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El Capitan, the symbol of Yosemite valley
Photo by Mayan Smith-Gobat
Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold on top of El Capitan after having set a new speed record up The Nose in Yosemite
Photo by REEL ROCK / Corey Rich
Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell during the Dawn Wall push, El Capitan, Yosemite
Photo by Tommy Caldwell
Leo Houlding dynoing through the crux of The Passage to Freedom, El Capitan, Yosemite.
Photo by Andrew McGarry

Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold free new big wall climb up El Capitan, Yosemite

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US climbers Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have added a new free climb to El Capitan in Yosemite. The big wall roughly follows the line of New Dawn.

American climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold have established a new free route up El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, USA. Currently there are not too many details to go by, but the new route roughly follows New Dawn, the variation to Early Morning Light to the right of The Nose. The route concludes the efforts of British climber Leo Houlding who, 18 years ago, managed to find a free line up to El Cap Tower before being forced to halt his attempt, calling it Passage to Freedom.

Caldwell and Honnold worked the route for about three weeks together with Kevin Jorgeson and the line has been described in no uncertain terms by Caldwell as providing "some of the most spectacular climbing I have found." Caldwell and Honnold pulled off the free ascent a few days ago while Jorgeson couldn’t join due to other commitments.

It goes without saying that Honnold, Caldwell and Jorgeson are currently the most proficient climbers on El Capitan. Over the years Caldwell has racked up numerous first free ascents including West Buttress (2003), Dihedral Wall (2004), Magic Mushroom (2008) and Dawn Wall, the most difficult big wall in the world completed in January 2015 with Kevin Jorgeson. In 2017 Alex Honnold made a free solo ascent of Freerider, becoming the first to climb El Capitan without ropes, while in 2018 Honnold and Caldwell set a new speed record on The Nose, racing up El Capitan's icon in in less than two hours.

Info: IG Tommy Caldwell, IG Alex Honnold, La Sportiva

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We’ve been keeping things kinda vegue this season as to not make too much of a spectacle. But @alexhonnold and I, with @austin_siadak and @kjorgeson finished a pretty legit new free route on El Cap a few days ago. It primarily followed the aid climb New Dawn and has some of the most spectacular climbing I have found. It’s a continuation of a free route that @leo_houlding established half way up the wall 18 years ago called Passage to Freedom. That route was ahead of its time and a work of art in itself featuring El Caps first sideways Dyno. Leo also bolted a Alfa Romeo hood badge to the wall which he used as a handhold to get past a section he believed was impossible without. (We found a way around). After a few weeks of work, having not tried many of sections of the climb, Alex and I went for kind of a Hail Mary attempt. Miraculously we pulled it off! Life complications kept Kevin away for too much of the Toiling and working of the route for him to feel ready for the Hail Mary. Wish you could have been with us buddy. There are many great stories and photos from @austin_siadak. So I’m going to try and share a few in the coming days. Last photo in the reel is Leo back in the day and was taken by Andrew Mcgarry.

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