the nose

Free soloist and cutting-edge climber Alex Honnold has added a sit-down start to The Nose on El Capitan, the most famous climb on Yosemite’s most famous formation, adding a new wrinkle to a legendary climb.

“It’s a sidepull with your right hand, and you get a toe edge on this small flake out right, and you pull up to a crimp, get your left hand into the first-pitch crack, step into it, and then it’s just 31 pitches of 5.9 C1 to the topout,” Honnold said.

Honnold estimates the sequence of moves he’s added to be about V3, but says the route needs more repeats to confirm the rating. He’s named the variation “The Nose Direct SDS,” and as of yesterday, the route still awaits its second ascent. Footage of Honnold’s first ascent of the sit-down start briefly appeared on Vimeo last week, but was removed after only a few hours, said to be part of a longer feature documentary on Honnold’s exploration of sit-down starts in Yosemite and around the world. Adventure Journal has learned the working title is “Nowhere to Go But Up.”


“It’s kind of amazing no one spotted it before,” Honnold said of the new variation. “Although I guess people might be distracted by the 2,900 feet of climbing above those three moves.” Honnold free climbed the rest of the route at 5.13+ after the new start.

Honnold did not put any tick marks on the holds for the new variation.

Photo by Xavier de Jauréguiberry/Flickr

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