David Allfrey Sets Solo Speed Record on Zodiac

The big-wall slayer rolled out a 10:52:50 solo ascent of Zodiac on El Cap

By Owen Clarke | June 5th, 2018

On June 2, a hammerless David Allfrey sent his first solo El Cap route, the 1,800 foot Zodiac, casually logging a speed record in just under 11 hours. The previous solo record for the 16-pitch route, listed on speedclimb.com, was 11 hours 18 minutes by Nick Fowler, back in 2002.

“I love the Zodiac. I think it’s one of the best routes on El Cap,” Allfrey wrote in an email to Rock and Ice, when asked why he chose Zodiac for his first solo. “But it is also the quintessential trade route.  It’s like the benchmark, baseline aid route, one of the most famous in the world. It is steep as hell and just the right length to be big but not soul crushing. So this draws me to it, but it’s a fun and classic route too that I enjoy climbing.”

Allfrey on Zodiac with Alex Honnold in 2014. Photo: Gabriel Mann

Allfrey wrote, “Soloing is a lot more work, obviously. You have to do twice as much, climb the pitch, rap down, clean it. I had a lot of different rope tricks and was able to avoid rappelling back down on four of the pitches, and I linked pitches in several different places to minimize transitions. Hard to say if it actually helped me move faster, but it broke the route into smaller mental pieces, and I think that helped.”

Still, Allfrey noted, “Soloing is just a lot more work, and for me it is not my favorite to go out alone. It took a lot of mental energy just to force myself into the idea. It was something I wanted to have done but was powerfully nervous to try and do. I’m really glad it went so well and was such a good time.”

On his decision not to bring a hammer, Allfrey told friend Peter Zabrok, “If you can’t climb this route clean, you shouldn’t be up there.”

Despite this being his first El Cap solo, the Vegas-based climber has an impressive speed resume. A search for his name on the Speed Climbing tab of yosemitebigwall.com pulls up thirteen speed records, all in the last decade. Eight of those were with some Yosemite dirtbag (I didn’t recognize the name but you might’ve heard of him… Alex Honnold?), and all but one were on El Cap routes. This time four years ago, Allfrey and Honnold climbed seven El Cap routes in seven days. In the process, the duo set four speed records. On this seven day assault they climbed Zodiac in five hours five minutes. El Cap speed records to Allfrey’s name include Tangerine Trip (VI 5.9 A3; 9:28), West Buttress (VI 5.9 A3; 7:01), Octopussy (VI 5.9 A3; 18:08), Excalibur (VI 5.8 A3; 16:10), Triple Direct (VI 5.9 A2; 5:15), New Jersey Turnpike (VI 5.10 A4; 12:24), Eagle’s Way (VI 5.8 A3; 7:56), Lunar Eclipse (VI 5.7 A4; 11:22), Shortest Straw (VI 5.7 A4; 12:20), Zenyatta Mondatta (VI 5.7 A4;  16:53), Virginia (VI 5.8 A3; 13:58), Scorched Earth (VI 5.8 A4; 22:28), and now a solo of Zodiac.

Allfrey and Honnold after sending Triple Direct with a time of 5:15. Photo: Gabriel Mann

Next, Allfrey’s heading to Trango Valley in Pakistan with Anna Pfaff and Andres Martin. “Hopefully we will get a chance to try the Trango Tower, something that has been a life goal for all three of us for a long time,” he wrote.

When asked to choose a song that embodied his Zodiac climb, Allfrey responded, “Something like Metallica with a few moments of Taylor Swift to lighten it up.”


 

 

Also Read

Honnold and Caldwell Break Nose Record (Again!), Blaze Up in 2:01:50!

Deaths on El Cap: Jason Wells, 45, and Tim Klein, 42

Interview: Tommy Caldwell on Nose Speed Record

Also Watch

VIDEO: Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher Send Zodiac (VI 5.13d) on El Cap

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

New Route and Fifth Overall Ascent of Cerro Paine Grande in Patagonia

Max Didier and Cristobal Señoret have made the first ascent of a route on the 300 meter (984 foot) southwest face of Cerro Paine Grande.

read more

Harrington and North Put Up New Alaskan Route, Dedicate it to Leclerc and Johnson

The American Harrington and the Swiss North put up a new 500-meter route on Southern Duke Tower, and a new five-pitch route on the Taku Towers on the Juneau Ice Field.

read more

First Ascent of Janhukot (6,805 m) in the Himalaya

A British team of mountaineers, Malcolm Bass, Paul Figg and Guy Buckingham made the summit of the previously unclimbed peak June 6th

read more