To climb a Yosemite big wall in under 24 hours takes exceptional grit and fitness, technical strategy, and mental fortitude. PhysiVāntage athlete, Jordan Cannon, demonstrated all of these strengths in completing the Yosemite "Triple Crown" in which he climbed THREE big walls in a day!
We caught up with Cannon to discuss everything from the start of his climbing career to his day-of experience, on and off the walls. Scroll down to read the interview.
Photo: Jordan speed climbing high on El Capitan. MAX BUSCHINI
How did you start climbing? And when did you get into big wall climbing? Even though I’ve been climbing on things (trees, buildings, etc.) my whole life, I didn’t officially start rock climbing until I was 20, during my sophomore year of college. I got into big wall climbing shortly after that, climbing my first El Cap route when I was 22 years old, right after graduation.
How long have you had your eyes set on completing the Triple Crown? I’ve been thinking about the Triple Crown ever since I climbed the "Double" (El Cap and Half Dome in a day) with Alex Honnold in 2017. After finishing Half Dome in the early afternoon with plenty of daylight to spare, Mt. Watkins just begs to be climbed as the third course of the day!
How did you strategize and prepare for this major endeavor - both physically and mentally? I feel like I’ve been slowly preparing for the Triple for years, just by climbing in Yosemite season after season. But, more specifically, Scott and I prepared by climbing each mountain one by one, talking tactics and strategy along the way. Once we were both re-familiarized with each route and had a good game plan for our day, there really wasn’t much else to do other than rest, psych up, and go for it!
Any seeds of doubt going into it? To be honest, I don’t think either of us had much doubt going into it. We knew we were fit, we knew we were prepared, and we knew we had a good weather window. Mainly, we were just psyched to have each other as partners and to get out there and have the climbing day of our dreams!
Most challenging aspect of the whole journey? The most challenging aspect of the whole journey was definitely the heat. Even though we climbed each route entirely in the shade (in shorts and no shirts, most of the time) it was still incredibly hot, especially on the hike out to Mount Watkins at the end of the day, which made psyching up at the base of the last route surprisingly difficult when all we wanted to do was swim in the river and go to sleep.
What was your inspiration for completing the Triple Crown entirely man-powered? Our inspiration for completing the Triple entirely "man powered" stemmed simply from the order we decided to climb it in. Most parties have started on Mount Watkins, which requires an hour long drive back to El Cap Meadow. Instead, by ending on Mt. Watkins and climbing our way West to East through the Valley, we were able to eliminate our need for a car and bike between all 3 formations. That was the only “first” that we contributed to our ascent of the Triple, but it did end up adding a little more stress on our already tired legs!
Most physically demanding section? The most physically demanding section was probably the hike from Half Dome to the base of Mt. Watkins. It was during the heat of the day, there’s not really an established trail, and the terrain is pretty rugged. Plus, we were already tired from climbing, hiking, and biking our way between the first two big walls earlier that morning.
How’d you fuel yourselves throughout the 24-hour push? We fueled with a combination of real food (such as pre-made sandwiches and burritos), “on-the-go” food (such as bars, gels, and gummies), supplements (such as protein powders and electrolyte mixes), and coffee - we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without coffee! Even still, it’s hard to eat enough calories when you’re on the move for that long. By the end of the day, my fitness tracker told me that I had burned over 16,000 calories!
Favorite PhysiVāntage product? My favorite PhysiVāntage product is definitely FLOW - hands down. It’s always refreshing and tastes just like lemonade, meaning I can happily drink it all day long! I also use Endure X and Weapons-Grade Whey to support performance and recovery.