Caldwell, Honnold Free Climb Four Zion Walls in 16 Hours

3/15/13 – Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold have free climbed four classic walls in Zion National Park, Utah, in a total of 16 hours. According to a post on Honnold’s Instagram, the two freed Sheer Lunacy (8 pitches, 5.13b), Moonlight Buttress (10 pitches, 5.12d), Touchstone Wall (8 pitches, 5.13b), and Spaceshot (8 pitches, 5.13a), in that order. (If you don’t want to do the math, that’s almost 35 pitches.)

The four routes are located on three different formations tightly clustered around a bend of the Virgin River in Zion. The pair spent a little over two hours each on Sheer Lunacy and Moonlight Buttress, and three to four hours each on Touchstone Wall and Spaceshot; their rappels and descent hikes made up the rest of the 16-hour time. They swung leads, the second following free, with only five falls the whole day: Caldwell on the crux pitch of Sheer Lunacy, the first pitch of Touchstone Wall, and the traverse on Moonlight Buttress, and Honnold on   the second pitch of Touchstone Wall and the last pitch of Spaceshot.

There’s a long tradition of linking multiple Zion walls in a day. In 1992, Conrad Anker and Doug Heinrich linked Touchstone, Spaceshot, Moonlight Buttress, and Monkey Finger, but their effort was more about speed than free climbing. In 2008, Honnold and Chris Weidner free climbed Moonlight and Spaceshot in a day. Last year, Honnold and Caldwell linked free ascents of Yosemite’s three biggest walls—Watkins, El Capitan, and Half Dome—in a single day.

Date of ascent: March 11, 2013

Sources: Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold