The Nose: History and Records

Note: This stuff was compiled by John Black and its accuracy is questionable. Please, if you have any corrections or additions, email me and let me know! (Note: I have stopped updating this page as of 2002. Records have fallen.)

History and Records

The Nose was first climbed by Warren Harding (and partners) in 45 days, finishing on November 12, 1958. It was repeated in 1960 by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt, and Tom Frost in a very respectable 6 days.

In 1969, Bauman solos the Nose for the first time (El Cap had already been soloed by Robbins the year before: he did the Muir Wall).

In 1975, Jim Bridwell, John Long, and Billy Westbay do the Nose-in-a-Day (NiaD), for the first time. Long led mostly free to the top of Boot Flake, Westbay did the mixed middle section to Camp 5, and Bridwell nailed (!) to the summit. Their time was about 16 hours.

In 1985, ten years after the Bridwell, Long, Westbay ascent, the NiaD had seen only about 10 repeats.

In 1989, Steve "Shipoopi" Schneider solos the Nose in 21:22.

In 1990 Merry Braun becomes the first woman to climb the NiaD; she climbed with her husband Werner Braun. The existing NiaD record is 9:15, which is first lowered to 8:02 by Florine and Schneider, and then shattered by Peter Croft and Dave Schultz with their 6:40 ascent. They climb most of the route in the dark to avoid passing parties. Also, Don Snyder does the NiaD three times in one season.

In 1991, Hans Florine and Andy Puhvel set the mark at 6:03, edging out a slightly-improved Croft-Schultz time of 6:10 over last year's record. Croft and Schultz replied with another record-shattering ascent (this time in daylight) of 4:48!

In 1992 Croft teams up with Hans Florine to set the current record: 4:22. The first all-female ascent of the NiaD is done in just under 17 hours by Sue McDevitt and Nancy Feagin on the same day! Croft later soloed the Steck-Salathe in the same day as a warm-down.

In 1993, Florine sets the record for soloing the NiaD: an amazing 14:10! As a warm-up, Lynn Hill climbs the Nose with Florine in about 8.5 hours (the female record); Hill later frees the Nose as well.

In 1994, Hill does the NiaD the hard way: she freeclimbed every pitch!

In 1995, basically nothing happened.

In 1996, Abby Watkins and Vera Wong set the current all-women's Nose record at 16:30.

In 1997, Galen Rowell becomes the oldest man to climb the NiaD; the 57 year old acclaimed photographer sent the route in 16 hours, swinging leads with partner Conrad Anker.

In 1997, the NiaD went mainstream in the movie "Jerry Maguire" when Kelly Preston (playing Tom Cruise's fiance) utterred those oh-so learned words: "I've climbed the 23-hour Nose route to the top of El Capitan in 18 hours and 23 minutes; I can make THIS work." What the @#$%??

In 1998, Hans Florine and Nancy Feagin climb the Nose and Reg Route on Half Dome in 23:30; Feagin becomes the first woman to repeat this classic 1986 Bachar-Croft enchainment. The pair climbed the Nose in 9:35 (missing the female record, held by Hill), and climbed Half Dome in 6:02.

In 1999, Hans Florine does the NiaD for the 20th time. Also, Herson and Harrell become the only other pair to link the Salathe and the Nose in a push (26hrs). Dean Potter lowers the NiaD solo record to 12:59.

In 2001, Hans Florine and Tommy Caldwell showed that the 1992 NiaD record of 4:22 was not out of reach: they clocked the second fastest time ever at 4:31. A couple of weeks later, Dean Potter and Timmy O'Neill set the new mark at 3:59:35. Two weeks later Hans Florine answered back with partner Jim Herson to lower the record by a little more than 2 minutes, clocking in at 3:57:28. Not to be discouraged, Potter and O'Neill went back up five days later and set the current record: 3:24:04. I'm sure Florine would have answered back had Winter not arrived soon thereafter.

In 2002, Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama sliced another 35 minutes off the current record to set the new current mark: 2:48:55. My prediction is that this record will stand for a long time. Timmy O'Neill thinks it could go much faster if a few cardio monsters did a lap, but the combination of world-class aerobic fitness and the ability to climb 5.11 with big run-outs is something we're not likely to see in the near future.

In 2007, after three seasons of working on the route, Alex and Thomas Huber set the new mark at 2:45:45.

In 2008, Hans and Yuji answer back with a time of 2:37:05.

In 2010, Sean Leary (aka Stanley) talks Dean Potter into coming out of retirement to reclaim the record in 2:36:45.

In 2012, Hans Florine, on the day before his 49th birthday, teams with noted free soloist Alex Honnold to climb the Nose in an astonishing 2:23:46.

In 2013, Mayan Smith-Gobat and Libby Sauter set the new all-female record at 5:39. Eric Perlman (63) and Peter Mayfield (51) climb the NIAD, making Perlman the oldest person to do NIAD and probably setting the highest combined age at 114. In the same year alpine legends Jim Donini (70) and George Lowe (69) were set to attempt NIAD with a combined age of 139 (!!) but I don't believe they succeeded.

In 2015, Smith-Gobat and Sauter lower their own record to 5:02, then shortly after this, to 4:43.


The NiaD is often done by super-climbers in conjunction with other routes. The first, and most famous, of these is the 1986 John Bachar and Peter Croft climb of the Nose followed by the Reg Route on Half Dome in the same day. They put up a time of 10 hours for the Nose and then, amazingly, passed 7 parties, climbed through the rain, and set the Half Dome record in just over 4 hours, which lasted until 1996. In 1999, Dean Potter soloed the Nose and Half Dome in the same day. Two days later, Hans Florine did this as well!

El Cap was first climbed twice in the same day in 1990 when Croft and Schultz climbed the Nose and the Salathe in a total time of 20.5 hours.

El Cap was first climbed three times in one day in 1994 by Florine and Schneider: the pair climbed the Nose (5:42), the West Face (4:31), and Lurking Fear (8:52), using fixed ropes for descent, and pre-caching water.

In 1999, Dean Potter soloed the Nose, then Half-Dome, in the same day. A few days later, Hans Florine repeated this feat in 20:40, doing the routes in the reverse order (starting the watch at the base of Half Dome and stopping at the top of El Cap).

Perhaps one of the most amazing enchainments is Potter and O'Neill's link-up of Half Dome's Regular Route, the South Face of Watkins, and the Nose in under 24 hours. The pair started Half Dome at 10am, Watkins at 4pm, and the Nose around midnight... hard core!