Yosemite Triple Crown in Less Than a Day

Last week, Jordon Cannon and Scott Bennett completed the Yosemite Triple Crown, blitzing up El Cap, Half Dome, and Mt. Watkins in less than a day. They are the sixth team to have nailed these three biggest walls in the Sierra Nevada within 24 hours.

The day before their attempt, the duo encountered a barrage of problems while investigating the route. As originally reported by Michael Levi in Climbing, rockfall from 2015 had changed the Regular Northwest Face route, they peeled off multiple times trying to get through the bolt ladder, and Cannon had brought the wrong-sized shoes. Then, as they climbed a chimney, Bennett dropped one of his approach shoes.

Jordan Cannon on the Nose. Photo: @maxbuschini


But they realized that they’d just been careless and carefully corrected everything the following day. They started on El Cap by climbing the Nose in 5 hours 25 minutes, then cycled to Half Dome and did the Regular Northwest Face route in a PB of 3 hours 46 minutes. More cycling, more hiking, then they finished on the South Face of Mt. Watkins, finishing it in 4 hours 25 minutes.

Cycling rather than using cars as other teams had done added a fully human-powered wrinkle to their endeavor. They tweaked the order so that they could cycle between the walls. Most start with Watkins, move to El Capitan, and finish with Half Dome. Their El Cap-Half Dome-Watkins order forced a harder descent from Half Dome. The 36-year-old Bennett later admitted that that was one of the most challenging parts of the day.

Cycling from El Cap to Half Dome. Photo: @maxbuschini


Nevertheless, the most trying aspect was the heat, particularly on the last wall. Even with the shade of early evening, the pair had to climb shirtless to keep their body temperatures down. As their predecessors had, they picked this time of year because of the long hours of daylight.

In all, they climbed 71 pitches and over 2,000m of granite. They freed about 80 percent of the route. Besides the 13.5 hours of actual climbing, they had almost 10 hours of cycling and hiking in between. “It was a lot of freaking hiking,” Cannon, 26, told Climbing afterward.