a character-building experience paid off,” wrote Caldwell.
The team hit an early snag when they missed a pre-night support drop off, forcing them to climb through the night in short shorts, using a phone jammed under a hat as a headlamp, according to Caldwell. The CDUL is pronounced “cuddle,” for how the team had to keep themselves warm in the middle of the night. “[We were] calorie deprived until our hero @adam_stack rescued us with food and headlamps,” wrote Caldwell. “By mid-morning I was throwing up. [Honnold] was of course was steady and high spirited as always.”
“The quote of the night: ‘Soloing by iPhone is not that sweet.’ —Alex,” Stack wrote on Instagram.
Honnold provided a rough list of the day’s adventure:
1. Flying Buttress (5.9), Mount Meeker
2. Casual Route (10-), The Diamond, Longs Peak
4. The Barb (5.10), Spearhead
5. Birds of Fire (5.11a). Chief’s Head
6. Central Ramp (5.8), Mount Alice
7. Arrowplane (5.11a). Arrowhead
11. South Face (5.8), The Petit Grepon
12. SW Corner (5.10b), The Saber [Ed. Honnold wrote Spearhead, but The Saber seems more likely given the location.]
13. Sharkstooth (5.6)
15. Culp-Bossier (5.8+), Hallet Peak
18. and finally the cool crack on Notchtop (5.9)
“I’ve been working in getting faster in the mountains lately,” Caldwell wrote in June, three weeks before completing the CDUL. “Curious about combining the disciplines of mountain running and climbing. With this mentality climbs that used to be punishing full day endeavors are now just morning jaunts.”
According to Honnold, the pair simul-climbed almost all of the technical terrain, with a little bit of scrambling. Honnold and Caldwell climbed a shorter version of the linkup in RMNP earlier this month, linking Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, Pagoda, Chief’s Head, and Mount Alice.
“I think it will be a while until the CDUL gets repeated,” wrote Stack.