First Ascent of New Free Route on El Capitan

Oct 30, 2010
Outside Magazine


After ten years of work, British climber Leo Houlding has made the first ascent of The Prophet, a new free route on Yosemite's El Capitan, Deadpoint Mag reports.

The Prophet ascends the right side of El Cap, linking up pitches from established routes Bad To The Bone, The Secret Passage, and Eagle's Way.The crux of the route is the A1 Beauty, a narrow fingertip crack on the second-to-last pitch that Houlding called "the hardest thing I've tried." After working the pitch on toprope, Houlding and partner Jason Pickles began a ground-up ascent of the climb, topping out on Wednesday to cheers from climbers in El Capitan Meadow. 

Houlding, 30, first came to public attention with his repeats of dangerous British trad routes like Master's Wall (E7) and End Of The Affair (E8). In an interview with UK Climbing in September, Houlding talked about the difficulties of freeing The Prophet.

"The Prophet has been almost 10 years in the making. I originally attempted it from the ground up with Jason Pickles; no aid, no fixed ropes, no drill, in-a-day," Houlding said. "It's quite harrowing - hardest climbing I've done ground up; shitty belays, shitty bolts, hard moves."

No grade has been proposed for the climb so far.

--Adam Roy

Photo Credit: Tom Evans/El Cap Report

Filed To: Adventure, Climbing

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