Adrian Vanoni and Sam Stroh have repeated the 36-pitch Golden Gate, a popular 5.13a big wall free route on El Capitan, to close out the first month of 2022 in Yosemite.
Golden Gate heads up the first 20 pitches of Salathé Wall. It’s followed by a 5.12c down-climb, a 5.13a pitch, the 5.12 Golden Desert pitch, the A5 traverse and the Razorblades pitch. The first ascent of Golden Gate was in 2000 by Alex and Thomas Huber.
Banonit and Stroh are not alone on El Capitan, as climbers are currently attempting other big free routes, including Dawn Wall. Stroh, who we recently featured in Gripped here, told PhysiVāntage Nutrition:
Three days after impulsively packing our haul bags and driving to Yosemite for a ground-up attempt on El Capitan’s Golden Gate, my partner Adrian and I were setting up our portaledge in the alcove halfway up El Cap. After two days of climbing and hauling all of our stuff, we sat one pitch below the first crux, a 5.13a slabby downclimb. We waited for the sun to go down before trying this techy, temperature dependent pitch. After back to back sends on the Downclimb, we kept our momentum, and over the next 2 days we both ticked The Move and the Golden Desert pitches in only a couple of tries. On our 6th night on the wall, we sat below the A5 Traverse , the last crux pitch a few hundred feet from the summit. We both sussed the moves and knew we could put it down that night if we climbed well. Adrian fired the pitch second go, and it was so cool to watch him throw down on a climb that meant so much to him. Adrian got back to the belay and it was my turn. I tied in and stepped off the ledge. Before I knew it I was through the last hard moves only a few feet from the anchor, but then the pump set in, I heard a crack in my shoulder, and I was off, whipping into the darkness. I didn’t think I had it in me to give it another go that night. After some time in the portaledge, I tied back in and sent the pitch. Elated, Adrian and I rapped back down to camp, and we knew we had it in the bag. The next day we climbed 5 excellent pitches of 5.11 to the summit. We both had achieved a major dream in our climbing lives and it felt great to share the experience.