Yuji Free climbs the Salathe in 13 hours


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 21, 2002 - 12:07pm PT
Hans Florine just emailed me this:

September 19th- Yuji Hirayama FREE CLIMBED the whole Salathe route* in 13 hours with no falls!

* he took the offwidth variation below the spire, and the Huber variation instead of the Teflon corner. BIG LINK UP! - Yuji climbed from Sois le tois ledge to Long Ledge in TWO PITCHES! He belayed at the lip of the roof/beginning-of-the-headwall!


Novice climber
Sep 22, 2002 - 01:34pm PT
that is really amazing. it makes me want to go climbing
right now. too bad i am stuck in ohio for the next month.
gyms and buildings just don't cut it.

Novice climber
Just above fifty cents
Sep 22, 2002 - 02:36pm PT

It's true, it really is! :) Yugi past me and a friend at the top of Free Blast on their way to the top. One of the friendliest guys around, and a hell of an inspiration.

Congrats Yugi. As far as the National Park Service is concerned, you kick ass.


Novice climber
w/ a Gaping Jaw in the Land of Awe
Sep 24, 2002 - 04:34pm PT
I just got this from Hans Florine (about his ascent w/ Yuji of The Nose on 9/23/02):

Yuji Hirayama and myself climbed The Nose route on El Capitan in 3 hours and 26 minutes*. We passed 7 parties! but the record for passing, THAT I KNOW OF, is Chandlee Harrell and myself passing 9 parties in 2000 on the Nose in a 7 hour and change ascent.

Micah Dash and Nils Davis climbed the Reg NW Face of Half Dome and the Nose
in 21 hours. On July 28 2002.

all the best..

Hans Florine.

* this was the time from the start of the first pitch per the SuperTopo, and finishing at the bolts over the lip where it has been timed to in the past. We continued up the slab and both got to the big tree at 3:27.
Go, team!

Novice climber
Sep 24, 2002 - 05:35pm PT
I'm setting up marathon-style aid stations on EC Tower and Spire where those sprinters can slap an orange section out of my hand or grab a dip of Vaseline those blurry things they call limbs.

Oakland, CA
Jul 17, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Anyone have a link to the piece on Yuji's near onsite of the Salathe? My Google-fu isn't cutting the mustard.

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jul 17, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
Agreed. Google's performance on this issue is not very impressive.

Some notes from the AAJ

Clint has some good info:

4th FA - Yuji Hirayama, 9/97

used Alex Huber's variations.
originally tried to onsight the Teflon Corner. He fell, worked it some, then bailed and flashed Huber's variation.
2 days for an almost entirely flashed ascent.
flashed most pitches; only 4 falls and a little work on headwall pitches. (Not counting falls on the Teflon Corner which he ultimately did not use).
onsight style; his belayers did not provide any beta on the moves. They sometimes gave him an idea on protection, but no exact beta was given on that.
pinkpointed the 2 headwall pitches, instead of redpointing, to save time.
no fixed ropes were used, except to provide a brief rest and rewarming on Long Ledge, before his final attempt on the 2nd Headwall pitch.
time: 37:30
Climbing #172, 173
Climb - Australia New Zealand #5 -- many details
interview translated from Grimper (French) #?
On The Edge #79
partners: Hans Florine, Hidetaka Suzuki

Guess you could look it up in those climbing issues. Above was Yuji's first time up the Salathe.

Here is another one:

7th FA (his 2nd) - Yuji Hirayama, 9/19/02

used Alex Huber's variations, as before.
no falls
second one-day free ascent
13 hours
used a 70 meter rope to link multiple pitches -
one pitch from Sois le Toit ledge to the stance at the lip of the roof.
one pitch from the lip to Long Ledge (linking 3 5.13 pitches from the Skinner topo into one)


Oakland, CA
Jul 18, 2013 - 12:14am PT
Thanks Cultureshock. That is a breathtaking set of details to ponder. No falls, 13 hours on his second go?! That is in a league of its own.

Blew it on the Teflon, so pulled his rope and flashed the boulder problem? I mean damn!

I've never been plugged in enough to the mags to know whether he is an underrated climber or not, but it seems like you don't hear too much about Yuji - until he melts everybody's mind with some feat of his.

Sois le Toit to Long in two pitches, skipping the hanging belays! Sheee-it. I read that Honnold managed that as well. A couple weeks back there was a bag of gear clipped in at that hidden ledge/belay/stance off right under the Salathe roof. Wonder if someone else is aiming to pull the roof and headwall in that style.

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
Jul 18, 2013 - 12:33am PT
I've always admired Yuji's demeanor. A true bad-ass without alot of chest thumping.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Jul 18, 2013 - 01:02am PT
Anyone have a link to the piece on Yuji's near onsite of the Salathe? My Google-fu isn't cutting the mustard.

Google "yuji free climb salathe" didn't work for you?

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jul 18, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
Yuji is hardly underrated, but perhaps unknown by many americans? He is up there with Tommy Caldwell and the Huber brothers in terms of all-around climbing skill. He is still climbing 5.14+ now, has done the Cobra crack and around V14 I believe.

It is interested that he fell on the Teflon and flashed the boulder. This was back pre-break when the boulder problem was a little easier than it is now.

A few years back Cedric Lechat did the opposite since the boulder problem got harder. He fell on the boulder and then onsighting the Teflon Corner.


Fun stuff!


Oakland, CA
Sep 22, 2013 - 02:50am PT
Yuji, still out there killing it, .14c ground up on jank rock.

Bonus terrifying rock fall around 1:50.

Stzzo - I was hunting a long article on Yuji's go at onsighting the Salathé that was in Alpinist. Haven't been able to turn that one up.

Sep 22, 2013 - 02:55am PT

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 22, 2013 - 09:54am PT
For my generation, not underrated at all. He got plenty of press in the 90s.

IIRC, the Alpinist with ElCap as the centerpiece article has a full page writeup of his near onsight.

Mike Anderson flashed Freerider a long time ago (but had aided the Salathe some years before that, so not a true "onsight")

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
Sep 22, 2013 - 10:39am PT
Nice Yuji!

But damn these video editors these days. I mean really? They show about 3 seconds of Yugi actually sending the thing. WTF!

edit: Ok, sorry, it was about 7 seconds I just timed it . . .

Sep 22, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
Yuji is the man.


Oakland, CA
Sep 22, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Reeotch, couldn't agree more. Shite editing.

ECIYA that is the article I'm talking about. If I remember right, there's a pic of him from above just after he has fallen (if I remember right, on climbing that wasn't too bad, either), bringing to an end his multi-year dream of onsighting the Salathe. His face in that pic, pretty intense.

RyanD edit: Oh hell yeah, buddy - wicked video.

I wish Yuji were my neighbor.

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Sep 23, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
wow bump
Jim Clipper

from: forests to tree farms
Mar 25, 2014 - 09:03pm PT
second page bump
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