East Bay

Record-Holding Climber ‘Hung Upside Down, Back Against the Wall' After Fall on El Capitan

El Capitan rises over 3,000 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley, according to the NPS, and it is a favorite spot for rock climbers

A well known, record-holding rock climber and East Bay resident spent the night on the wall of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park after he fell and was hung upside down Thursday afternoon.

Rescue crews with a helicopter worked to extricate Hans Florine, 53, off the wall Friday morning and eventually took him to a hospital in Fresno, where he was recovering later in the day.

Florine told NBC Bay Area Saturday that he broke his left ankle and his right heel but he said he's "all good above that."

The world-renowned climber said Friday that the safety nut, placed in between the cracks of the rock to catch the climber in the event of a fall, pulled out and he fell about 26 feet and 7 inches in total.

He said he was hung upside down with his back against the wall in the section about the Pancake Flake on the Nose of El Capitan.

Florine posted a photo of himself on Instagram Thursday from the wall of El Capitan with the caption "Well, there is a rescue going on, on El Capitan. And it's me. I think I broke my leg. Rescuers please be safe."

Officials said the incident happened too late in the afternoon to rescue Florine and he had to spend the night on the El Capitan wall where the temperatures can get as low as 40 degrees.

"It's a very exposed and obscure place to be rescued from," said Florine's co-worker Scott Nunley. "There's a lot of ropework that goes into that."

Florine is a manager at Diablo Rock Gym in Concord.

El Capitan rises over 3,000 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley, according to the NPS, and it is a favorite spot for rock climbers.

Florine holds a climbing record alongside partner Alex Honnold for climbing the El Capitan in 2 hours and 23 minutes.

In 2016, Florine released a book titled "On the Nose: A Lifelong Obsession with Yosemite's Most Iconic Climb" where he said he climbed the El Capitan over 100 times and detailed his most dangerous and death-defying climbs.

"He's a cheerful guy, he's always looking to be positive and uplifting," said Nunley. "He’s compassionate, he's caring, he likes to do hard things."

Hey y'all! I am out of surgery! All good. I love climbing. I love the climbing community. Hard to beat a medical care facility that has all their staff wearing "We Rock Care" on their uniforms. #climbingcommunity @diablorockgym #dohardthings #hansflorine The quick version: I pulled a nut placement I had made, (previous partners know I always use cams even in perfect V slots). I fell in the thin section above the pancake flake, hit triangle ledge with my heels. . Then went 5 ft farther, hung upside down, back against the wall. Probably 26 ft 7 1/4 inch in total. I had a @petzl_official helmet.(really Hans a sponsor plug?) I was on self belay while @abrahamshreve was cleaning the great roof. Current info: Broken left ankle and broken right heel/calcaneus. All good above the calves. I love climbing because you use your whole body to do the sport. If your pinky is broken, you can still train your abs, if your elbow is broken you can still train your legs. I'm super psyched my upper body's going to get trained amazingly well the next 3 to 11 months. And my business work/play/education etc. Is going to get ahead! Psyched!

A post shared by Hans Florine (@hansflorine) on May 4, 2018 at 11:25pm PDT

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