Honnold Frees Muir Wall in 12 Hours, Solos Romantic Warrior

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11/14/14 – Alex Honnold led the Muir Wall (5.13b/c) on El Capitan all-free, with no falls, in 12 hours. Just a few days earlier he finished a four-day free ascent of PreMuir (5.13c/d), which shares all but five pitches of the Muir (out of 34).

“I did them both with my friend Josh McCoy, who I learned how to trad climb with many years ago,” Honnold said. “It was awesome to have both adventures with him again.”

The free version of the Muir Wall follows the “Shaft” variation established by Scott Cosgrove and Kurt Smith during their 1994 attempt to free the wall. Those two came up just a few feet short of the completely free ascent, and Tommy Caldwell and Nick Sagar finished the job in 2001. The Shaft line had only been repeated once before Honnold did it, by German climbers Thomas Hering and Tobias Wolf, earlier in 2014, in part becuase of a dangerous loose flake on the 24th pitch. PreMuir, which avoids the loose rock with more difficult climbing to the left, was established in 2007 by Rob Miller and Justen Sjong and has been repeated only three or four times.

Earlier this autumn, shortly after free-soloing the University Wall (5.12a) in Squamish, B.C., Honnold also free-soloed Romantic Warrior (9 pitches, 5.12b) in the Needles of California. That route, which Honnold has done roped at least once before, was famously onsight free-soloed by the late Michael Reardon in 2005.

Dates of ascents: November and September 2014

Sources: Alex Honnold,,