A Speed Ascent of El Cap Testpiece, Zenyatta Mondatta

The style of aid climbing opens up an entirely different challenge and experience to the sport of rock climbing. In this complex mode of scaling walls, not only must you have impeccable technical knowledge under your belt, but you must also have a solid level of mental and physical fortitude to get yourself through sketchy and heady situations.

This rings especially true when you find yourself speed climbing aid routes graded at A4 —that require the use of ladders, hooks, and plenty of bold focus in the wake off potentially taking 100-foot falls from thousands of feet off the deck.

On October 3 of 2014, climbers, David Allfrey, Cheyne Lempe, and Skiy Detray climbed Zenyatta Mondatta (VI 5.7 A4) —a 16-pitch El Capitan test piece—in a whopping six hours under the current speed record. This talented trio topped out El Capitan in just 16 hours, and 53 minutes after leaving the ground.

Considered to be a “quintessential hard Yosemite aid route,” Zenyatta Mondatta was first climbed in 1981 by the notorious Jim Bridwell, alongside Peter Mayfield and Charlie Row. At the time it featured five pitches of A5 climbing, which made it one of the hardest technical aid routes in the world.

When you speed climb all you take is just a few bags … you just crank out the pitches as fast as you can.



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A Speed Ascent of El Cap Testpiece, Zenyatta Mondatta

The style of aid climbing opens up an entirely different challenge and experience to...
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