Honnold changes pebbles for bigwall

Alex Honnold has, together with Ivo Ninov and Conrad Anker made the... what? 8th? free ascent of the 30 pitch El Niño, 8a+ (6 pitches between 7c+ and 8a+) on El Cap, first freed by the Huber-brothers a decade ago. Could this be the first free winter ascent (FFWA)? Having spent a month or so wrestling, what in comparison are mere pebbles, in the UK, the 30 pitches of this route must have posed a formidable challange. In fact, Alex says he, although he climbed a bit at the Jailhouse before Yosemite, got his endurance back on El Niño. "It's funny to get back in shape for sport climbing by doing a wall". A week or so later, and once again at the Jailhouse, he proved his sport climbing shape was indeed back by firing off Burning down the house, 8c.

Photo: Alex on an intimidating sandstone arête made famous by The Sharp End by Sender films

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