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Watch Lynn Hill Free Climbing The Nose

Top climber Lynn Hill left the World Cup comp circuit in 1992 to pursue bigger adventures. The following year, she made the first free ascent of The Nose 5.14.

In an interview from 1999 with Peter Potterfield, Hill said, “The thing I didn’t like too much towards the end was how focused it was on just indoor climbing and training.

“I didn’t start out training on artificial walls, and that’s not really ever something that I wanted to do as a full-time profession.”

This magnificent view evokes a sense of nostalgia every time!

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Hill first attempted to free The Nose in 1989 with Simon Nadin. Their attempt didn’t unlock all of the pitches, but Hill returned in 1993 with Brooke Sandahl and climbed the route all free.

She originally graded it 5.13b/c and wrote in her autobiography about the crux Changing Corners pitch, “rating the difficulty of such a pitch is almost impossible.

“The most accurate grade would be to call it ‘once, or maybe twice, in a lifetime.'” In 1994, she freed The Nose in less than 24 hours.

It was around that same time that Hill made the first on-sight of Mingus 5.13b in Verdon Gorge.

The Free Nose and the Free Nose in a Day remained unrepeated for over a decade, despite many top climbers trying.

On Oct. 14, 2005, Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden freed The Nose. Then on Oct. 16, 2005, Caldwell did it in less than 12 hours.

In an interview with Andy McCue, Hill said the following:

“At the end of my competition career I felt like things were evolving more towards the indoor format and it really wasn’t how I started to climb and it didn’t represent the values of climbing in a complete way and so I decided I would do something like this as a retirement gesture. John Long said, ‘Hey Lynnie you should go up and try to free climb The Nose.’

“So it just happened to be the perfect goal for me and I liked the fact this climb was in Yosemite because I remember going there and just seeing the valley and it was just mind blowing how beautiful it was. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place anywhere in the world.

What an honor to belay Alex Honnold cleaning the Great Roof!

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“For me The Nose was much bigger than me, it wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my ego, my gratification it was actually something that I wanted to do. I felt like I had a chance and that if I could do that it would be a really big statement to people to think about.

“You don’t have to be a man to do something that’s ‘out there’ as a first ascent. Obviously people tried to do that route and they failed on it and so if a lot of good climbers have come and tried to do it and failed and a woman comes and does it first it’s really meaningful. That was my underlying motivation.”

Watch Hill free climbing the nose in clips from a film by Jean Afanassieff.