2 hours, 37+ minutes up El Capitan
Lafayette climber Hans Florine and his partner topped their own speed record on Yosemite's El Capitan Sunday, climbing the 2,900-foot landmark in 2 hours, 37 minutes and 5 seconds.
The average time for climbers to complete the vertical cliff route, called The Nose, is five days, according to the Web site http://www.supertopo.com.
Florine and Yuji Hirayama of Japan beat their previous best mark by 6½ minutes. That time was set in July, when the pair re-claimed the record from a pair of German brothers who set a record in 2007 of 2 hours, 45 minutes and 47 seconds.
Florine first set a record on The Nose in 1990. He has climbed the route more than 70 times, and has reclaimed the record half a dozen times after being bested by other climbers.
He and Hirayama returned because they thought they could do better — and because a Japanese documentary television crew came to film the effort.
"We wanted to push ourselves, we thought we could do better," Florine said Monday as he drove back to the Bay Area from Yosemite. "We think that it'll be very hard for anyone to break (the record)."
The weather was cold Sunday, Florine said, delaying the pair's usual sunrise start until around 10 a.m. It was still cold in the shadows at the top of the climb, Florine said.
"A couple times there I couldn't feel my fingertips too well," he said.
To speed the climb up at the top, Florine quit belaying — securing ropes — for Hirayama, who was leading.
"I didn't hold the rope for Yuji at the top a few times," Florine said.
The pair was cheered on by a crowd of spectators, ranging from fellow climbers to passers-by.
"There's no substitute for having those yells come up from the valley floor 2,000 feet below," Florine said. "There's an incredible way the updraft kind of carries the audio up."
Florine said it would be his last record attempt on The Nose.
"We are both happy with leaving it like this, even if someone goes and breaks it," Florine said. "We're not coming back."