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Alex Honnold breaks Salathé Wall Rope-Solo speed recordNewsflash

© Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold has broken the speed record for rope-soloing the Salathe Wall (5.13c), on El Capitan, Yosemite. 

Alex Honnold breaks Salathé Wall rope-solo speed record  © Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold breaks Salathé Wall rope-solo speed record
© Alex Honnold

At the beginning of May 2024, the Salathé Wall rope-solo speed record was held by Cheyne Lempe, who climbed the route in 20 hours and 6 minutes back in 2013. Lempe's ascent broke the long-held record of 21 hours and 44 minutes, set by Steve Schneider in 1992.

In early May, Byran Hansell lowered the record for the first time in over a decade, shaving just nine minutes off Lempe's 2013 record, with a time of 19 hours and 57 minutes. 

Yet whilst Scheider's record stood for over two decades, and Lempe's stood for eleven years, Hansell's would stand for just eleven days before Honnold came along to claim it, lowering the record by a margin of 8 hours and 39 minutes.

The 870 metre route shares much of the same ground as Freerider, which Honnold famously climbed entirely without ropes or gear in the film Free Solo, yet has 'several key differences that required an array of different techniques'.

Alex Honnold breaks Salathé Wall rope-solo speed record  © Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold breaks Salathé Wall rope-solo speed record
© Alex Honnold

Sharing the details of his ascent on Instagram, Honnold said:

'I fully rope soloed 7 pitches I think, and daisy soloed/back looped many little sections here and there. I wound up setting a new speed record of 11:18, though I was reminded of the Warren Harding quote to the effect of "as I pulled over the top of the mountain it was unclear who was the conqueror, because the mountain seemed to be in much better condition that I was."'

'My hands are all cut up from random rope handling injuries (hitting the wall while pulling on ropes) and I'm generally worked and sore. But it was a beautiful day on the wall, almost entirely in the shade. And I got to see tons of nice folks along the way. All in all, a great day of climbing!'

'The pics are various selfies along the way, my rack on the summit, and a screenshot of my timer (which includes my transition on the summit and then the trot down)'.


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Alex Honnold is a professional rock climber whose audacious free-solo ascents of America’s biggest cliffs have made him one of the most recognised and followed climbers in the world. A gifted but hard-working...

Alex's Athlete Page 29 posts 13 videos



28 May

Bit of a hybrid ascent, then. Hard to define... apart from impressive, that is.

28 May

Not sure about that. Rope solo seems to be a pretty established style for big walls and I'm sure most practitioners are just soloing particularly easy pitches rather than faffing with the ropes. Honnold has probably just used a different definition of easy ground rather than blurring the boundaries of the style.

28 May
You’d think that a true solo of this route would be impossible, but I guess everyone thought that about Freerider.
28 May

A poor choice of words, Jon. I am sure you meant well.

All AH has done is cover the ground as fast as practical, same rules as all El Cap records.

World class performance from a world class performer.

28 May

Love that quote from Warren Harding!

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