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Salathé: Caldwell free climbs Yosemite classic in a day

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Tommy Caldwell becomes the first person to free climb the Salathé, Yoesemite, in a day

Tommy Caldwell climbs the Salathé in 19 hours and 30 minutes! This record ascent is without a doubt one of "the" climbs this summer, if not this year, as the 24 year-old American becomes the first person to free climb all 35 pitches in a day.

The ultra-classic big wall has been a reference point ever since its first-ascent in 1961 by R. Robbins, C. Pratt and T. Frost, attracting many of the world's best over the years. Noteworthy ascents include, amongst others, the first free ascent by Todd Skinner and Paul Piana, and more recently Yuji Hirayama's impressive on-sight attempt.

Caldwell is by no means new to fast big wall ascents, and is now clearly back on form after an accident at the end of 2001 which resulted in part of his index finger being amputated. What a fantastic recovery!


The Salathé Wall - El Capitan (Yosemite)
1961
First ascent: R. Robbins, C. Pratt, T. Frost
Length: 870 m (35 pitches)
grade: 5.13b
First free ascent: Todd Skinner and Paul Piana (alternate leads)
One of the all time climbing monuments; the Salathé takes perhaps the most logical line up the wall. Each pitch is enshriined in history and has its own name. All are mythical. The route is usually ascended by climbing the first 10 pitches to the Mammoth Terraces, abseiling down past the Heart Leadge, to then jumar back up and continue the next day.


El Capitan (ph F. Piardi)

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