In recent days, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell teamed up to finish an amazing feat in the Colorado mountains.
Over the course of 36 hours, the duo completed what Caldwell dubbed the "Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup," summiting 17 peaks over 35 miles. The route also included climbing 65 pitches on 11 classic climbing routes ranging in difficulty from an estimated 5.6 to 5.11-minus, including "Culp-Bossier," a 5.8+ route on Hallet Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. In total, the route gained an estimated 20,000 feet over a series of ups and downs.
In the words of Alex Honnold, "the stats don't mean much because the terrain is so rugged that it's hard to characterize it as "hiking"."
According to Caldwell, the two faced a number of challenges along the route, including missing a supply drop that left them in shorts during howling nighttime winds. Caldwell has also said that he relied on stuffing his phone into his hat for light.
Caldwell shortened the "Continental Divide Ultimate Link" name to the acronym CDUL, pronounced "cuddle," as a nod to how the two stayed warm when met with colder temperatures.
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@tommycaldwell and I just climbed what he’s calling the Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup (CDUL, pronounced cuddle, for how you stay warm during the night...). We climbed 11 classic climbing routes and summitted something like 17 named peaks across RMNP. We traveled from Meeker to Notchtop, which required basically 36 hours of constant movement with roughly 20k ft of vertical and 35mi of scrambling between the peaks. Though the stats don’t mean much because the terrain is so rugged that it’s hard to characterize it as “hiking”. Huge thanks to @maurybirdwell and @adam_stack for supporting us during the journey with key resupplies. And thanks Adam for this cool pic of us on the summit of Sharkstooth at sunrise. Big day out!!
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99.9% of people would have given up when they did not have a headlamp or food for part of the night. The quote of the night “Soloing by iPhone is not that sweet.” Alex Proud of @alexhonnold and @tommycaldwell for an epic effort and setting a new bar for what is possible when you combine ultra running and climbing. Around 35 miles, 65 pitches, for a total of 20k in vert. I think it will be a while until the CDUL gets repeated. As a parting thought, I’ve always wondered if Tommy was human. I had to include the 2nd photo as proof he is. Love you buddy, way to push through the pain.
Honnold is best known for his ropeless free solo climb up the 3,000 foot 5.12d "Freerider" route on Yosemite's El Capitan. Caldwell is best known for his first ascent up Dawn Wall with Kevin Jorgeson – a 5.14d climb that is often considered the most difficult big wall climb in the world.
Congrats to both climbers on this unprecedented accomplishment.