David Allfrey

Like 4x4s in climbing … except not.

Best known for seemingly unthinkable big wall endeavors, such as his ascent of 7 El Cap routes in 7 days with partner, Alex Honnold —David Allfrey has time and again made the impossible, possible. Hear about his favorite climbing experiences, lesser known passions, and destination desires in this 5×5 Revelations

1. Psych

2. Good climbing shoes

3. A harness

4. A chalk bag

5. Food


Oh man, that’s tough, I am pretty outspoken and don’t keep to many secrets!

1. I love to cook

2. I plan to win the lottery

3. I contemplate giving up climbing for sailing (which I know very little about but fantasize about the idea of living on a boat)

4. I always wanted to be an astronaut growing up

5. If I wasn’t so obsessed with climbing I might be a reclusive homesteader


1. The Link Up in Yosemite

This is actually two climbs; The Nose on El Capitan and The Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. Smash these two routes together in a day for one of the best days of climbing you could ask for. 56 pitches of incredible Yosemite crack climbing. It never ends (even when you really want it to be done). Luke Holloway and I did it in 2011, although it feels like forever ago, it was a really big deal for us both at the time.

2. Climbing 7 El Cap routes in 7 Days with Alex Honnold

It’s more than just one climb, but the whole week feels sort of like a single climb. Alex and I had been working up towards this, whether we realized it or not, since we first climbed together in the Fall of 2012. This was an idea that I had gotten from Ammon McNeely, and we decided to just give it hell and go for it. Alex was on “vacation” from all of his “work climbing.” I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation, but our bodies were messed up for weeks afterwards. 173 big wall pitches takes it’s toll on the body, apparently.

David Allfrey on Zodiak

The Nipple Pitch on Zodiac, Yosemite Valley, CA. Day 6 of 7 El Cap routes in 7 Days with Alex Honnold. Photo: Gabe Mange

3. The Triple Link Up with Cheyne Lempe

If the link up isn’t enough climbing you can add the third largest formation in Yosemite, Mount Watkins, to the start of the Link Up. This makes for 75 pitches of amazing climbing! While I was doing the 7 in 7, Honnold planted the seed in my head, he kept telling me I should take a week off and then just go for it. So that was what Cheyne and I did. A week after topping out the final route of the 7 in 7, Cheyne and I headed up to Mount Watkins for a test run, and 4 days after that we were enchaining all three routes in just under 23 hours. 


Related: A Speed Ascent of El Cap Testpiece, Zenyatta Mondatta


4. Putting up Deconstructing Jenga (5.9+ A3+, 900m) on the Great Cross Pillar in Baffin Island (May 2015)

I have always dreamed of going to Baffin Island, and finally realizing that dream was incredible. It turns out that it is actually just as amazing as I had hoped it would be. The walls are huge and they are everywhere. It was really awesome to climb in such a raw and amazing environment. I really loved it; I can’t wait to go back.

David Allfrey in Baffin Island

A self portrait of staying psyched on a cold Arctic day, high on the wall in Baffin Island. Photo: David Allfrey

5. Climbing Gold Finger (5.12a) in Tuolumne Meadows

I think that this was one of my first 5.12 routes ever. I had always heard about this incredible crack climb up in Tuolumne, and while working on YOSAR I finally made it up there. I managed to squeak out an onsight of the route in some horrendously long battle. I think I was on the route for 45 minutes with Carmen patiently belaying me (gotta love that girl!). This route just always stands out in my mind as a great day in my life of climbing.


1. The Caribbean—that’s right, underwater exploration, fishes and corals and stuff.

I love snorkeling. I went to Costa Rica last year and probably could have stayed there forever. It turns out that snorkeling is way easier than climbing and the things you see are incredibly cool. I want to explore the waters of the Caribbean more, even though I am slightly terrified of open water.

2. Baffin Island (again)

In a place that has as many big walls as this, you can’t just go once.  I have to go back and explore more walls and more of the Fjords.

David Allfrey in Baffin Island

Leading out high on the Great Cross Pillar, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada this past May. Photo: Cheyne Lempe

3. The Greater Ranges

I have always dreamed of going to the Himalaya and climbing on some high altitude big walls.  I had a trip planned in 2012, but it got canceled due to the terrorist attack at Nanga Parbat. The decision not to go was a hard one and it has always bummed me out, although I think it was the right choice at the time. I know sometime soon my time will come.

4. More of Patagonia—Torres del Paine, Cochamo, more of the Chalten Massif

I have only been to Patagonia once, and obviously, it blew my mind. The climbing was amazing and the walls are huge. I would love to explore some of the other areas outside of Chalten, like the Torres Del Paine and Cochamo. There are so many amazing looking formations down there.


One of the crux pitches on our new route Besos to Pesos on the Southeast face of Aguja De L’S, Patagonia. Photo: Jonathan Schaffer

5. Antarctica

This might be the top of my “dream” list. I have always been amazed by the huge formations in Queen Maud Land since I saw photos years ago. When Mike Libecki went, I read about his trip and it blew my mind. Unfortunately it is a crazy expensive place to go, anyone out there interested in helping to support Antarctic first ascents!?


1. Rock climbing

Where would I be without it!?

2. Quitting nursing school

Probably the best and worst decision I have ever made.

3. Meeting my lovely and supportive girlfriend, Carmen (almost 9 years ago)

Life would be so drab without her! This woman keeps me in check and always supports my crazy ideas.

4. Learning how to big wall and aid climb

Big wall climbing has opened up so many doors for me. I love the places that it takes you, the locations on these crazy walls, and the relationships it takes to get there.

David Allfrey

Half way up the East Face of The Moose’s Tooth, Buckskin Glacier, Alaska trying to climb a new route in 2014. Photo: Skiy Detray

5. Getting our silly little dog, Mouse

Yeah, what a stupid decision, but damn I do love that little dog.

Have other burning questions for David? Leave them in the comments below.