El Capitan, The Nose, speed record. Events leading up to the record speed ascent of the Nose in 2 hours and 48 minutes: September 2001, Hans Florine and Tommy Caldwell climb the Nose in 4:31. They miss the nine-year-old record of 4:22 by only nine minutes. Mid-October 2001, Timmy O’Neill and Dean Potter climb the Nose in 3:59, breaking the record. Later in October 2001, Jim and Florine climb it in 3:57. November 1,2001, O’Neill and Potter set a blazing time of 3:24.
In June 2002 Yuji Hirayama came to Yosemite to work on hard, long free-climbing routes. With his partner Tamotsu he twice ran up the Nose for training, once in nine hours, once in seven hours and change. Yuji and Florine tried to hook up for an attempt at the Nose record, but Yuji’s focus on free-climbing the Salathé in a day had priority. Hans and Yuji had climbed the Nose twice together in 1997, to explore the free climbing possibilities; they did it with a bivy both times.
In September 2002 Yuji returned to Yosemite with plans for more long free climbs and to give the Nose speed record a go with Hans. On September 23 they ran up the route in 3:27, passing seven parties. Having missed the record by only three minutes, plus having to pass all those parties, the two thought it would be well worth their time to give it another whirl. Time allowed on September 29, and the two raced up the route in 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds. No other parties were on the route. On both of these ascents, Yuji led the entire route. It was thought this method was best, as trading leaders mid-route would cause a lull. On their first go they made it to Sickle Ledge, four pitches up, in 19 minutes. On their second go they made Sickle Ledge in 16 minutes. On their first go they made Camp 4 in 1:52, on their second go in 1:28.
Hans Florine, AAC