Project Description

About Hans Florine

This is from Wikipedia because I couldn’t possibly sum this up any better. Hans Florine has a long and storied history on El Cap, and in particular on The Nose. Here goes:

Hans Florine (born June 18, 1964)

[3][4][5] is an American rock climber, who together withAlex Honnold holds the Speed Climb World Record for climbing The Nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan in 2:23:46 (2 hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds), set on June 17, 2012[6] which broke the previous record of 2:36.45 set by Dean Potter and Sean Leary. Hans also previously held the same record with Yuji Hirayama for El Capitan in 2:37:05 (2 hours, 37 minutes and 5 seconds), set on October 12, 2008.[2] This broke their record of 2:43:33 set on July 2, 2008, which had broken the record that was set by the German “Huberbuam”,Alexander Huber and Thomas Huber.[7] The two brothers climbed The Nose on October 8, 2007 in 2:45:45, breaking Hans’ and Yuji’s prior speed record.[8] El Capitan is traditionally climbed in three to five days.[9]The Nose route is 2,900 ft long (880 m) and features over 31 pitches of strenuous, exposed climbing.[9] Florine thus climbed The Nose at roughly 6 minutes per pitch. On July 30, 2005, Florine also completed a solo ascent of The Nose in just 11 hours and 41 minutes.[10] Solo ascents are characterized by climbing by yourself and require one person to do all the work.

Pretty impressive, huh? I wanted to know how he trained for such crazy shenanigans, and he kindly gave his time for an interview.

What We Talked About

  • His seriously amazing feats as a Yosemite and competition speed climber
  • His badass training sessions in the gym before work
  • How he trains for big walls and speed climbing
  • What he eats before and during big wall speed ascents
  • Whether or not he’ll attempt another speed record on the Nose
  • A lot more

Related Links

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Music

Intro and outro song: Yesterday by Build Buildings 

Photo

Jim Thornburg

Transcript

Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast where I talk to climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today is episode 13 and I’m talking with Hans Florine, who I didn’t really know that much about. I mean, I had seen him in movies but he he has several speed records of the Nose on El Cap in Yosemite.

I’m not super into big wall climbing. In fact, I’m not into it at all and I would never do it. I think it’s terrifying, but he is and I know a lot of you guys are so we talked about how he trained, like, super epic training sessions for big wall climbing, speed climbing, speed competing – because he used to do that quite a bit, and we talked about what he eats on the wall. I really hope you enjoy this interview.

Before we get into it I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for the lag between the last podcast and this one. I’ve been super, super busy. I have a lot of stuff going on with my paleo nutrition life. With my work, I recently quit a job that I had and I’m starting my own stuff now so it’s been a little bit busy.

Also, we put a ton of time into the new bouldering strength and power program, which you should check out. We’re super proud of it. We worked for a long time with Kris Peters to put this together and it’s a subscription program where you get three workouts every week on your dashboard. They’re all by Kris Peters and we collaborated with him to make it into something that we thought you guys would really like. The workouts aren’t too long but they’re super effective.

We’re doing finger strength training with the fingerboard, campusing for power, weights, we’re doing shoulder injury prevention, so it’s really good. You can check it out on www.trainingbeta.com at the ‘Training Programs’ tab.

Other than that, I just did another podcast episode with Jared Vagy, who is of www.theclimbingdoctor.com. He is a PhD physical therapist, super cool guy, very smart, and he does physical therapy stuff for all kinds of athletes but because he’s a climber he really focuses on that and knows his stuff. That podcast episode will come out in a week or two and after that, there might be another lag because I am getting surgery on November 10 for my torn labrum, which I talked to Jared about during that podcast episode. It’s a super interesting one and that will come out soon.

But, in the meantime, here is Hans Florine.

 

Neely Quinn: Welcome to the show, Hans.

 

Hans Florine: Great being here.

 

Neely Quinn: Thanks for taking the time out. This should be good.

 

Hans Florine: Do you want me to do a short intro on myself right now? Would that be good with you and your listeners?

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that would be good. Tell us who Hans Florine is for anybody who has no idea or even just a little bit of an idea.

 

Hans Florine: Okay, so when this was recorded I’m 50 years old. It’s just kind of fun. I like saying that. I am a husband. Fourteen years married, which is probably unusual in the climbing world. I have an 11 year old boy and a 13 year old daughter, so those are really important things to get out right front because I think a lot of people think, ‘Ah, you become a parent or you work a regular job and your climbing goes to hell,’ but not true for me.

 

Neely Quinn: That’s impressive.

 

Hans Florine: It’s a climbing podcast. That’s why people are listening. I guess I’m known for fastest time running up this big trad route, the Nose, on El Capitan.

 

Neely Quinn: Yes you are. A few times from what I understand.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah, I’m fortunate that way. I’ve had time to go play on that thing quite a bit.

 

Neely Quinn: [laughs] Okay, tell me more. Not about that yet. We’ll definitely get into that, but what else are you known for?

 

Hans Florine: Well, over the years it’s changed. I mean, I don’t know if you want me to start at a military brat at age two years old to now. This, I think, is TrainingBeta, right? I don’t know how much biography you want on me.

 

Neely Quinn: Well, that’s kind of interesting that you say a two year old as a military brat. Were you known for something then?

 

Hans Florine: Only by my brothers and sisters and mom. The quickie is I was born in Virginia, moved to Texas, moved to Illinois, moved back to Virginia, moved to California, and have been a Californian since 1976.

 

Neely Quinn: When did you start climbing?

 

Hans Florine: Not until I was 19 years old at Cal Polytechnic State University. Someone in the dorm room asked if anyone wanted to go out and I said, “Sure. That’d be fun.”

 

Neely Quinn: Where did you go?

 

Hans Florine: We went to Bishop’s Peak right there in San Luis Obispo. It has some granite outcroppings – not granite. Excuse me. Lava/volcanic outcroppings and some sandstone stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: Did you take to it right away?

 

Hans Florine: I did. It totally engulfed my life. I was a very enthusiastic track and field athlete and a lot of other things, too, soccer, tennis, whatever intramural, but I almost dropped all other exercise exploits to just throw myself at climbing.

 

Neely Quinn: What kind of climbing were you doing at that point? What did you start doing?

 

Hans Florine: That was early-80s so there actually was one single climbing gym in Seattle at the time. I think it opened then, in ‘82 or ‘83, but we didn’t know of it, so trad climbing was it. We went to Joshua Tree and couldn’t afford all the gear so all we bought was like 40-feet of webbing and we top roped everything. That’s why we loved Joshua Tree. We were trad climbing, mostly single pitch stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: Trad climbing and top roping?

 

Hans Florine: Top roping’s not different than trad climbing. It’s just poor man’s trad climbing.

 

Neely Quinn: I guess so. You’re putting up anchors.

 

Hans Florine: You can’t afford the gear.

 

Neely Quinn: That’s cool. That’s actually one of the places I started climbing was Joshua Tree. I remember in 1997 I saw people free soloing and I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life.

 

Hans Florine: What year?

 

Neely Quinn: 1997 or ‘98.

 

Hans Florine: I remember being passed my first trip to Joshua Tree by a guy who looked like he was 90 years old. He probably was only 50 or 60 but he passed us on Skip and Go Naked. I think it’s a 5.7, three pitch multi pitch route. I was following my mentor at the time and this guy just soloed by and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s weird.’

 

Neely Quinn: That’s impressive. Tell me about the evolution of your climbing from there. You were going to Joshua Tree and all these other places and then how did it evolve?

 

Hans Florine: That’s great. I would commute from the central coast, San Luis Obispo, and stop in at Santa Barbara and knew the gang there that was developing things. At first, I started at the bottom, 5.7s, 5.8s, but quickly – the limit of climbing when I started was I think there was one 5.13a at that time. Maybe it was Grand Illusion or something but I was always competitive and I excelled at track so I was like, ‘Hey, I want to go through the numbers, too.’

When it was trad climbing you can’t just jump on a 5.12 or .13 like you can with sport climbing. You have to learn all the ways to place pro so it’s a slower learning curve when you’re going up the grades in trad.

I think by five years in I was doing 5.12 trad and what happened at the end of the ‘80s is you had your first competitions ever in the world of climbing. They had the first World Cup at Snowbird in ‘88, I think. I didn’t quite catch onto the scene the first year or two but by the second or third year, when Lowe started doing national comps, I was like, ‘This is really cool. I could go.’

I was a yuppy for the last two years of the ‘80s so I was working 60 hours a week in LA but I could afford, actually, to fly to these Nationals in Boulder or wherever and, low-and-behold, placed in the top 10. It just seemed kind of cool, the top 10 in the US at something.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

 

Hans Florine: The caveat there was there were only 25 people competing so yay – I’m the top half of all climbers. Yay.

 

Neely Quinn: Wait, so these competitions were route climbing, right? At that point, were they all at gyms?

 

Hans Florine: No. Jeff Lowe got budgets to put up a wall at, like, the Greek Theater in Berkeley and the Community Railroad Theater in Seattle. They had one. They had one in the University of Boulder gym, I think, in ‘89/’90. Then of course, Snowbird did their two events and they had a National on that so there were no gyms large enough to host a national event until ‘91/’92 when you had City Rock in Berkeley and stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: So you were doing pretty well at these comps. You were placing in the top 10 of the 25+ competitors.

 

Hans Florine:  mean, there were more people climbing at a high level than 25 but that’s about how many people would show up.

 

Neely Quinn: So, because this show is mostly about training, can you tell me, at that time, how did you train for these events?

 

Hans Florine: This is good. Because there was a small group of people you’d see folks in the months and years and stuff before you competed and you would see them out climbing. I think it was frustrating for a lot of the top climbers that competed because I would routinely beat them at the comp yet they were outclimbing me 100% of the time at the climbing cliff. Because I wasn’t a redpointer, I would go to Mount Lemon and try whatever, two or three dozen different 5.12s and completely be done with the mountain after three or four weeks while they would be on one 5.13. They would never see me on a 5.13 yet I’d beat them at the competitions.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh, you were an onsighter.

 

Hans Florine: Right, so that could be simple enough. People could be like, ‘Oh, Hans was onsighting and comps are onsights so he won,’ but it was tough, I think, for a lot of climbers because they were like, ‘I’m climbing harder than Hans. I should beat him at the comps.’

I partially onsight climbed because I liked it more. I’d get to try new things outside but also, I was a smart competitor from all of my other sports. I’d be like, ‘Oh, competitions are about onsight? I’m going to onsight to train for it.’ Dale Goddard, in his first training book, says, “You have n-grams or a library of moves that you tap on,” right? If I’m out doing four, 5.11s, I’m learning more moves than someone who’s on one 5.13.

 

Neely Quinn: Right. Yeah.

 

Hans Florine: Even if they’re only 5.11 moves, right? I had more n-grams to tap into to try any given onsight move on a comp route. That’s what I think. I don’t want anyone to think I’m mister master and that’s the do-all of it. We didn’t really – ‘we’ I call the community at large – competitors, didn’t take to bouldering then so it was like redpointing was your way to try harder moves. Had we been more scientific about it, I think now the combination of trying very hard bouldering moves and then training later for the power endurance is what would have been a better combo.

 

Neely Quinn: Right, as well as the onsighting. Going back to the onsighting bit, it seems like that’s what a lot of competition climbers are training, at least part of the time, even now.

 

Hans Florine: Right. You can’t exclusively just do power. You’d never make it past the second clip.

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: This is something also that, just initially, outdoor training and stuff for comps, that’s what I did and I did much better than my counterparts if you will. I was definitely a better competitor. That doesn’t mean I was a better climber, that’s for sure. As we had climbing gyms more and more so into the early ‘90s I loved the competition scene so much I took on being the director of the national governing body.

I started training in the gyms for climbing competitions. I knew about poor performance at some time in the cycle of training from track and field. You do weights and you get all bulky and your technique’s not good until later in the spring when, in track and field, you need to perform. I’m like, ‘Hey. The same thing goes for climbing at a comp that’s going to be March 3. I’m going to lift weights,’ and I actually did lift weights, ‘and try beating myself up, so to speak, on routes.’ Really hard routes.

I would not be climbing very well the two weeks before the event and that was even more frustrating, right? I’d be climbing right next to somebody in the gym, trying to onsight a .12c, and someone else who I’m going to compete against in two weeks, they’re walking the .12c. I’m in a training mode where I’m tearing my muscles down and not giving myself enough recovery until the week before the event. All of a sudden I would take two and three rest days instead of just one and I outclimbed them at the comp. Low-and-behold, I onsight higher than I ever have before because I know a little bit about cycles of power training and power endurance training.

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: It was all there in Dale’s book. I didn’t read it from his book, I knew it from other sports, but…

 

Neely Quinn: Which a lot of climbing trainers are learning just from other sports. It seems like it’s kind of new information. Well, not new information but it’s just now getting out to other climbers that you have to take information from other sports like track and field in order to better your climbing. It seems like you caught onto that very early.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah. You know, climbing didn’t have a season back then. They would have a darn National in March and then someone would get funding and you would have another one in June, then you’d have one in October. You always have to be up, really.

For a while the Europeans tried to keep the World Cup to the fall and we would go and do four or five within two months but eventually it spread out because sponsor dollars were such that they did World Cups when they could.

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: I would still pride myself on – I don’t have the focus or determination to do a proper cycle for longer than 10, 12 weeks but certainly you can look into Eric Horst’s books or Dale’s and go, ‘Oh, here’s your power endurance cycle that should waive about four months or five or something like that.’ I’m like, ‘Give me a six-week one, please.’

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: Which they might feel is inadequate but that was more my attention span.

 

Neely Quinn: Is that because you didn’t like to feel like you weren’t climbing well for that long of a span?

 

Hans Florine: To my credit, I knew how to visualize really well the fun of standing on the podium, if you will, or topping out on a comp route and the crowd cheering. That would be in my head and I’m failing in the gym two weeks before on a route that I know I should be able to onsight. I failed because I know that I was training hard. I didn’t give myself three days’ rest back then. I didn’t need it then. I needed it before the comp.

 

Neely Quinn: So you’re clearly a very competitive person. This is shown in your speed ascents of the Nose, right? You had one of the first records and you broke that. Did you break it a third time? Excuse me for not knowing these things. I’m just not into that area of things but tell me all about that and tell me your drive for doing that.

 

Hans Florine: Initially, I did it the first time with Steve Schneider who I kind of jokingly say is the Jack Nicklaus of the sport. He was famous. He was the best known big wall climber and I was like, ‘Hey, I should team up with him. Why? Because I’ve won some speed events on a measly little 10-meter wall,’ and Steve said yes because he was like, ‘I wouldn’t want Hans to get the record without me.’ I think that was his thinking. To our amazement, we broke the record on our first try, having never climbed before together.

I did it because I was a young man, I was in a new sport, and I wanted/what I was thinking was, ‘What could get me recognition?’ Who doesn’t want that? The magazines talking about you. I was bold enough to ask the number one big wall climber, Steve Schneider, who was the only person who had free soloed the Nose in a day, ‘Would you do it with me?’ and he said, “Yes,” to my amazement. [Actually, Schneider did not free solo the Nose but was the first person to make a one-day solo ascent of the Nose.]

I didn’t think much past that when I first did it but when Peter Croft and Dave Schultz broke the record the following week, they got in the New York Times, the Denver Post, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle. No mention of me and Steve even though we broke the record the week before. That wasn’t painful at all for me. I just thought it was amazing that mainstream media took a look at climbing. I think it hit me probably then, but took more time, that the Nose is iconic and El Cap is iconic outside of climbing so it made the news.

 

Neely Quinn: Tell me what those records were. What was your’s and then what was theirs right after?

 

Hans Florine: The standing record in the late ‘80s was nine hours and change. They didn’t really keep track, and it was by Xavier Bongard and – shoot, I can’t remember the other guy’s name. I should because I’m the historian but I think we’re not sure who it is, but a German and an Austrian owned the record and I thought, ‘That’s lame. Americans should own the record on our own turf.’ Part of my thinking to get Schneider to do it with me. Two Germanic-named guys taking it home but we’re both American melting pot boys.

It was nine hours and change. Me and Schneider did it in 8 hours, 5 minutes, then Peter and Dave did it in 6:40.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh wow.

 

Hans Florine: An hour and 25 minutes faster than us. No one ever thought that that could be beaten. That was just a crazy amount of time but the following year I did it with Andy Puvell, who is a 6’6” kid, and we did it in 6 hours and 1 minute. One week later Peter and Dave would hear nothing of that so they did it in 4 hours and 48 minutes.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh wow.

 

Hans Florine: Taking an hour and 13 minutes off the time. This was just unheard of in, say, track and field or any other sport, that you’d take that much time off. Again, no one thought that would be broken because that’s just crazy, right?

The following year I teamed up with Peter because I thought it would be neat. I didn’t care whether it was Peter or Dave, I just thought it would be fun to climb with them, to just show that I was a fun-loving rival. It’s not a competition where we’re mean or anything, or archrivals certainly. He said yes and we climbed it in 4:22. We took whatever, 26 minutes, off him and Dave’s time.

I don’t know why him and Dave didn’t go up again later. I think Dave just probably got busy with work and life and stuff but the record lasted nine years.

I know this is a training thing but part of training is motivation, right? I got good – this is funny. The following year when Dave and Peter broke it, they got all this press. When me and Peter teamed up and did it in 4:22 there was a postage stamp-sized picture in the Climbing editorial section, in the beginning, like, ‘Hot Flashes,’ saying, ‘Oh, Peter and Hans got the record.’ Effectively, the media was saying, ‘You guys break the record every year so it’s not news.’ Maybe that’s not so much the case but that’s what it looked like. The papers didn’t put anything in about me and Peter breaking the thing, the mainstream papers, because they thought, ‘Oh, it happens every year. No news.’

One year, two years, five years, nine years went by and finally Timmy O’Neill and Dean Potter broke the record by a good 25 minutes. They broke the four-hour mark and that was cool.

Here’s the thing on motivation: I chose a great goal. I would win a World Cup speed climbing event and in the mid-late ‘90s, in Italy or Germany or something, and two days later at the crag, someone would say, “Hey, congratulations on that speed ascent you did.” And I would go, “Oh, I only beat the Italian by a couple seconds and the Russian by two seconds. I got lucky because they were kind of fast.” And they would go, “No, no, I mean on setting the Nose record,” which was eight or seven years prior, right?

That hit me that, wow – internationally I’m known for that, not the speed comp I did the weekend before, which was no small task, but it made me realize how important and big that was. I thought that when Dean and Timmy broke the record, I want to train to get it back because it’s something worthy, you know?

 

Neely Quinn: So then how did you train? I know you did it faster and faster after that, so tell me about the training.

 

Hans Florine: Well, I’ll tell you those first three years when I did it, we just went up and climbed and tried to go faster and we didn’t even look at the topo or anything. When Dean and Timmy broke the record I coaxed Jim Herson to go up with me. He’s a local dad with kids, the same that I was then, and works 50 hours a week as an engineer. He just was a really good crack climber trying to free the Salathe. Jim Herson and I broke the record by two minutes. It was kind of silly. Three hours and 55 minutes or something silly, 57? Those guys came back and broke it by a full 30 minutes two days later.

Jim and I both had climbed. We weren’t just off the couch. He had climbed in a gym. I climbed at the rock on weekends. Once they broke our record that second time, Yuji came and we ran up the Nose just to see how it would go because he was training to onsight the Salathe. We did it in 3 hours and 27 minutes. We didn’t get the record. We missed it by three minutes but we both realized that with us trying it our very first time and that’s how fast we went, if we just looked at the topo and strategized a few things, it would all work.

That’s when I started going to the gym and going, ‘You know, if the route is going to take three hours, I’m going to train for three hours. The hardest thing I can possibly do in three hours.’ I’m not an idiot. I wouldn’t go into the gym and just try 5.13s in the gym for three hours. I’d do what the terrain would be like climbing El Cap for three hours and see how much volume of climbing I could fit in three hours.

 

Neely Quinn: How much volume? That’s a lot of feet that you’re trying to simulate so how much volume did you fit into those gym sessions?

 

Hans Florine: Well, I made a score sheet that listed 5.6-5.14 and I would assign them a score. I don’t know. I knew it wouldn’t make sense to try to climb a 40-foot high gym, whatever, 90 times or 80 times just to get the footage. I would go, ‘Oh, it’s better if I climb 10, 5.11s than if I climb 10, 5.10s so I’m just going to put a score and see if I can make a higher score in three hours.’

I’d get some sort of score like 1,500 points and I also count sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups because my belaying partner may not want to just go at it the whole time. I’d be doing lunges while I’m belaying my partner and I’d be doing sit-ups and squats and boulder problems, even. I would even assign a score to boulder problems so I could go boulder while I would wait for the other person to go get a drink of water or whatever.

When you’re climbing El Cap, the Nose, you’re always doing something. Even when you’re simul-climbing or not simul-climbing, but pitch by pitch, you’re doing something at the belay while the other person is climbing, racking the rope or whatever, so I just made a score sheet and just tried to make my score higher and higher and higher. I limited the time to three hours.

Any training person or person listening would say, “Well, you could have set a score mark and seen how fast you could get to 1,500 points, you know?” I’ll happily share the PDF with you, if you want. It’s at www.fitnessrank.com but more so to the point is that I had a goal and I started looking at the topo with Yuji and I would ask people like Tom Frost, who’d climbed the route in ‘61, and people who had never climbed the route. I had a little webinar and say, “What should we do here? This is what we’re swinging through here. Should we have Yuji go first and swing over? Should we…”

I really picked apart the topo and I knew what Dean and Timmy did. I went and asked them. I knew, later on, what the Huber brothers did. I went and asked them. If I saw or heard somebody had a better way to get through the King Swing or any other pendulum then I’d try it out.

We really had this sort of cool topo in front of us with pens and pencils. Me and Yuji would mark it and we would mark our – he came expressly to get the record for two weeks from Japan one spring. Every three days we would do it and we would mark our point to Sickle. We’d have our splits, just like any good marathoner or mile runner would do. What’s your split to here? Why did it go faster or slower? We learned: hey, you know? We’re not going as fast as the Huber brothers to the Sickle Ledge but that’s good because you should have negative splits.

Anybody who’s in track and field knows what negative splits are. You go faster the third and fourth lap than you did the first and second.

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: Like brilliant science or whatever proving we were right, my very fastest runs are still slower than what the Huber brothers’ time is to the Sickle Ledge. Me and Yuji had some fast times to Sickle Ledge but it wasn’t our record runs, so…

 

Neely Quinn: You just made up for it later.

 

Hans Florine: Right, or we were pacing properly so we could put the pedal to the medal the last quarter of the route or something, just like you would running a mile. You don’t have your fastest lap the first lap. It’s your third or fourth.

 

Neely Quinn: Right. So then how long did you train like that in the gym?

 

Hans Florine: If I knew Yuji was coming I would start training a month and a half before he’d arrive. Go to the gym at 4:00AM, work for three hours in the gym, and then go to work from 8:00 or 9:00-5:00.

 

Neely Quinn: How many days a week would you do that?

 

Hans Florine: Two, max.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh. Were you just thrashed afterwards?

 

Hans Florine: Yeah, I mean if you run a marathon in 2.5-3 hours you’re cooked. It’s hard for climbers to run aerobically, anaerobically climbing. They just don’t have the urgency, most people don’t. They come to the gym and they get five or six routes done and they’re talking and socializing in between and it’s totally fine. I’m totally happy and fine with people doing that. I had a goal. I could barely stand at the end of three hours sometimes.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I bet.

 

Hans Florine: But I had a wide grin on my face because I knew what I was trying to do.

 

Neely Quinn: So then you guys broke that record, broke the record again, and then what happened?

 

Hans Florine: Well, kind of fun story which isn’t training, but Alex called me and wanted help on breaking the record with Ueli Steck. I gave him some ideas. A lot of functional, mechanical, whatever training ideas. Actually, not training, because he thought he was fit enough to get the record, so it was more just how you get through the pendulum swing, who should lead what. I think he had some challenges with Ueli because Ueli was older than him and was, I think, trying to lead, both figuratively and literally, the ascent but Alex had all the experience on granite over Ueli.

 

Neely Quinn: Sorry – just for clarification, you’re talking about Honnold.

 

Hans Florine: Yes.

 

Neely Quinn: Just wanted to clarify that.

 

Hans Florine: Here’s Alex chatting with this – Alex, at this time, was 24 or 23, chatting with this mid-30s somewhat strong character European and having trouble trying to work out how to climb the Nose fast, I think. I tried to give him as much advice as I could and they did well. I think they did it in 3 hours on one or two of their runs but word was out that Ueli took like a 90-foot fall on one of the trials and that’s just plain scary, right?

 

Neely Quinn: Yes.

 

Hans Florine: That puts a notch in your head that you can’t feel safe, per se, if that type of stuff is happening.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

 

Hans Florine: I told – well, later in the story. Then Sean and Dean – Sean Leary, ‘Stanley,’ and Dean Potter – got the record. Ueli and Alex couldn’t quite get down there. Within a week or two after Sean and Dean got the record Alex calls me, knowing that I’m going to go back up and get the record, and asks me if I would do it with him. Rather than just get beta from me he thought he’d ask the master teacher, I guess, to go with him.

I kind of felt obliged to ask Yuji’s permission, although I don’t really get hung up on that. It was nice. Yuji’s busy so me and Alex went for the record. At times, negotiating how to do it with Alex, I’d say, “Hey, I feel more safe when I have more gear in,” and he would want me to bring less gear and things like that, but I would say that whether or not Ueli Steck had the technical skills to go fast for the record up the Nose, which he probably did, he didn’t have the character to instill the team, both himself and Alex, to feel safe enough to know that they could go fast.

I mean, I’d tell Alex that safety makes me able to go fast and he’ll say that he climbs the same rate whether he has two pieces of gear in the last 50 feet or one, you know?

 

Neely Quinn: Which is a very special attribute of Alex Honnold, I guess.

 

Hans Florine: He’s very intelligent so it’s hard to catch him when he’s wrong and point it out.

 

Neely Quinn: So you guys probably had to make some compromises.

 

Hans Florine: Yep. Again, this is about training and that’s a fun story, but it’s not about training. Alex would train up on the rock in Yosemite. All sorts of routes with all sorts of people while I’d come back down to the Bay and train before work or after work or whatever in the gyms, then go back up and give it a run with him.

 

Neely Quinn: Do you feel like you guys were getting the same amount of climbing in? You with your three-hour sessions before work and him on the actual rock?

 

Hans Florine: Certainly not the same vertical footage he was getting in, but the same workout.

 

Neely Quinn: It’s pretty incredible that you simulated that.

 

Hans Florine: I mean, I would suggest that if he came and did my workout at the gym, he would’ve gone faster than just going out and climbing but it wouldn’t have been near as fun for him.

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: He was up at altitude and I would be gasping. By the way, this strategy, we decided when I climbed with Yuji, it was stupid or silly or traditional to switch leads so you could say, “They were equal partners. One person led some and another person led some.” It’s dumb for the follower to be out of breath, catching up to the leader, and then go, ‘Okay, your lead.’ That’s silly. Let’s just let one person lead the whole thing, so when I climbed with Yuji he led. With Alex, part of it was ego, part of it was strategy-wise. I don’t think I could have followed as fast as him on the lower part because he was so good at soloing so we decided that I would lead the first half and he would lead the second half.

Anybody who knows anything about big wall simul-climbing knows that the better climber needs to be on the back end, so any climber that knows anything would think it was proud of me to be on the back end with Yuji rather than the front, but since me and Alex did halfsie-halfsie, there’s no foul, no nothing. Everything is fine.

 

Neely Quinn: Right. That’s interesting. It’s kind of counter-intuitive.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah, people not in the know will go, ‘Oh, both people led so they must both be equal partners,’ and the people in the know go, ‘Oh, both people followed so they must be equal partners.’ There you have it.

 

Neely Quinn: You guys ended up breaking the record and you currently have the record, right?

 

Hans Florine: As far as I know. It’s raining in Yosemite so as of a few days ago I didn’t hear of anybody breaking the record.

 

Neely Quinn: [laughs] You stay pretty up on the current affairs over there?

 

Hans Florine: Yeah, I’m one of the librarians that archives the speed ascents on many of the routes in Yosemite. I just started doing it 15, 20 years ago on www.speedclimb.com and it’s an easy way to post and keep updated for folks. People like to see their name in print. It’s fun.

 

Neely Quinn: Just for the record, what was your time on that and what was the previous time?

 

Hans Florine: Dean and Sean Leary did it in 2 hours, 36 minutes, and 40 seconds, I think. 45 seconds? We did it in 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 46 seconds. What’s that, 13 minutes?

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it’s a substantial amount of time. I mean, do you think that other people are training like you? Do you think Dean trains like you or was Sean training like you? What do other people do?

 

Hans Florine: I really only have the Reel Rock tour to educate me on what Sean and Dean did. They show them going up there and their hands all chalked and there’s tick marks which, actually, I don’t know if they put tick marks for where to put gear and stuff. They lowered in from the top and rehearsed the top and rehearsed sections of the route and stuff like that, so I think that was part of their training.

 

Neely Quinn: So they weren’t putting in three hour gym sessions?

 

Hans Florine: They were putting in eight hour sessions hiking up, rapping in, and climbing out. In my opinion, more cool, committed work to getting it. It’s exactly the type work you should do, is get on the route and practice the end where you’re going to be tired.

 

Neely Quinn: Right, yeah.

 

Hans Florine: It’s what I would do if I were up there.

 

Neely Quinn: I mean, it’s what sport climbers do. It’s what I do on projects. I practice the end, even if it’s easy.

 

Hans Florine: Exactly. In the days of old redpointing, we rehearsed the last third a lot more than the first two thirds because that’s where you’re going to need it.

Incidentally, when I get to work speed routes for competitions, I would really do a lot of rehearsing the last, in the case of a comp route, the last 10 or 15 feet because it’s only 40 feet long.

 

Neely Quinn: Going back to the Nose really quick, do you think that Lynn Hill ever thought that route would go as fast as you guys have done it?

 

Hans Florine: She’s pretty wise, I think, about someone will always do better. Me and Lynn did it in 8 hours back in ‘92, the year before she freed it, which, at the time, that was only 3 hours off the record by boys.

 

Neely Quinn: It’s just incredible how far things have come.

 

Hans Florine: It was our first time climbing in Yosemite on that route together. We had climbed sport climbing in Europe before but when we did in 8 hours, she was stopping to check things out for free climbing along the way. We weren’t trying to go fast. She probably could have said, “Oh, me and Hans can go up in 5 hours tomorrow, for sure, if we weren’t stopping to inspect for free climbing.” I would say she, even back then, would have said that it’s possible to go this fast.

 

Neely Quinn: Do you think that it’s possible to go under two hours?

 

Hans Florine: Yep.

 

Neely Quinn: Are you going to try?

 

Hans Florine: I’ve already said to a couple of public audiences, and this is whatever, you’re public, too – I’m not going to go get the record again if someone breaks it.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh, you’re not? If someone breaks it you’re retiring from it?

 

Hans Florine: I would love to coach or give ideas to anybody that does go want to break or whoever does break our record but I, personally, am not going to go again.

 

Neely Quinn: Why is that?

 

Hans Florine: I want to work on other things. It’s easy to say the cliche that I don’t have anything to prove anymore but I want to prove a bunch of stuff, still. I’m just okay with letting that one go. I felt I gave it a really good run with Alex. A really appropriate question is if me and Alex had rested three days after we had done that and done it again, would we have gone faster? Highly likely we would have, but nobody is paying us a million dollars to do it or anything. Alex has other interests, I do, and you can only put so much effort into it.

 

Neely Quinn: Well, I think everybody can agree that you put a great effort into it and did a great job.

 

Hans Florine: Going back to my sport climbing, beating people at comps, it might well be somebody’s observation that all the other folks setting the record on the Nose are better climbers than me. If they want, I’ll even concede that. I mean, the Huber brothers are amazing. This isn’t their local crag, right? I mean sure, they spent a lot of time over on the Zodiac but this is granite climbing. Their home turf out in Tyrol is conglomerate stuff in the Dolomites or limestone or whatever. It’s not their home type rock so for them to come to a foreign country and climb the thing in 2 hours and 45 minutes is insane.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, they seem like highly ambitious individuals.

 

Hans Florine: I’m sure the record would be under two hours if they lived here. They would own it, no doubt.

 

Neely Quinn: Well some day, some day.

 

Hans Florine: When are you going to get on it?

 

Neely Quinn: Never. That just sounds terrifying to me.

 

Hans Florine: Well, you don’t have to do it in three hours.

 

Neely Quinn: Yep, that’s just not something that I’m ever going to do. Even multi-pitch sport climbs are a little – I’m not the greatest with rope management. It’s just really scary for me, but anyway, enough about me.

I want to talk to you a little bit more about your speed climbing because you’ve obviously achieved a lot with that. I’m curious as to how you train for speed climbing because it’s a big thing and I think it’s going to take – and I’m wondering your opinion about this, too, that it’s going to take climbing into more of the public eye. What do you think about that and how did you train for it?

 

Hans Florine: Sounds like you’re talking about competition speed climbing.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, competition speed climbing.

 

Hans Florine: So, much like climbing is the best training for climbing, speed climbing is the best training for speed climbing. Frankly, I’ve got to say some non-training, mechanical things.

Initially, speed climbing was a novelty and the upper climbers poo-pooed it. Certainly in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but low-and-behold, guess who won the speed events? The people who entered that were the best difficulty climbers, right? Granted, I’m not going to name people, but people who won the difficulty comps, many of them didn’t do the speed event therefore they didn’t win the speed event.

Generally, whoever won the speed event, if you placed them against all the other speed climbers in the difficulty, the guy who won speed beat the others in difficulty. Not 100% of the time but it would very, very – it’s unfortunate that they didn’t embrace it. Unfortunate for them because I walked away with a lot of prize money in Europe because the top difficulty climbers didn’t speed climb. Had they, I wouldn’t have won. That’s for sure.

So that out of the way, to train for speed climbing, I would speed climb in the gym, usually only once or twice before a speed event. Never as the season was going on like I did difficulty because it was not something cool or whatever. I was like, ‘Whatever, I want to win the dang 1,500 Deutsche Marks next week. I’m going to speed climb.’ Or the 3 million lira. ‘That’s going to pay for my expenses for the next three weeks so I’m going to train speed climbing.’

I would do as close as I could to what I knew the format of the speed event was. Sometimes it was very rushed, like they were going to make 16 little indians down to 8 and then 8 to 4 and then 4 to 2 and then 2 to 1. It was a ladder elimination and you had to speed climb your very hardest all within that hour, once they got down to the 16 little indians. I would try to replicate that format.

The other thing I would do is put big paddles on my hands and swim in the pool as fast as I could. Swimming is great. No impact, not that climbing has any impact, but…

 

Neely Quinn: Wait a second. You would do what?

 

Hans Florine: Put those swim paddles on my hands and then swim sprints in the pool.

 

Neely Quinn: Huh.

 

Hans Florine: It’s a little bit of a – if you just swam it would be good for you but I tried to do my strokes such that I was doing a handhold and sweeping down past my waist, then a handhold and sweeping down past my waist.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh, so more like a dog paddle?

 

Hans Florine: Yes. If you actually drive your knees forward like you’re climbing and driving off holds, you look completely ridiculous in the pool but it’s exactly what you need to do. When you pull your knees forward in the pool, it drags you slower, right? But it’s good for the resistance and you get in more arm sweeps per lap of the pool, so that’s what I would do often, a speed dog paddle. Then, if someone was looking I’d just do a speed swimming stroke or something.

 

Neely Quinn: Right, so that was good because it trained the motion without tearing up your shoulders quite as much.

 

Hans Florine: Probably, yeah. I mean, it’s still probably hard on your shoulders when you have that much resistance in the water. I found that’s how I got rotator cuff injuries is from the swimming training, not so much the climbing training, but I know how to recover and train a rotator cuff injury and I did. I fixed it.

It’s nice because it’s just a break from going and climbing speed climbing. Just like I learned in track and field. If you’re pole vaulting you don’t just go pole vault. You go lift weights and you do sprints and you mix it up. You do the parts of the event and then you put them together for the technique.

 

Neely Quinn: Right. It’s very methodical.

 

Hans Florine: The aerobic hell of sprinting for 12 seconds up a climbing wall – you need to sprint for 12 seconds – the water is cool so you get the aerobic capacity to just bust for 12 seconds in the swimming pool without having to have a belayer or a wall or shoes and harness and chalk and all of that stuff, so that was my aerobic training, the swimming.

Then, I would sometimes do a little bouldering because I knew powerful bouldering was good for speed climbing, although it really, the first decade or two even that I speed climbed, they didn’t get too much into difficulty speed routes. Most routes were 5.10 or easier. They did try it at a couple World Cups as experiments. They’d do a .12a or, for them that would be a 7a or b, and that was just different. It just probably wasn’t as good for the spectators because people are still climbing a little bit slow on a .12a but…

 

Neely Quinn: What are they now? Do you know?

 

Hans Florine: Well, those standardized international ones? I’m going to guess they are about .10a. They really are crazy height dependent so it’s probably .10d if you’re under 5’4” or something.

 

Neely Quinn: That was what I was going to ask you, too, because you’re 6’1”, right? That’s pretty tall for a climber. Do you think that that helped you in your speed climbing?

 

Hans Florine: Yes.

 

Neely Quinn: Yes, so anything under what would have trouble with that?

 

Hans Florine: Well, you know in difficulty climbing that you have every height person winning, including 5’1” Lynn Hill. It’s not impossible that a short person could do well at speed climbing at all, because they have better torque because they have shorter arms so they can have better power to throw themself up the wall. But, whenever there’s a spacing issue, your legs can drive off of things and generally, if you’re taller, you’re going to have longer legs and your legs are stronger than your arms. Any basketball player is going to be able to jump higher, any climber is going to be able to jump higher, and when it’s nearly a vertical wall your legs help a lot on those international speed events.

I mean if you’ve watched one of those videos of those guys climbing that wall in 6 seconds, they swim up the wall. They literally swim up the wall and you really have to pay close attention but their feet, driving legs off the thing and the sweeping of their arms, it’s a very cool, full-body coordination.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, so it must be – go ahead.

 

Hans Florine: That’s one of the drills, actually, that I do training speed climbing. I force myself to never look below my chest so that I didn’t lose – when your neck has to look down and your head tilts down to look, and then look back up for the handholds, you lose a half a second and you can’t lose a half a second on a 10-second run.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

 

Hans Florine: So I would try to have my feet have the proprioception to remember where my hands had just been so that I would never have to look down at my feet. You know, when you get to rehearse a route it’s better for that call out. Then I would try, on harder routes, taking the time to place my feet really well so that I could drive off of them. I would play those drills on myself. Never look below my chest and then take the time and see if I could go faster on, like, a .12a or something if I knew what the speed event was going to be, you know?

 

Neely Quinn: And even relating that to the Nose, it seems like if you could rehearse the Nose over and over and over, you could have that proprioception even more than just training in the gym for it.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah. The Nose provides all the – well, Yosemite climbing in general provides all these cool ways to use your body for the long run. A lot of pushing things in dihedrals. Often, where there’s cracks, there’s dihedrals, so you’re pushing your way up rather than pulling. I see lots of strong climbers who do know how to crack climb or whatever. They’re good for a pitch or two but the third or fourth pitch they’ve been using all their pulling muscles and haven’t been taking extra care to push off the dihedrals and they’re not doing as well as someone more experienced when they get higher up.

You do simple things. Even for one, 2.5 hour run up the Nose, I’ll try to use my thumbs a lot, pushing off things as I go, or the palms of my hands rather than my fingers because if your fingertips, the skin on them, gets the slightest feedback of tenderness, that’s going to affect you.

 

Neely Quinn: Right. You’ll slow down just because of the pain, probably.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah, you know that good feeling of, ‘Oh yeah, the crystal’s in my fingers. This feels great,’ bouldering or whatever? Then you’re like, ‘Oh, wait a minute. This doesn’t feel so great,’ after you’ve done it a dozen times, you know?

 

Neely Quinn: I mean, when you get to the top of the Nose.

 

Hans Florine: ‘Dude, I should have been using my thumb a little bit more, not squished my hand around so much and milked the edge so much.’ You know? It’s just all good at the beginning of the day.

 

Neely Quinn: So are your hands just bleeding everywhere when you get to the top of the Nose?

 

Hans Florine: No, I’m not that much of a hack.

Now we can talk about tools. Do I tape glove? I have sometimes taped. That’s what happened when I got the record with Alex, but I didn’t tape. Some of the trial runs I would tape one hand or the other. Maybe not per se for a particular reason or not but maybe I had a go beyond my hand and wanted it covered. I was experimenting to see which way would work best, you know?

In the end I wanted to go without gloves. I’m actually developing a prototype crack climbing glove with Outdoor Research and it’s super cool because you can take it on and off, depending on what pitch you’re on, really quick. You don’t have to retape and stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: I’m really surprised that hasn’t been invented yet. That’s great.

 

Hans Florine: Well, lots of different companies have them. They’ve had them for over a decade but they just haven’t caught on.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh. See? What do I know?

 

Hans Florine: I don’t know. Tons of training stuff.

When I was sport climbing, and this carries over to trad, I would ice my hands. Even on the road I would find cold water. I would ice my hands after really hard sport climbing sessions. I’m jumping here to a totally different, random subject. Yeah, sure, I’ve had injuries in my hands which prompted me to do it later on, but even when I didn’t have injuries I’d start icing my hands every time, immediately, as quick as I could after hard sport climbing workouts. I found that the recovery was a lot better because what is getting flushed in your hands and improving circulation in your hands is then also going to your forearms as well and improving circulation there as well, so that the ATP process is getting taken care of after the exercise faster. You know? That mechanical hot-cold-hot-cold.

 

Neely Quinn: Speaking of hands, actually, a lot of people who listen to or read TrainingBeta have written in and asked, ‘How do I take care of my skin?’ You would be a good person to ask because you’re doing thousands of feet of climbing at a time. Is it just that you have to build up your calluses? Or do you take special care with your skin?

 

Hans Florine: So a story cements an idea in people’s’ heads. When I was traveling, living out of my van and sport climbing in the ‘90s, one of my friends – I guess I could name him, Phil Requist – he would always, at the end of the day after washing his hands, he would always put lotion on his hands. I thought that was kind of lame, like, you’re going to have softy, girly hands, right? Because you’re using lotion. I’d leave mine dry and tough, macho, but in the end we both climbed probably the same. His hands were always in nicer condition than mine and I didn’t have any more longevity on my tips or anything than he did but I think his hands looked better.

If you get the proper lotion there’s probably going to be nourishment into it. Now you have a lot of cool salves specifically designed for after climbing. Joshua Tree and something-something makes a salve, and so does a cool Organic company out of Santa Cruz. I think those are great for healing your skin.

 

Neely Quinn: But it sounds like you don’t really have problems with that.

 

Hans Florine: I don’t have problems. I can go wash the dishes for my whole family and get my hands soaking wet and whatever and it feels great, actually, after the thing. Then I can have them dry out and climb later that evening at the gym and I’m fine.

 

Neely Quinn: Lucky you.

 

Hans Florine: I’m pretty lucky there but I get all sorts of samples all the time for that stuff and generally your hands feel better when they’re hydrated, I guess.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

 

Hans Florine: The skin does. I don’t like my hands feeling like, if I put them on at night to go to sleep, I don’t like my hands feeling moist or oily, but there’s salves that don’t make you feel all moist-handed.

The icing thing, I 100,000% think everyone should do that. When you fall asleep and your hands are in a claw because you’ve been climbing all day, that fingers bent claw sort of shape, it’s way lessened if you just ice your hands a couple times after you climb.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, and they’re all swollen from being used. It’s funny. I haven’t climbed in five months and my wedding ring no longer fits me. It just falls off of my finger. That’s partly because the calluses are gone and partly because my hands are just not swollen anymore. It’s crazy.

 

Hans Florine: Yep, I’ve got that challenge with my ring.

 

Neely Quinn: We’re going to wrap-up here in a few minutes but…

 

Hans Florine: Nutrition!

 

Neely Quinn: Well, that, too, but I’m honestly more interested in what your future goals are. I mean, you’re 50. Not that that’s old by any means but what now? What’s next?

 

Hans Florine: I have this past of being at more than a base level of fitness, a bit above that, all the time so when a cool opportunity arises, I’m ready. I don’t know, it’s not a case in point but Hazel Findlay shows up in town and I haven’t climbed El Cap yet last year – was it last year? Yeah. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’d be fun to climb with her. She’s kind of one of these rising stars, a super cool trad climber,’ and my friend Will Masterman connected us up together. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m fit enough that I can climb a couple of cracks in our gym for a few days then I can run up and climb El Cap with Hazel.’

It’s probably not a big media event or some goal that people care about but I liked it. It was my first time ever doing the Nose of El Cap without jugs, of all strange things. It was fun. Both of us had to climb every portion of it with no jugging.

My knees are kind of giving me trouble so I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do the 14-ers or ridge traverses in the Palisades sort of thing, but I’d like to do some more endurance things of long climbing. The challenge is that you have to walk down from most long climbing things so that could be tough on my knees, but that’s the thing I want to do. Be ready for some long climbing adventures.

 

Neely Quinn: So you want to be climbing for, potentially, the rest of your life it sounds like.

 

Hans Florine: Absolutely, yeah. Last week there was an 81 year old, Bob Ryan, at my house. He climbed Cathedral Peak at age 81. He climbed Cathedral Peak 66 years prior to that when he was 15 years old.

 

Neely Quinn: Wow.

 

Hans Florine: Pretty cool.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s great. And then we just had Lee Sheftel climbing .13b at 68, right?

 

Hans Florine: I read that, yeah.

 

Neely Quinn: That’s pretty awesome.

 

Hans Florine: There’s Chuck Odette. He works with Petzl and he’s been putting up 5.14s in Logan Canyon and around Salt Lake for the last couple of years. He’s, I want to say, 54 or 55, somewhere in there.

 

Neely Quinn: Like you said earlier, nutrition. I do want to touch on that just to get your…

 

Hans Florine: Next week. Save it for the next podcast. “It’s all about donuts and spinach, with Hans.”

 

Neely Quinn: Tell me your tricks and tips on nutrition because, if you look the same as you did a year ago, even, from a picture I saw, you have an incredible physique. I’m sure a lot of people are interested in how you keep that and I know that diet has a lot to do with that. What are your secrets?

 

Hans Florine: One is living in a place where there’s great food. I’m in California so it’s darn easy to eat well here. In Boulder, I think there’s tons of great food, too, so it’s really easy to avoid McDonald’s, however, I travel a bit and I don’t want to bother people or myself with going out of the way to try to find the organic produce market sort of thing, so I’ll eat whatever taqueria I can find. I’m lucky, just like with my hand skin, I can eat anything. I can climb El Cap on – I don’t want to name any brand burger – a junky hamburger if I had to. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to.

My wife is very health conscious. She prepares great meals for us. I know how to prepare good meals and I do eat red meat. I eat white meat. I’ll eat any meat, pretty much. I don’t mind going vegetarian for times here and there at all. I do find that recovery, it’s good to have a variety of proteins. I do have supplements, like protein powders and things, that I’ll take after hard workouts if I can’t find a meat source handy.

I’ve been fortunate. For performance, climbing versus training climbing, I do better than I think a lot of people on simple sugars. It’s great. There’s 1,000 energy products out now that weren’t there 20 years ago. I started with PowerBar and used their stuff for 22 years. I just switched to Honey Stinger and Nuun. I’ve learned the last 10 years what’s been able to keep me climbing. A huge thing is hydrating. I used to never cramp up but the last decade, certainly more the last four or five years, my forearms would cramp like cyclist’s leg cramps. Just taking the right mix of electrolytes eliminates my forearms cramping.

For me, right now, it happens to be that Nuun has those tablets that are just so freaking convenient. I just drop them into a water bottle wherever I’m at. I can take them up on the wall and have a gallon of water that’s water so you don’t have to drink it if you don’t want.

Other great tips is Tums. I learned that from cyclists. Tums has a ton of calcium and magnesium, and of course salt and potassium and sodium are great. All of the perfect electrolyte blends, people argue about what it is, but anything, any mix of different sodium, potassium, magnesium, is better than none.

I’m lucky that I have a sister that is an internal medicine doctor and her husband is a doctor. I can talk savvy back and forth with them on: how long can your ATP process do things without you drinking or ingesting into your body – you’re a nutritionist so this is all easy stuff for you, but – how long can your ATP process go when you’re going anaerobic at your whatever threshold without you supplementing with some cool electrolyte stuff into your system?

 

Neely Quinn: Right.

 

Hans Florine: The answer is: not very long. [laughs] Certainly not 2 hours 23 minutes and 46 seconds. Alex probably didn’t take anything other than he had an omelette for breakfast, not with sausage and cheese in it, but he’s 25 years old so he can do that. I had probably a very nice electrolyte sports drink and some light Honey Stinger waffles and I brought some of their energy gel things. Just pure, quick, energy stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah. It’s cool to see how people work differently on different macronutrients. I’m like you. I work well on simple sugars but I think a lot of people work better on fat and protein.

 

Hans Florine: Whenever I’m gone for an eight hour day of climbing, I try to take a variety of stuff. I’ll bring jerky, peanuts, salty stuff, and sports nutrition stuff. It tends to be more sweeter stuff.

This is a great story for people. I get this question and it’s fun. What do we bring with us to eat on 2 hours and 23 minutes? Or drink? It’s really cool that you think that a marathon is about the same time. I don’t know how much a marathoner drinks during that 2 hours and 10 minutes but there’s tables, what, every mile? They could grab a drink or a little Gatorade. A sports drink. We can’t, right? I mean, my own ethic and style is I refuse to take any stashes on the route for our record, so we can’t bring a gallon of water on our side. That just weighs too much. We hydrate. I probably carry a lot of water in my stomach at the base but we have a little one liter bottle each. I think maybe Alex had less than a liter. I had a bike bottle…

 

Neely Quinn: Woah.

 

Hans Florine: Of Nuun and I had one gel shot, which is what, about 80 or 90 calories, maybe?

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, not much.

 

Hans Florine: I had that halfway. I drank the water sips at a time so that I finished about two pitches from the top or whatever, 10 or 15 minutes from the end of the push.

I’m really anal about that. If you bring food and liquids with you for a climb, you don’t eat and drink it at the end of the climb. That’s stupid. You eat it so that your body can use it during the performance, you know? Not to the point of being mad at people, but I always joke that we can’t return to the car after a full day of climbing and hiking with food. I gobble as much as I can the last 45 minutes of the hike. That’s poor planning if you arrive back and you carried that extra energy bar or whatever.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s smart.

 

Hans Florine: Oh, so other little comparisons on nutrition. I’ll classically eat pasta the night before. Maybe some meat but mainly pasta and then in the morning I’ll have something light like a pancake and maybe one energy bar, and then I’ll hydrate a lot the day before and morning, to the point of having to get up at night once or twice to go to the bathroom. Hydration is super key, and not just water but water with good chemicals in it. That doesn’t sound good. Electrolytes sounds so much more – whatever. Look on the Nuun site for the exact composition.

 

Neely Quinn: Okay, that’s a good overview of that. I was curious as to what you guys were eating up there and apparently it’s not very much.

 

Hans Florine: No, it’s a weight challenge.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, so where can we find you online, first of all?

 

Hans Florine: I guess Facebook is so big. HansFlorineClimbs is my thing on Facebook/page, my athlete page, but www.hansflorine.com will get you around to me, for sure, and www.speedclimb.com has a lot of the cool archive ascents of speed climbing in Yosemite.

 

Neely Quinn: You run that site?

 

Hans Florine: I do, yeah.

 

Neely Quinn: What can we find on www.hansflorine.com?

 

Hans Florine: You know, frankly, there, you’re going to find more stuff about my public speaking stuff. I think my athlete page on Facebook, HansFlorineClimbs, no spaces, is where you’ll find stories of me climbing stuff.

 

Neely Quinn: Do you have any upcoming events that the general public can go to?

 

Hans Florine: Wow. You are a great interviewer. I’m going to Washington, DC the week of October 23. I’m doing a show at the National Cathedral School on Friday. At Earth Treks, on Thursday, I’ll be doing an exercise clinic. It’s all the exercises to make you better at climbing except climbing.

 

Neely Quinn: Okay.

 

Hans Florine: Like, I steal stuff from pilates, yoga people, Crossfit people. Steal, use, borrow, whatever. A lot of it is core things but I show people a lot of exercises that can keep your core strong and hand exercises and things like that.

 

Neely Quinn: That’s great. So that’s in Washington, DC, in late October.

 

Hans Florine: Right. At Earth Treks and at – oh gosh. I should know the other place, on Saturday, at another gym there.

 

Neely Quinn: But we can find out more on www.hansflorine.com?

 

Hans Florine: HansFlorineClimbs on Facebook. I have an event page where it shows all the events I’ll be doing upcoming.

 

Neely Quinn: Oh, I see.

 

Hans Florine: So you Facebook savvy people, there’s an events tab on my Facebook page where you can see all the upcoming events I’m doing.

 

Neely Quinn: Alright. Anything else? Any last words?

 

Hans Florine: Be safe so that you can keep climbing. That’s what keeps me doing it.

 

Neely Quinn: Yeah, well you’ve got to be safe when you’re doing what you’re doing.

 

Hans Florine: Yeah.

 

Neely Quinn: Well, thank you very much for being on the show. I really appreciate you telling us all about all of your history and free climbing and speed climbing and the Nose. All of it. It was fun talking to you.

 

Hans Florine: Great. I hope I can go multi-pitch climbing with you when I visit Boulder.

 

Neely Quinn: [laughs] Okay, we’ll see about that.

Thanks for listening to episode 13 of the TrainingBeta podcast. Again, I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and that was Hans Florine. You can find Hans at www.hansflorine.com or he has a really cool Wikipedia page that explains all of the stuff that he was just talking about if you want to see the chronology of everything that he’s done, all of his records and his ascents. That is Hans. I hope that you learned something from him. He has quite a bit of experience and I hope that you could take something away from it.

Like I said, in a couple weeks I’ll be putting out my episode with Jared Vagy. I might do it next week. I don’t know. You’ll see when it comes out. Other than that, definitely check out the new climbing training program for boulderers at www.trainingbeta.com on the ‘Training Programs’ tab. That’s a total tongue twister, every time.

Other than that, I hope to see some of you soon. Until next time, happy climbing.

 

[music]

TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, a blog, interviews on the TrainingBeta Podcast, personal training for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.


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