Leah Pappajohn and Jonathan Fleury

Interview: The First Naked Ascent of El Capitan


El Capitan saw two firsts last week [2017]. On June 3, Alex Honnold made the historic first free solo of the monolithic wall via Freerider, climbing the route with nothing but the clothes on his back. On June 6, Leah Pappajohn and Jonathan Fleury traded out the clothes for a rope and completed the first naked ascent of El Cap via the Nose in a dayWe spoke to Pappajohn about the ascent.

What gave you the idea to climb El Cap naked?

Leah Pappajohn: The dream of climbing El Cap naked was an obvious one to me, but it took years for me to feel it was a possible in relation to my climbing ability. It’s a great feeling to climb nude. It’s empowering for me. And come on, it’s funny.

While searching for a fitting partner in the Valley, Jon was stoked, but he had never climbed the Nose in a day (NIAD). I told him to climb the NIAD first, and then get back to me. I thought he might realize the less-than-desireable realities and retract his interest. To my surprise, he let me know he was all-in the second he was back on the valley floor. To be honest, he was more confident than I was. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

Leah Pappajohn and Jonathan Fleury
Leah Pappajohn Leah Pappajohn and Jonathan Fleury pose for the summit shot after making the first ascent of the Nose sans clothes. / Leah Pappajohn

Have you ever done any other similar nude climbs?

I like to do a naked climb most places I’ve climbed at. The most recent “birthday climb” I did was Angel’s Crest in Squamish, which is now my second-longest nude route.

Have you climbed El Cap fully clothed before? If so, how would you compare it to nude climbing?

I’ve climbed El Cap seven times now, on three different routes. The biggest difference was the ease of peeing at hanging belays. Also, this was the fastest time either one of us climbed it. Light and fast is the way.

How did you deal with the exposure?

Ha! It’s impossible to be discrete, and honestly, climbing takes so much of your focus, you forget you’re naked. As I was stemming up the first section of the great roof, Jon admitted that he had never stared at a vagina for so long. Just a part of the job description of an attentive naked belayer.

Continued… Read full original article…

Source: Climbing

Original publication 13 June, 2017

Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago

Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.

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