Southwest Face

  • Grades: US
  • Approach time: 10 min
  • Photos: 8
  • Ascents: 163

Access issues inherited from Yosemite National Park

It is a national park.


Drive to the "El Cap" parking area where the Bear Bins are. Walk towards the face of "El Cap" and pick up the obvious climbers trail. A short 10 mins later and you will be walking directly up to the start of "The Nose", the first climb you come too.

Descent notes

Do not underestimate the difficulty of the descent from the top of El Capitan, prepare appropriately with water and food. The Yosemite Falls Trail took me 10 hours (approx 9 miles) to complete as a big wall party with a single haul bag, portaledge and rack and 2 ropes. It was gruelling. I haven't tried the Eastern Ledges Descent but highly recommend it, it can't be worst than the Yosemite Falls Trail.


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Grade Route

3 June 2017 : free soloed by Alex Honnold.

FA: Alex Huber

FFA: Dean Potter †, 2002

FA: Royal Robbins, Tom Frost & Chuck Pratt, 1961

FFA: Todd Skinner & Paul Piana, 1988

Parallels 'The Nose'

FA: Brandon Adams & Kristoffer Wickstrom, 28 Apr

1 5.11c

On the tick list of most aspiring climbers, The Nose is a long, sustained and beautiful climb. An incredible line straight up an intimidating wall with many memorable pitches. The Nose can be done big wall style, or it can be done "Nose In a Day"(NIAD) style.

The climbing has a surprising amount of splitter cracks with many pitches of sustained hands/fists cracks. If you are aiding, it can be done with some mandatory 5.9 climbing and mandatory C2 sections. Much of the C2 on The Nose is actually quite soft for the grade due to the abundance of fixed gear and long pieces of tat which avoids some of the more difficult sections. Don't underestimate the difficulty of a summit however, you need to have many technical skills dialed, such as pendulums, hauling, lowerouts etc. in order to make it. You also need to move fast, most parties bail not because they don't have the ability to do a single pitch, but because they are moving to slow. Practice lots and move quick.

Speed Records

  • 1975 : Jim Bridwell, John Long, Billy Westbay : 17:45
  • 1984 : Duncan Critchley, Romain Vogler : 09:30 (approximate)
  • 1986 : John Bachar, Peter Croft : 10:05
  • 1990 : Hans Florine, Steve Schneider : 8:06
  • 1990 : Peter Croft, Dave Schultz : 6:40
  • 1991 : Hans Florine, Andres Puhvel : 6:01
  • 1991 : Peter Croft, Dave Schultz : 4:48
  • 1992 : Hans Florine, Peter Croft : 4:22
  • 2001-10 : Dean Potter †, Timmy O'Neill : 3:59:35
  • 2001-10 : Hans Florine, Jim Herson : 3:57:27
  • 2001-11 : Dean Potter †, Timmy O'Neill : 3:24:20
  • 2002-9-29 : Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama : 2:48:55
  • 2007-10-4 : Alexander and Thomas Huber : 2:48:30
  • 2007-10-8 : Alexander and Thomas Huber : 2:45:45
  • 2008-7-2 : Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama : 2:43:33
  • 2008-10-12 : Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama : 2:37:05
  • 2010-11-6 : Dean Potter †, Sean Leary : 2:36:45
  • 2012-6-17 : Hans Florine, Alex Honnold : 2:23:46
  • 2017-10-21 : Jim Reynolds, Brad Gobright : 2:19:44

FA: Warren Harding, Wayne Merry & George Whitmore, 1958

FFA: Lynn Hill, 1993


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