Last Friday, I had the privilege to shoot local climber Cody Sims attempting the Double Free, one of the most coveted prizes of Yosemite: climbing free (with ropes but without pulling on gear) both El Cap and Half Dome in a day. This means 57 pitches of difficulty up to 5.13a, a huge undertaking which has only been done once before, by Leo Houlding and Sean Leary.
Cody started at 1:15am from the base of the Salathe wall/Freerider, belayed by Mich Kemeter. Meanwhile, I hiked up the East Ledges to the top of the route, then rapped down 13 pitches (or 350m of rope) to meet the team just below the crux of the whole climb, the 5.13a Boulder Problem. Despite a fall, Cody sent the pitch easily, then proceeded to fly upward on some very difficult and sometimes run out climbing. Another fall on the endless Enduro Corner took some psych out, but he just kept going, eventually topping out after a mere 12 hours.
I was too exhausted from the sleepless night of hiking and the free hanging jugging while trailing all my lines to do the full hike to Half Dome for the top out pictures, but learned later that several mishaps (routefinding errors and stuck ropes) cost him the sub-24h ascent, which he eventually completed in a still very impressive 30 hours, probably one of the toughest days of climbing he’s had in a while!
Enjoy some of the pictures from Freerider!