The Nose is the most famous rock climb on earth, tracing the 3,000-foot prow of the granite formation known as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Climbers didn’t figure out how to scale it until 1958— five years after Everest. In 1989, a young climber named Hans Florine attempted to ascend the Nose, an effort that took him 46 hours. He would go on to climb it an unprecedented 101 times (and counting) and whittle his total effort down to a mere 2.5 hours—a feat that has no parallel in modern outdoor sport. Florine’s story is at once an audacious adventure that spans nearly three decades, providing a rare look inside the adrenaline-charged world of big-wall climbing in Yosemite Valley, and a testament to the power of persistence.
Hans Florine is a big-wall climbing legend in his own time. He holds the speed record on the Nose route of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot granite cliff in Yosemite Valley that’s considered the Everest of the rock-climbing world. Ascending the Nose takes most climbers anywhere from 12 to 96 hours. Florine, along with climbing partner Alex Honnold, does it in an astounding 2.5 hours. But Florine’s story is not one of super-human athletic prowess; it’s one of persistence and dogged determination. In 30 years of climbing, he's ascended the Nose a mind-blowing, death-defying 100 times, more than anyone else ever has, and most likely ever will. In On the Nose, Florine describes the most dangerous, pivotal, and inspirational of those climbs, providing a rare look inside the adrenaline-charged world of competitive climbing in Yosemite Valley. He tells of his very first attempt on the Nose, which ended in failure after 14 hours, his friendships (and rivalries) with climbing’s most colorful personalities, and his battle with Dean Potter to secure the definitive speed record on the Nose—an endeavor that’s been called the wildest competition known to man. Perhaps most interestingly, Florine attempts to answer the question why. Why would anyone undertake one of the greatest adventure epics on earth 100 times? His answers provide unique insights on how to live a satisfying life, how to achieve big goals, and how an otherwise ordinary guy can become a rock star.
In addition to his climbing accolades, Hans Florine is the coauthor of Speed Climbing, and has contributed to three other books, as well as written articles for Rock and Ice and Climbing. Hans served as executive director of the American Sport Climbers Federation from 1992 to 1996, and is currently an Ambassador for The Access Fund, as well as manager and shareholder at Touchstone Climbing & Fitness, the largest climbing gym chain in the country. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and maintains strong relationships, fundraising and otherwise, with Yosemite Conservancy, Outward Bound, The Access Fund, American Safe Climbing Association, American Alpine Club, Sierra Club, and Nature Bridge. He is also a professional motivational speaker, delivering keynotes at trade shows, conferences, and college auditoriums worldwide, from local rotary club meetings to Fortune 500 events.
Jayme Moye is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Boulder, Colo., and the former managing editor of Elevation Outdoors. She’s a regular contributor at National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, Travel + Leisure, and Fodor’s Travel Intelligence. She also writes for National Geographic Traveler, New York, ESPN, Women’s Adventure, Bicycling, and Runner’s World. In 2014, Moye was named Travel Writer of the Year by the North American Travel Journalists Association.