Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold grabbed the first major achievement of Yosemite's spring climbing season this weekend when they made the first free ascent of the Triple Crown, a linkup that combines three of Yosemite's biggest walls, in a single day. In 21 hours and 15 minutes, Honnold and Caldwell raced up El Capitan's Freerider, Half Dome's Regular Northwest Face, and Mt. Watkins' South Face. All in all, they ascended nearly 7,000 vertical feet of sheer rock, covering sections as difficult as 5.13a.
The partners began their linkup on Friday at 4:45 p.m. and climbed through the night, finishing at 2 p.m. the next day. While Caldwell took three tumbles on the way up Freerider, Honnold didn't fall once. Besides the 77 pitches of climbing, the linkup includes several hours of hiking just to approach and descend from the routes.
Caldwell at the crux of Mt. Watkins South Face, from his first attempt at the route.
"This one was a long time coming," Caldwell wrote on Facebook. "El Cap, Half Dome and Mount Watkins all free in under 24 hours. It was amazing to team up with such a solid and inspiring partner."