Just a few days ago, on October 10, Nich Ehman, a Search and Rescue Ranger from Yosemite Valley, smashed Alex Honnold’s record for climbing the Nose.
Established in 2010 by Honnold, the Nose-in-a-Day solo record, also known as NIAD, was 5 hours and 50 minutes. Now, Ehman managed to send, the challenge in 4 hours and 39 minutes, slashing over an hour from his predecessor’s achievement. Just like Alex, Nich didn’t free solo the route; instead, he used a mix of free and aid climbing.
For this mega send, Ehman took the Jardine Traverse, which allowed him to use a shorter rope and less gear, contrary to Honnold’s approach, which took the King Swing. Choosing this route was crucial for his achievement, as Nich declared.
Over the past few years, Ehman has climbed most of the classic routes in the Valley. Being a trad aficionado, he has climbed The Nose over 35 times, so it wasn’t his first encounter with this classic route.
On the day of the send, Nich wasn’t aiming to set a record but simply spend a beautiful day on the gorgeous granite walls. Only 4 hours and 39 minutes later, when he topped out and took his phone off airplane mode, he was shocked to find out that he had become an instant superstar, smashing Honnold’s record.
The first Nose-in-a-Day solo was set by Steve “Shipoopi” Schneider in 1989, in 21 hours and 22 minutes. Thirty years later, Stone Monkey Dean Potter and Hans Florine contributed to increasing the NIAD challenge by shortening the climbing time more and more.
A great sport as usual, Honnold congratulated Nich and said that he would love to talk to him about the experience, being stoked that the speed climbing game is back after several years of idle.
It wasn’t the first time that another climber beat Alex’s record; in 2013, Marc-André Leclerc reduced Alex Honnold’s time record for ascending the Grand Wall in Squamish from 59 to 57 minutes. Honnold later made a comeback and reclaimed the top spot on the list.
After Nich’s success, we’re eager to see if Honnold is planning a rematch.