Alex Honnold Breaks Epinephrine Speed Record
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Last week, Alex Honnold reported that he has broken the speed record on Epinephrine (5.9), a 13-pitch route in Red Rock, Nevada. He soloed the 13-pitch route in 34 minutes and 51 seconds, beating out the late Brad Gobright’s record by nearly four minutes. Including the approach and descent, Honnold completed the outing in a mere 1:59:57. The average party spends 7-10 hours on the sustained route, which follows a network of airy chimneys.
Epinephrine was first been climbed in 1978 by Jorge Urioste, Joanne Urioste, and Joe Herbst. Today it’s considered a classed and sees much traffic. Honnold had to leapfrog parties while running laps on it throughout the season. “Thanks to the various parties who’ve let me play through on the route this season,” he wrote. “Especially the nice folks today—it must be a bit strange for a panting, sweaty man to climb right over you in the middle of a wall.”
Last year, Brad Gobright set the fastest known time on Epinephrine at 38 minutes and 15 seconds, taking the title from Honnold, who had the previous FKT at 40 minutes. Sadly, Gobright died in a rappelling accident in El Potrero Chico, Mexico, in November 2019.
“After he died, I thought maybe he should just keep the record indefinitely as a nice tribute,” Honnold wrote. “But as the season has changed this year I haven’t been able to resist taking a few laps up the route, just to see…”
Honnold and Gobright were both friends and competitors, being two top-climbers and the two preeminent free soloists of their generation. This friendly competition is immortalized in the film Reel Rock 14, in which Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell fight to break the speed record on the Nose on El Capitan set by Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds.
“I feel an urge to thank Brad for the continuing motivation,” Honnold wrote of his Epinephrine ascent. “I appreciate him getting me up early one more time to go outside and try my hardest on something big. I miss Brad, but at least he’s still here pushing me.”