Sounds like this is the only El Cap free route climbed ground up? My knowledge of the history of freeclimbing is poor, but their style seems bold and beautiful.
They worked the upper pitches from the top, over a lot of trips, for a long time. That doesn't get talked about, but it's part of the game. The redpoint ascent is doing the whole route ground up. That's part of the game as well, in order to be able to really say you freed the route rather than just doing a few dozen 1 pitch routes over the course of any amount of time.
Don't think it is a ground-up ascent, met Leo on top of El Cap last year - he said he had been working on that line for a few years already.
They rapped in from the top, to work on pitches high up, on that day (may 2009).