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El Capitan, Yosemite, USA
El Capitan, Yosemite, USA
Photo by Peter Mathis

Photo by Peter Mathis

Photo by Peter Mathis

Golden Gate, the Huber brothers climb El Capitan

10.04.2001 by Alexander Huber

Alexander Huber and Thomas Huber free climb Golden Gate on El Capitan, Yosemite, USA.

Free-climbing on El Capitan: days on end spent high up on the wall, climbing awkwardly through chimneys and offwidths to a backdrop of incredible exposure and all the while placing natural pro – these are all ingredients that make for a particularly interesting game!

Lynn Hill’s ascent of The Nose was a true exploit, an event that rocked the entire climbing world! Her comment “It goes, boys” was direct, tough and appropriate. In her provocative but nonetheless charming manner she demonstrated that she had shifted the balance in a traditionally male-dominated sport. Discovering El Capitan from a new angle, she provided others with the insight that there was still much left to explore!

Lurking Fear, Salathé, Nose, El Nino aka Free Variation to the North American Wall and Freeride, the easiest line through these gigantic walls! And, last but not least, Muir Wall, a stunning 1000-meter big wall with only two meters of aid. It's still there, awaiting a continuous complete free ascent.

Alexander Huber believed Heart Route to be another possible contender for a free line; climbed in 1970 by Chuck Kroger and Scott Davis, it was one of the first routes on El Cap and followed the main features of the face. In as much it offered the best chances for a continuous free line.

On 20th of September Alexander started to solo up a new line which escaped from Salathé at the height of El Cap Spire and then joined the Heart Route after 4 pitches. Most of the climb then continued along the original route and only the wet and muddy Rainy Day Woman Crack was bypassed on the left. On the fifth day Alexander reached the exit of Heart Route, the huge Fat City ramp, and found a fantastic free solution to the left: a 300ft flake that rips through the highly exposed and overhanging Headwall. It was to become the perfect exit to a new climb, Golden Gate.

Alexander's brother Thomas arrived in Yosemite at the beginning of October and they immediately began work on a free ascent. On Friday 13th they climbed halfway up Salathé and bivied on El Cap Spire, but on the second day they encountered problems: Alexander broke some holds on the first 5.13a pitch and needed three attempts for the clean redpoint. It was too late to exit that day and Alexander had wasted too much energy on just that one pitch, so the brothers spent another night on the wall before reaching the summit of El Cap the next day, free-climbing Golden Gate in a single push – 41 pitches, 1x5.13b, 2x5.13a and 5x5.12!

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