Speed-climbing icon Hans Florine to speak tonight


Hans Florine climbs up Yosemite s El Capitan. Florine holds the speed record for climbing The Nose route. (Jim Thornburg )

Speed climber Hans Florine is in town for a slide show at Neptune Mountaineering tonight at 7 p.m., and after talking with him yesterday, I’m extra psyched to go. What he says about his record-setting ascent of The Nose will be interesting, of course, but I’m a more fascinated with is his mountaineering trips with Golden-based climber Erik Weihenmayer.

I didn’t have space in the story for some anecdotes Hans shared about climbing with Erik in Papua New Guinea. But I’ll give you one here, because it perfectly highlights Hans’ point, that speed isn’t about racing up a wall — it’s about efficiency.

“I go climbing with Erik not to go fast, but in the mountains, speed is safety, and there’s a lot you can make a big strong blind guy do to make the team go up,” he said.

Hans called himself a “newbie mountaineer” and said that Erik’s probably spent 100 times as many hours on snow and glaciers. So at one point, the team decided Erik should lead up to a snow ridge to cut steps for everyone else.

“He couldn’t see, but you gave him direction and he could cut steps faster than us.”

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