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Climbing

Peter and the Columns (feat. Hans Florine)

Peter Hoffmeister and speed-climbing legend Hans Florine face off in a race to climb 3,000 feet---the height of the Nose of El Capitan---at the Columns in Eugene, Oregon.

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Peter Hoffmeister and speed-climbing legend Hans Florine face off in a race to climb 3,000 feet—the height of the Nose of El Capitan—at the Columns in Eugene, Oregon.

This film is a story of the event—which took place after both climbers suffered life-changing accidents.

In an article for Rock and Ice about the competition Peter Hoffmeister wrote, “Hans and I each had terrible accidents. Hans famously shattered his legs on El Cap. I was hit by a car while biking to work and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Hans had surgeries and was in a wheelchair for a period. I had seizures, rested in a dark room for weeks, then did cognitive therapy, neuro-vision therapy, and vocational rehab.”

The comebacks are part of what make the story so epic.

[Also Read Boring Is a Swear Word: Hans Florine and Pete Hoffmeister Duel It Out In “El Cap Day”]

Peter Hoffmeister summarized the competition at the end of the aformentioned article:

Ultimately, the race came down to a 5.10d finger crack called The Hard Layback. On that route, I did my eight laps (plus eight rappels) in 18:37.

Hans—having to onsight then repeat—ran those same eight laps in 23:16. So I gained a 4:39 advantage on that route.

Hans completed his full El Cap Day—3,000 feet of climbing and 63 rappels—in 2:27:07, an amazing time at a new crag, and the second-fastest recorded time in the history of our urban crag by 40 minutes. It was a world-class effort by a world-class climber.

But I finished in 2:05:55, breaking my old record by more than an hour.

I’d kept an open mind, trained like a pro, and suddenly anything—anything at all—was possible. Even for a thicker, shorter, non-pro guy that nobody’s ever heard of.

Peter Hoffmeister challenges speed climbing legend Hans Florine to race 3000 feet, the height of the Nose of El Capitan, at the Columns in Eugene, OR.
Photo: Max Buschini.