In 1993, California’s Lynn Hill did something that no one on earth (man or woman) had ever done. With her partner Brooke Sandahl, she became the first person to free climb one of the most famous rock summits in the world, The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Prior to this, The Nose stood tall as one of the hardest and most famous routes on the California big wall and in the world. It had been climbed before, many times actually, but never free climbed.
The Nose is the original bad boy of technical climbing that only California can produce. It was once considered the “impossible climb,” yet now is the standard for big-wall rock climbing. It is 2,900 feet of struggle that few in the world have ever been able to master. Lynn was the first to do it without any aid.
In 1994, she returned to the wall and became the first person to free climb The Nose in a single 24 hour period. Climbing The Nose in that time period remained unrepeated for more than 10 years. Climbing The Nose has been called one of the most important climbing achievements ever.
Lynn grew up in Detroit, Michigan, an unlikely place for one of the world’s best climbers to come from. But it was California where she started climbing at the early age of 14. In the 1980′s, she was part of the famous Camp 4 climbing community at the base of Yosemite, a group of die hard climbers, both young and old, that were responsible for some of the hardest and most famous first ascents of the rock.
Here’s to you, Lynn, and everything you’ve done and still do today.
Click here to see video footage of Hill on The Nose.