11/6/14 - Dutch climber Jorg Verhoeven has free-climbed the Nose of El Capitan, becoming the first non-U.S. climber to achieve the feat. On his Facebook page this afternoon, Verhoeven wrote: "Yeeeaaaaah! I free-climbed the Nose!!! In three days time I managed to grab the 4th ascent of this iconic route. I sent the Great Roof first burn on day #2 and Changing Corners after two falls the next morning. So incredibly glad I pulled it through. A lot of respect to Lynn Hill for free-climbing this route 20 years ago! Feels like a big chapter has come to an end. PSYCHED!!!"
Lynn Hill free-climbed the Nose in 1993 and completed the first one-day free ascent a year later. In 1998, Scott Burke freed all the pitches on the route after an effort lasting for months, but he top-roped the Great Roof, one of the two cruxes, and he is often not given credit for a free ascent. Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden were next, free-climbing the route as a team in 2005, with each climber either leading or following each pitch free. Caldwell returned a couple of days later to make a one-day all-free ascent, leading every pitch, and the same season climbed the Nose and Freerider, all free, in less than 24 hours.
Verhoeven, a 29-year-old native of the Netherlands who lives in Austria, had previously freed two El Cap routes: Freerider and El Niño. He has onsighted 5.14a and redpointed up to 5.14d. He's also a highly successful competition climber, with four World Cup lead climbing victories and multiple podium finishes in bouldering World Cups.
More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Date of ascent: November 2014