El Capitan and Half Dome: Free in a Day

Yosemite, California
Leo Houlding, Sean Leary
June 2008

On June 8th 2008 Leo and Sean ‘Stanley” Leary made the first team free ascent of both El Capitan and Half Dome in single a day. 58 pitches long, it is more than a mile of vertical, technical rock climbing.

Starting Freerider at 8am, the pair simultaneously climbed (‘simo-climbed’) the lower two thirds of the wall in five hours. After struggling through the crux, ‘Teflon Corner’, they continued to pitch climb out to the top, completing the 35 pitch route in 11.5 hours. A rapid descent and close brush with the Park service saw them begin the hike to Half Dome at 11pm. Simo-climbing through the night, the sun rose for the final three hard pitches and the pair topped out at 6.30am on Monday 9th after 22.5 hours of climbing before flying down to the valley floor.

"It was the best day ever. A real dream come true. Simo-climbing is potentially very dangerous; there are not many people who I would be happy simo-ing all that hard climbing with. Sean and I really got into the groove and smoked the routes. It was a real pleasure sharing all those great pitches with him, and a day I'll never forget."

More expeditions