|Location||California, United States|
|Coordinates||37°44′02.4″N119°38′13.2″W / 37.734000°N 119.637000°W|
|Climbing Area||Yosemite Valley|
|Route Type||Free climbing or aid climbing|
|Vertical Gain||2,900 feet (880 m)|
|Rating||5.14a/b or 5.8 C2|
|First ascent||Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, George Whitmore; 1958 (47 days).|
|First free ascent||Lynn Hill, 1993|
|Fastest Ascent||1:58:07, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold|
The Nose is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan. Once considered impossible to climb,  El Capitan is now the standard for big-wall climbing. It is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world. 
El Capitan has two main faces, the Southwest (on the left when looking directly at the wall) and the Southeast. Between the two faces juts a massive prow. While today there are numerous established routes on both faces, the most popular and historically famous route is The Nose, which follows the massive prow.
Once thought to be unclimbable, the high granite walls of Yosemite Valley began to see their first attempts and first ascents in the 1950s. One of the most coveted routes was the Northwest Face of Half Dome, and among those coveting it was Californian Warren Harding (Harding made an unsuccessful attempt on Half Dome in 1955, and returned for the 1957 season just as Royal Robbins and team were completing the first ascent. "My congratulations," Harding recounted, "were hearty and sincere, but inside, the ambitious dreamer in me was troubled." 
Harding turned to an even larger unclimbed face, the 2,900 feet (900 m) prow of El Capitan, at the other end of the valley. With Mark Powell and Bill "Dolt" Feuerer, they began the climb in July 1957. Rather than follow the single-push "alpine" style used on Half Dome, they were forced, given the technology of the day, to fix lines between "camps" in the style used in the Himalaya. Attempting to get half way on the first push, they were foiled by the large, 2-3" cracks, and Feuerer was required to form new rock spikes or pitons by cutting off the legs of wood stoves. This gave the name to the crack system leading to the half way point, the "stove leg cracks".
Compelled by the National Park Service to stop until March, due to the crowds forming in El Capitan meadows, they complied. As soon as the snow melted, the team had a major setback when Powell suffered a compound leg fracture on another climbing trip. Powell dropped out, and Feuerer became disillusioned. Harding, true to his legendary endurance and willingness to find new partners, "continued", as he later put it, "with whatever 'qualified' climbers I could con into this rather unpromising venture."  Feuerer stayed on as technical advisor, even constructing a bicycle wheeled cart which could be hauled up to the half-way ledge which bears his name today, "Dolt Tower"; but Wayne Merry, George Whitmore, and Rich Calderwood now became the main team, with Merry sharing lead chores with Harding.
In the fall, two more pushes got them to the 2,000 feet (600 m) level. Finally, a fourth push starting in the late fall would likely be the last of the year. The team had originally fixed their route with 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) manila lines, and their in situ lines would have weakened dangerously over the winter. In the cooling November environment, they worked their way slowly upward, with the seven days it took to push to within the last 300 feet (100 m) blurring into a "monotonous grind" if, Harding adds, "living and working 2,500 feet (800 m) above the ground on a granite face" could be considered monotonous.  After sitting out a storm for three days at this level, they hammered their way up the final portion. Harding struggled fifteen hours through the night, hand-placing 28 expansion bolts up an overhanging headwall before topping out at 6 AM. The complete climb had taken 45 days, with more than 3,400 feet (1,000 m) of climbing including huge pendulum swings across the face, the labor of hauling bags, and rappel descents.
The team had finished what is, by any standard, one of the classics of modern rock climbing. The Nose Route is often called the most famous rock climbing route in North America, and in good fall weather can have anywhere between three and ten different parties strung out along its thirty rope lengths to the top. On the 50th anniversary of the ascent, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring the achievement of the original party. 
The second ascent was made in 1960 by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost, who, even with 125 bolts already in place, took seven days in the first continuous climb of the route without siege tactics.  The first rope-solo climb of The Nose was made by Tom Bauman in 1969.  The first ascent of The Nose in one day was accomplished in 1975 by John Long, Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay. The first free ascent was in 1993 by Lynn Hill, who one year later completed the first free ascent in under 24 hours.   Today The Nose attracts climbers of a wide range of experience and ability. With a success rate of around 60%, it typically takes fit climbers two to three full days of climbing to complete.[ citation needed ]
As it became clear that any face could be climbed with sufficient perseverance and bolt-hole drilling, some climbers began searching for El Cap routes that could be climbed either free or with minimal aid. The "West Face" route was free climbed in 1979 by Ray Jardine and Bill Price, but despite numerous efforts by Jardine and others, The Nose resisted free attempts for another fourteen years.
The first free ascent of a major El Cap route, though, was not The Nose, but The Salathe Wall . Todd Skinner and Paul Piana free climbed the route over 9 days in 1988, after 30 days of working the route (graded 5.13+ by the Yosemite Decimal System). 
Jim Bridwell and Jim Stanton climbed the four Stoveleg Crack pitches (5.10c) free in 1968. Other pitches of 5.10 had been done free in the 60s. In 1975, Ron Kauk, John Bachar and Dale Bard climbed 85% of the route free at 5.11+. In 1980 Jardine launched an all-out siege to free climb the route. Starting at the bottom and using dozens of fixed ropes to jumar to his high point, he was able to free all the moves up to Camp Four (21 pitches) at 5.11d. However, in obvious violation of free climbing convention, he chiseled several hand and footholds to enable a "free" ascent on three distinct, blank pitches. After much negative feedback, Ray pulled his ropes and discontinued his attempts. All other climbers at the time felt (as they would today) that in order to totally free climb the Nose, a climber would not only have to free climb the four remaining aid pitches near the top, but also find free variations around the chiseled sections, which has not yet been done. In 1991 Brooke Sandahl bolted and then redpointed a variation to the final pitch bolt ladder of the route at 5.12c. The next year, he led the pitch above Camp Five free at 5.12d and also placed bolts to protect the Changing Corners pitch.
Two pitches blocked efforts to free the upper route: the "Great Roof" (now graded 5.13c) and "Changing Corners" (now graded 5.14a/b). In 1993, after 7 days of work, Lynn Hill came close to freeing The Nose, making it past the Great Roof and up to Camp VI without falling, stopped only on Changing Corners by a piton jammed in a critical finger hold.  After removing the piton she re-climbed the route from the ground. After 4 days of climbing, Hill reached the summit, making her the first person to free climb The Nose. A year later, Hill returned to free climb The Nose in a day, this time reaching the summit in just 23 hours and setting a new standard for free climbing on "El Cap." 
In 1998 Scott Burke summitted after 261 days of effort, leading all but the Great Roof, which was toproped free.   On October 14, 2005, Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden became the 3rd and 4th people (and the 1st couple) to free climb The Nose. The husband-wife team took 4 days on the ascent, swapping leads with each climber free climbing each pitch, either leading or following.  Two days later, Caldwell returned to free climb The Nose in less than 12 hours.  Caldwell returned two weeks later to free climb El Cap twice in a day, completing The Nose with Rodden, then descending and leading Freerider in a combined time of 23 hours 23 minutes. 
Free ascents of The Nose to date
|1993||Lynn Hill||4 days||Free climb |
|1994||Lynn Hill||23 hours||Free climb |
|1998||Scott Burke||12 days||Free or near-free climb |
|2005||Beth Rodden, Tommy Caldwell||4 days||Free climb where each partner led half the climb |
|2005||Tommy Caldwell||under 12 hours||Free climb |
|2005||Tommy Caldwell||under 12 hours||Free climb |
|2014||Jorg Verhoeven||3 days||Free climb |
|2018||Keita Kurakami||5 days||First All-Free Rope solo|
|2018||Connor Herson||3 days||Youngest person to free the route|
|2019||Sébastien Berthe||8 days||Free climb, climbed the full route 'bottom up' (started climbing at the bottom of the crag, without first rappelling to check the moves)|
|2019||Babsi Zangerl, Jacopo Larcher||6 days||Free climb|
Speed climbing The Nose is also popular. Well-trained teams of two produce the fastest times, and there is an unofficial competition to produce the best time. Speed climbing is a mix of aid and free-climbing. Speed records for free-climbing and solo-aid (speed) climbing are also kept, but these fields are less competitive.
As mentioned previously, Lynn Hill's initial all-free one-day ascent was completed in 23 hours (1993), a record that held until Tommy Caldwell free climbed the route in less than 12 hours (2005).
Holders of The Nose speed record (aid and free, two-person teams):
|2018-06-06||Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold||1:58:07 |
|2018-06-04||Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold||2:01:50 |
|2018-05-30||Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold||2:10:15|
|2017-10-21||Jim Reynolds, Brad Gobright||2:19:44 |
|2012-06-17||Hans Florine, Alex Honnold||2:23:46 |
|2010-11-06||Dean Potter, Sean Leary||2:36:45 |
|2008-10-12||Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama||2:37:05 |
|2008-07-02||Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama||2:43:33 |
|2007-10-08||Alexander and Thomas Huber||2:45:45|
|2007-10-04||Alexander and Thomas Huber||2:48:30 |
|2002-09-29||Hans Florine, Yuji Hirayama||2:48:55 |
|2001-11||Dean Potter, Timmy O'Neill||3:24:20|
|2001-10||Hans Florine, Jim Herson||3:57:27|
|2001-10||Dean Potter, Timmy O'Neill||3:59:35 |
|1992||Hans Florine, Peter Croft||4:22|
|1991||Peter Croft, Dave Schultz||4:48|
|1991||Hans Florine, Andres Puhvel||6:01|
|1990||Peter Croft, Dave Schultz||6:40|
|1990||Hans Florine, Steve Schneider||8:06|
|1986||John Bachar, Peter Croft||10:05 |
|1984||Duncan Critchley, Romain Vogler||09:30 (approximate) |
|1975||Jim Bridwell, John Long, Billy Westbay||17:45|
A full list of records can be viewed online. 
The pitch number below is approximate since there are alternative belay stations and the possibility of linking some pitches.
The Stovelegs, pitches 8, 9, 10, and 11, are hand and fist sized cracks, which were originally aid climbed by using pitons made from metal legs of wood burning stoves. 
The King Swing is part of pitch 17 and involves a rather large, swinging traverse (aka pendulum).
The Great Roof located on pitch 22, rated A1 or 5.13c, was expected to be the technical crux of free climbing the route, but was superseded by Changing Corners.
Changing Corners on pitch 27, rated 5.14a/b, is usually considered to be the technical crux when free climbing The Nose.
Hans Florine is an American rock climber, who holds the record for the number of ascents of Yosemite Valleys El Capitan and is known for holding the speed record on The Nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan 8 different times. Hans' last speed record on The Nose was accomplished with Alex Honnold for climbing The Nose in 2:23:46, on June 17, 2012. In addition to climbing El Capitan over 175 times, Hans also holds the record for the number of ascents of The Nose climbing it more than 111 times.
Carolynn Marie Hill is an American rock climber. Widely regarded as one of the leading competitive climbers, traditional climbers, sport climbers, and boulderers in the world during the late 1980s and early 1990s, she is famous for making the first free ascent of the difficult sheer rock face of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, and for repeating it the next year in less than 24 hours. She has been described as both one of the best female climbers in the world and one of the best climbers in the history of the sport. One of the first successful women in the sport, Hill shaped rock climbing for women and became a public spokesperson, helping it gain wider popularity and arguing for sex equality. Hill has publicized climbing by appearing on television shows and documentaries and writing an autobiography, Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.
In mountaineering and climbing, a first ascent, is the first successful documented climb to the top of a mountain or the top of a particular climbing route. Early 20th-century mountaineers and climbers were focused on reaching the tops of iconic mountains and climbing routes by whatever means possible, often using considerable amounts of aid climbing, or with large expedition style support teams that laid "siege" to the climb.
El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith is about 3,000 feet (914 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is a popular objective for rock climbers.
Alexander Huber, is a German rock climber and mountaineer. He became a professional climber in 1997, and was widely regarded as the world's strongest climber in the late-1990s, and is an important figure in rock climbing history. Huber has set records in several different rock climbing disciplines, including extreme free solos, new hardest sport climbing routes, and bold first free ascents in big wall climbing.
Tommy Caldwell is an American rock climber who has set records in sport climbing, traditional climbing, and in big-wall climbing. Caldwell made the first free ascents of several major routes on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Royal Robbins was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. He went on to become a well-known kayaker.
Warren Harding was one of the most accomplished and influential American rock climbers of the 1950s to 1970s. He was the leader of the first team to climb El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, in 1958. The route they climbed, known as The Nose, ascends 2,900 feet (880 m) up the central buttress of what is one of the largest granite monoliths in the world. Harding climbed many other first ascents in Yosemite, some 28 in all, as well as making the first true big-wall ascents in the Sierra Nevada range of California.
The Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome was the first Grade VI climb in the United States. It was first climbed in 1957 by a team consisting of Royal Robbins, Mike Sherrick, and Jerry Gallwas. Its current aid climbing rating is VI 5.9 A1 or 5.12 for the free climbing variation. It is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.
In mountaineering and climbing, enchainment is climbing two or more mountains or climbing routes on a mountain in one outing. Rock climbing two or more routes in this manner are also called a "link up" in the United States. Climbers may do an enchainment of easy routes as a way of training for a more difficult objective, but some enchainments of hard routes are a prize in their own right, a notable example being the great north faces of the Alps.
In the history of rock climbing, the three main sub-disciplines—bouldering, single-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing—can trace their origins to late 19th-century Europe. Bouldering started in Fontainebleau, and was advanced by Pierre Allain in the 1930s, and John Gill in the 1950s. Big wall climbing started in the Dolomites, and was spread across the Alps in the 1930s by climbers such as Emilio Comici and Riccardo Cassin, and in the 1950s by Walter Bonatti, before reaching Yosemite where it was led in the 1950s to 1970s by climbers such as Royal Robbins. Single-pitch climbing started pre-1900 in both the Lake District and in Saxony, and by the 1970s had spread widely with climbers such as Ron Fawcett (Britain), Bernd Arnold (Germany), Patrick Berhault (France), Ron Kauk and John Bachar (USA).
Beth Rodden is an American rock climber known for her ascents of hard single-pitch traditional climbing routes. She was the youngest woman to climb 5.14a (8b+) and is one of the only women in the world to have redpointed a 5.14c (8c+) traditional climbing graded climb. Rodden and fellow climber Tommy Caldwell were partners from 2000 to 2010, during which time they completed the second free ascent of The Nose. In 2008, Rodden made the first ascent of Meltdown, one of the hardest traditional climbs in the world and the first time in history that a female climber matched the peak of the highest climbing grades.
Dean Spaulding Potter was an American free climber, alpinist, BASE jumper, and highliner. He completed many hard first ascents, free solo ascents, speed ascents, and enchainments in Yosemite National Park and Patagonia. In 2015, he died in a wingsuit flying accident in Yosemite National Park.
El Capitan is a film by filmmaker Fred Padula that captures one of the earliest ascents of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California. It has won several awards at film festivals around the world.
Speed climbing is a climbing discipline in which speed is the ultimate goal. Speed climbing is done on rocks, walls and poles and is only recommended for highly skilled and experienced climbers.
Thomas "Tom" M. Frost was an American rock climber known for big wall climbing first ascents in Yosemite Valley. He was also a photographer and climbing equipment manufacturer. Frost was born in Hollywood, California, and died in Oakdale, California.
Alexander Honnold is an American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls. Honnold rose to prominence in June 2017 when he became the first person to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, a feat that sports writer Daniel Duane described as "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever." Honnold also holds the record for the fastest ascent of the Yosemite triple crown, an 18-hour, 50-minute link-up of Mount Watkins, The Nose, and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. In 2015, he won a Piolet d'Or for the Moonwalk Traverse in Patagonia with Tommy Caldwell.
Sender Films is an American film production company based in Boulder, Colorado. Productions include outdoor adventure films, television shows, and commercials.
Mayan Smith-Gobat is a professional big-wall climber from New Zealand and, as of 2019, held the record for fastest all-female team ascent of El Capitan's The Nose in Yosemite, California at four hours and forty three minutes. Smith-Gobat, along with climbing partner Libby Sauter, completed the climb in October, 2014. Other notable ascents include her 2012 first female ascent (FFA) of Punks in the Gym (5.14a) in the Arapiles climbing region of Australia, and the first all female Half Dome/El Cap link up in Yosemite in 2013.
Brad Gobright was an American rock climber known for free solo climbing.