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North America, United States, California, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, Various Ascents

Yosemite National Park, various ascents. [Below we present some of the significant long-route news from 2007, compiled from a variety of different sources.] Tommy Caldwell continued his unprecedented Valley free-climbing accomplishments, starting at the end of May when he and his wife Beth Rodden made a team free (and second free overall) ascent of El Corazon (35 pitches, 5.13b), on El Capitan in a seven-day ground-up push. After a whopping two days of rest, Caldwell then freed Golden Gate (41 pitches, 5.13a) in 20 hours. Two falls ruined Caldwell’s onsight attempt (onsight on the independent pitches, that is; the route shares some pitches with El Corazon), but his redpoint was still the route’s first one-day free ascent. In October Caldwell made the long-awaited second free ascent, and first one-day free ascent, of the Direct Northwest Face route on Half Dome, originally freed by Todd Skinner over an extended period in 1992 and rated 5.13d. Caldwell linked two of the crux 88° slab pitches to bump up the difficulty to 5.14a.

After three years of work, during a seven-day push in May Rob Miller and Justen Sjong freed the 30-pitch Muir Wall on El Cap via a new five-pitch variation to the Shaft variation. Miller and Sjong’s variation includes a new crux, at 5.13d.

El Cap’s Freerider (37 pitches, 5.12d) continued its incredible popularity, seeing a record number of free ascents in 2007, including its first rope-solo free climb, by Canadian Stephane Perron over seven days in the spring.

The bold, talented youngster Alex Honnold free-soloed Astroman (10 pitches, 5.11c) and the North Face of the Rostrum (8 pitches, 5.11c) in a day in September, becoming the first to repeat Peter Croft’s 1987 feat. On El Cap, Honnold made a one-day free ascent of Freerider and freed the Salathe (35 pitches, 5.13b/c).

On the speed-racer front, in October Alexander and Thomas Huber set a new record on El Cap’s Nose route, coming in at a jaw-dropping 2:45:45, a little over three minutes faster than the now, like, totally slowpoke old record set by Yuji Hirayama and Hans Florine in 2002. A few days before their undisputed record, the Hubers ran up the route in a time so close to the then- existing record that they were unsure whether they’d set a new record, reportedly due to uncertainty over whether the stopwatch should stop at the final chain anchors or the large tree beyond, and whether it stops when the leader or the second reaches the aforementioned finish line. So they returned a few days later to huck another, faster lap. It now appears that, in fact, both of their ascents had broken the old record.

In addition to Growing Up, Sean Jones put up an eight-pitch 5.11c wide-crack line, called Laid to Rest, up the major corner system on the far right side of Half Dome’s south face.