The record-breaking day

There’s been a great deal of excitement and story-telling about the new speedclimbing record on the Nose, recently obtained by Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama. 2 hours, 43 minutes, 33 seconds. In addition to the details from Hans, ElcapPics turned in an entertaining and suspenseful narrative on Supertopo. It was very exciting, the media was there, even The Big Hats, like Superintendent Mike Tollefson, were out in the meadow. There were multiple champagne celebrations, and I cheered until I was a hoarse.

A couple of highlights for me:

On the Sunday attempt, someone reviewing video of the King Swing made a comment about how the guys made the monster swing look something like Bandaloop’s vertical dancing, and Hans joked about throwing in a move. Who would have thought that in the middle of a down-to-the-minute record breaking attempt, Hans would actually go through with it? Could it be that he was actually having fun up there?

Sean Jones brought a posse of local El Portal kids out to the meadow to watch, and cheer. I loved the energy that they brought to the meadow. Afterwards, they gathered around Yuji to congratulate him and one said that they hoped the Hubers wouldn’t break their record. When Yuji replied, “I don’t care. The Hubers are my friends,” I hoped it would be an attitude toward competition and sport that the kids could carry with them for a while.

There was inspiration everywhere I turned that day. I met a guy who works for Architechtural Digest who came up from the Bay Area for some climbing, and to film the event. He’d been in a car accident that left his left arm hanging by the skin. Although he thought he’d never climb again, a short session at Swan Slab convinced him otherwise.

Tom Frost, at the age of 72, did the 4th class scramble to the base of the route to see the guys off… after sleeping on the floor at our place because it was too much trouble to pull out a futon. (I wasn’t there, and take no responsibility for that decision.)

And lastly, although I could go on and on, I was impressed with the number and diversity of people that came out to support these guys. From Hans’ posse of friends drove up from the Bay Area for the morning, to the crazy-fit guys who filmed them on the route, to the locals who took time out of their day to swing by, to the guy who rode up for specifically to see Sunday’s attempt and stayed through the record-breaking effort on Wednesday.