El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California.Photo by Luke Laeser
Ammon McNeely, Ivo Ninov and Kevin Jaramillo made the first one-day ascent of the hard-aid classic Zenyatta Mondatta at the end of June. The trio climbed the 16-pitch El Capitan route in 22 hours 56 minutes. With sustained difficulties and loose rock, Zenyatta Mondatta (5.7 A4) has seen numerous one-day attempts, but until now no one had done it under 24 hours. The climb went smoothly except when McNeely broke a hold while hooking on pitch 10 and went for a 40-footer.
Although McNeely and Ninov are among Yosemite’s most experienced big-wall speed climbers, Jaramillo had never done a single-push ascent. However, McNeely wrote to the www.supertopo.com forum, “He was a natural.” Jaramillo ended up leading half of the route’s pitches. Perhaps it’s just tradition with this route: When Jim Bridwell, Peter Mayfield and Charlie Row did the first ascent of Zenyatta Mondatta in 1981, it was only Mayfield’s second big wall.
To read McNeely’s account and see pictures from the one-day ascent, visit http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=85559&f=0&b=0.