Dean Potter & Hans Florine - good climbing news from Yosemite Valley
At the end of July, Dean Potter and Hans Florine made what may go down as one of the biggest achievements in the history of climbing in Yosemite.
On the evening of Monday, July 26, Dean Potter solo climbed El Cap and Half Dome in a day climbing each of most direct routes on these two big walls. Potter succeeded in a little more than 23 hours (time taken from the base of the first route to the top of the second), climbing El Capitan in 13 hours, give or take a minute, followed by Half Dome in 5 hours and 17 minutes. "Dean told me he did the Nose in less than 13 hours, but he’s not sure how much less, maybe 12:45, maybe 12:58.”
On Wednesday morning, Hans Florine managed the same undertaking, except that first he climbed Half Dome, followed by El Capitan. Hans did not know that Dean had carried out his ascent two days earlier. Hans enchained the two routes in 21 hours and 3 minutes (time from the base of the first route to the top of the second). Since Dean’s order included the grueling 2 hours approach to Half Dome (compared to the 15 minutes approach to El Cap), these two performances are almost identical. Hans climbed Half Dome in 3 hours and 57 minutes and El Cap in 13 hours and 41 minutes.
This enchainment has so far only been carried out by four expert teams, and no one had ever even dreamed of attempting to solo it (for the record, both Potter and Florine used ropes during their lone ascents).
In recent years Dean and Hans have reciprocally fed off each other’s achievements to push the standards of rock climbing in Yosemite. Last month Florine had announced, to many climbers in the valley, that he would have made his attempt with the full moon. In all likelihood Dean planned his attempt the day beforehand to secure this "first", which he succeeded in doing.
Florine held the solo record on El Capitan prior to Potter’s new record set on Monday. As it happens, Potter held the solo record on Half Dome until this was broken by Florine during Wednesday’s enchainment!
Questions & Answers to Hans Florine by Nicola Noè
What routes did you and Dean?
The Nose on El Cap and the North West Regular on Half Dome.
How much did you climb "free solo" and how much did you self-belay?
I climbed "free solo" up about 70% of Half Dome and 20% of El Cap. Dean self-belayed most of the time - I’m not sure how much he did "free solo", but I’m sure it’s much more than what I did.
How did you get from one face to the other?
By car and then on foot.
How much water and food did you use? Did you take it all with you or stash some previously?
I drank a liter and a half on Half Dome and 4 liters of El Cap. I took them with me. I had a number of energy bars, dried fruit, biscuits and I ate an ice cream between one route and the next. Dean said that stopped off at the bar to have breakfast between the two routes.
Did you use head torches or did you have to climb in the dark?
I used a Petzl Duo headtorch. There was a full moon but I turned on the light to climb.