June 22, 2012 posted by

Is 50 The New 20?

pic: tom evans, el cap reports

Another for the “age doesn’t mean shit” files, my friend Hans has once again set the speed record on The Nose of El Capitan. At 48, the full-time father with a full-time job has somehow found time to get faster than he’s ever been and smashed the record by more than 13 minutes. He’s first set the record in 1990 and each time it’s been broken he’s gotten it back–more than 20x over the years. After failing to recapture it last fall he trained through the winter and nailed it on the first attempt. Huge congrats to Hans Florine and his partner Alex Honnold (who capped what’s probably the most impressive single month in the history of Yosemite) for your Friday Psyche.

There’s a great photo account of the ascent on Tom Evans’ El Cap Reports site. Click below for the play by play:

I got up real early, as the day was predicted to be a hot one, and motored down to ElCap at about 5:30am. Fortunately for the climbers and unfortunately for me, they planned to climb completely in the shade for the entire route. That made photography difficult but I figured I could take a stab at it and maybe get lucky with some good shots.

The place was already filling up with spectators hoping to be on hand to watch a new record set on the Nose. They were not to be disappointed! Alex and Hans started at 5:52am as noted by the cheers of a couple dozen of the people who had walked to the base with them.

I’ve reported on Hans’ exploits on the Nose for years. If you’re interested in the history of the climb I recapped it here:

History of Speed Climbing The Nose

More and more we’re seeing athletes age without losing their top-end speed, or even getting faster. And while there are some facts on growing old that we can’t ignore it’s certainly clear that the limitations once imposed by professionals are being pushed further and further back.


  • friggin awesome.

  • Stellar climb for Hans/Alex!50 might be the new 40, but it sure as shit ain't 20. Reference Hans's detail of the ascent crediting his almost 3 days of rest as crucial to success…for Hans that is. Honnold (age 25?) was chomping at the bit waiting for the old man to get off his arse.On a personal note, the ONLY negative thing fitness-wise as I've aged is recovery time. Without some 'help' (ask pro cyclists or possibly Roger Clemens), you simply can't recover as fast in your 40s as in your 20s. Unfortunately, 50 will never be 20.

  • I'm with Bob, and Steve. Age don't mean Shit, but it might take longer to recover. Hans did an amazing job, but Alex did too and I'm sure Alex was ready to do it again sooner than Hans was. Congrats to both of them. I'm super inspired, especially since it took me almost the same amount of time to make two little garden enclosures while they climbed El Cap. Crazy!

  • I'd add injury. I get injured way more easily than I did when I was in my 20s. I suppose that could be mitigated if I actually had a regular yoga routine – but … I don't. Of course, I'm not yet in my 40's. Shit.J

  • Hey Steve, I was just wondering if Beachbody is going to be releasing a flat/incline bench to use for Body Beast?

  • Steve, as I've said elsewhere. THANK YOU of helping me think through the training and nutrition leading up to the climb. I could never have been prepared for this had I not done Birthday Challenges all these years to keep a baseline fitness. "You rest your rust."Steve and Hans 2:22:45 in fall of 2012!

  • Steve, Thanks for all the advice to talk me through nutrition, training, rest, altitude, etc prior to and during the ascent. We need to do NIAD this year!cheers,Hans

  • Looks like I'm getting called out here. I'd better shape up.

  • I'm not sure if we're going to sell that Beast bench. I know we were sourcing it but I'm not sure how that worked out. I did test some benches for us so I THINK we're planning on it. I'll shoot them a note and find out.

  • Hans sent me his El Cap worksheets that are SUPER rad–like birthday challenges you can do in your gym. I'll add another post to this later this week and provide a link to them and his Diablo Rock Gym challenges. We'd better start gettting serious. "Go big or go home." – The Big Daddy

  • The answer on the benches is yes, though they aren't in stock yet. Rumor is that they will be by Thursday of this week.

  • Ok thanks a lot for the bench info Steve.

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