It seems like only yesterday that the drama and hype of 'Free Solo' Alex Honnold's documentary film of his free ascent of El Capitan was released to the world. The climb was seven years in the making, and in a matter of months after the films release, Honnold paired up with Gobright to repeat the feat on the 'pineapple Express' variation of the route.
Alex Honnold and Brad Gobright are two of the worlds best free-solo climbers and both have accomplished extraordinary feats, so the pair teaming up together was a sign of big things to come. It wasn’t long before the world saw what was coming.
On Sunday (June 10th) the pair - joined together by a cord, but with no anchoring to the wall - made the second completely free ascent of El Nino - a route graded 5.13c - following the three pitch variation of ‘Pineapple Express’ - a variation established by Honnold in 2018.
The route the pair climbed covers elements from the lines of Continental Drift (5.9), New Jersey Turnpike (5.10) and North America Wall (5.8) and was originally put up by the Hubar Brothers back in 1988. The Pineapple Express variation adds a 5.13a variant to the 3000ft climb.
This season of climbing in the valley has so far been harrassed by consistent rainfall, driving many climbers away, or to smaller walls and climbs. Despite this, the Honnold-Gobright duo remained undeterred.
The paid began their ascent at 0400 June 10th, and 14.5 hours later finally reached the top. “It was a brutal climb,” Gobright told Rock and Ice. “But I think the nighttime strategy was the beta.”
The climb they took involved a total of six 5.13 pitches, five 5.12 and “plenty of 5.10 and 5.11.”
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