The history of big wall free climbing can be witnessed on the walls of Yosemite. Canadian Sonnie Trotter recently tried to add to that history by making the first free ascent of the original North America Wall.
The North America Wall was first climbed by Yvon Couinard, Tom Frost, Chuck Pratt and Royal Robbins. Many of the pitches have been freed. Alex and Thomas Huber freed El Nino 5.13c, A0 in 1998, which climbs pitches of the North America Wall and is said to be the free variation.
Trotter freed the first five pitches up to 5.14a/b, pitch-six shut him down at 5.12c/d A0. Trotter said on Facebook, “Yesterday, I said goodbye to El Capitan for another year. My dream of freeing the original North America Wall sadly ended six-feet shy from being a possibility. As it turns out, bolt ladders can’t always be free climbed, no matter how optimistic you are.”
Trotter graded the pitches 5.11+, 5.13-, 5.14a/b, 5.12+, 5.11+, 5.12+ A0, which takes you to the Continental Shelf.
In 2012, Trotter made the second ascent of The Prophet 5.13d in Yosemite.