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Climber Solos Yosemite’s Nose in a Day

The first rope-solo of The Nose in a day was back in 1989, but few climbers have managed to accomplish the sub-24-hour ascent sans partner. The most recent solo ascent was last week

There may be no big wall rock climb more famous in the world than The Nose on El Capitan, a 31-pitch 5.9 C2 which has been freed at 5.14a. American climber Chris Gay has become the latest to make a rope-solo ascent of The Nose in under 24 hours, which he accomplished earlier this month. Climbers use a variety of techniques to rope-solo on El Capitan, from self-belaying to “Metroviching” – a term coined after speed-soloist Russ Mitrovich where a climber uses daisy chains to stay clipped to at least two pieces at all times.

Rope-soloing The Nose in a day – known as NIAD – is rarely done, but many climbers have accomplished the feat over the past few decades. The first rope-solo NIAD was in 1989 by Steve “Shipoopi” Schneider in 21:22. In 1999, Dean Potter lowered the fastest solo time up NIAD to 12 hours and 59 minutes. Hans Florine took back the solo NIAD record with a time of 11 hours and 41 minutes. In 2012, Alex Honnold soloed The Nose in six hours. In 2016, Miranda Oakley became the first woman to rope-solo NIAD.

In 2018, top U.K. climber Pete Whittaker rope-soloed the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome and The Nose in under 24 hours. During that same trip, Whittaker became the first climber to free and rope-solo El Capitan in a day with an ascent of Freerider – read more about it here.

Six years ago, Chris Gay worked as a climbing steward for Yosemite National Park, during which time he began exploring rope-soloing valley walls. In 2016, he rope-soloed The Prow on Washington Column.