Records Fall In 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell

Late-night action at the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell in Arkansas. Photo by Lydia Freeman

Late-night action at the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell in Arkansas. Photo by Lydia Freeman

10/3/12 - Rain and heat did not hold back the 270 competitors at the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, where big numbers were posted despite tough conditions. At this year's seventh annual event at Arkansas' Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, September 28 and 29, pairs of climbers tried to do as many routes as they could in 24 hours, with more points for harder climbs.

The powerful team of Tommy Caldwell and Sonnie Trotter posted the highest team score, shattering the old point record, with 63,580 points. Together they climbed 302 routes, including 52 5.12s and 56 5.11s, covering almost 13,000 feet of vertical gain. But for sheer number of routes climbed, no one topped Jeremy Collins and Nate Moore, who set a new team record with 155 routes each.

Emily Cole, a 16-year-old from Oklahoma City, won a stacked field in the elite women's individual category (Brittany Griffith, Jasmin Caton, Natalie Hawley, and more), with 133 routes and 5,530 feet of vertical climbing.

But records and individual performances tell only half the story. The 24 Hours is all about camaraderie, perseverance, and strategy in a unique setting—particularly this year as the rain came down. "Some of my most memorable moments were climbing in the rain, topping out steep routes in full Chinese water-torture style, and  SCREAMING at the top of our lungs, encouraging each other to stick with it and stop being a baby!" said Collins. "It was like being on the Diamond in summer, only in tank top, shorts, and the ground is only 50 feet away.

"My partner Nate was an inspiration and rockstar," Collins added. "We both cramped up within the first six hours—our hamstrings, calves, and biceps were a wreck. We ended up bailing on our intended set list, shifting down to easier climbing, and just going faster instead."

To get a better sense of the event, visit the 24 HHH Facebook page for photos and stories.

Dates of Event: September 27–30, 2012

Sources: Andy Chasteen,