Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have completed an epic new alpine challenge, climbing from Mount Meeker to Mount Notchtop in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park in a day and a half, dubbing the enchainment the Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup (CDUL).
The trip from start to finish entailed roughly 36 hours of constant movement, and included climbing, running, hiking and scrambling. In all the two notched some 20,000 feet of vertical and 35 miles of distance.
Even the non-climbing sections, however, weren’t easy: “The stats don’t mean much because the terrain is so rugged that it’s hard to characterize it as ‘hiking,'” wrote Honnold on Instagram.
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Caldwell and Honnold summited “something like 17 named peaks,” Honnold wrote, and climbed 11 “classic” routes. When asked in an Instagram comment if they roped up, Honnold replied, “almost all simul climbing but a little bit of scrambling.”
Earlier this month, the two linked up Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, Pagoda, Chiefs Head, and Mount Alice into a journey roughly half as long, in preparation for the CDUL. “Lovely day out with my favorite mountain guide—something like 20mi of mountain travel and maybe 10k of vert (??). And several of the most classic routes in the Park,” wrote Honnold on Instagram July 10.
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For the CDUL, Maury Birdwell and Adam Stack resupplied the team mid-linkup. Stack provided headlamps and Chipotle in the middle of the night, wrote Birdwell on Instagram.
“The quote of the night ‘Soloing by iPhone is not that sweet.’ Alex,” wrote Stack on Instagram.
Honnold’s Instagram photo, taken by Stack, shows Caldwell and himself silhouetted on the Sharkstooth summit at sunrise.
They began the CDUL by climbing The Flying Buttress on Meeker, a six-pitch 5.9. They then ran up the Casual Route on Longs Peak, a seven-pitch 5.10-. They continued to summit Pagoda, climb The Barb on Spearhead (5.10), Birds of Fire on Chiefshead (5.11a), Central Ramp on Mount Alice (5.8), and Arrowplane on Arrowhead (5.11a).
The list of peaks doesn’t stop there: Honnold and Caldwell also summited McHenry, Powell, Taylor, the Petit Grepon via the South Face (5.8), the Saber via the Southwest Corner (5.10), Sharkstooth via the Northeast Ridge (5.6), Otis, Hallet Peak via Culp-Bossier (5.8+), Flattop, Ptarmigan, and lastly a “cool” 5.9 crack Notchtop (5.9).
According to Stack, the total number of pitches is around 65.
“99.9% of people would have given up when they did not have a headlamp or food for part of the night,” wrote Stack on Instagram. “I think it will be a while until the CDUL gets repeated.”