The Vertical and the Horizontal in Yosemite
Florine’s 100th ascent of El Capitan’s Nose was the first for fellow climbers Jayme Moye and Fiona Thornewell. Once Hetch Hetchy is restored, the view from its surrounding cliffs will be available to climbers and hikers alike.
Photo: Steve Rokks
For many of us, restoring Yosemite National Park‘s Hetch Hetchy Valley conjures images of John Muir’s experience: “Imagine yourself in Hetch Hetchy on a sunny day in June, standing waist-deep in grass and flowers as I have oftentimes stood, while the great pines sway.”
Hans Florine, however, is one who tends to think vertically rather than horizontally. He shares the world record for the fasted climb of the “Nose” of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, arguably the earth’s most famous piece of granite. And, as of September 12, he became the first to make that climb 100 times.
“Hetch Hetchy is like a ghost”, Florine explains. “Here we are in Yosemite Valley – the most famous rock climbing spot anywhere. People come from Switzerland, China, all around the world. For climbers, Yosemite Valley is the Mecca, the center of our universe. Hetch Hetchy is similar and only 15 miles away, but access to its walls is limited so climbers rarely go there. We are missing out on the sister of the greatest climbing area in the world.”