26 September 2008
Alex Honnold, made his mark in the Yosemite Valley on September 6, 2008 with the first free solo of the Regular Northwest Face (VI 5.12a, 23 pitches).
Honnold has also free soloed Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12+, 9 pitches), Zion National Park, Utah this past April.
While his Half Dome accomplishment is easier in technical difficulty than Moonlight and certainly less sustained (one short pitch of 12a and four pitches of 11+), it is about twice as long, and Honnold found it more difficult, physically and psychologically, to free solo.
"[The Regular Northwest Face] is less secure and way harder than Moonlight," Honnold said.
Over the past few years Honnold had climbed the Regular Northwest Face three times as an aid route; last year in the Valley he climbed it once totally free.
Honnold completed the route in 2 hours, 50 minutes.