Hans Florine and Abraham Shreve were attempting a one-day ascent on Thursday. You'd never know how serious the Hans fall and subsequent rescue were from the pairs Instagram fees.
"The sun shadow line is the nose route and we were right about there about 2/3rd of the way up the route," explained Hans from outside the Fresno hospital where he underwent surgery for his two broken legs. Hans pointed to the cover of his book, On The Nose.
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"Hans has ascended various routes on El Cap 178 times, nobody's done more and he's done this one on the nose 110 if we're counting this one," said his friend and climbing partner Abe.
But this time a nut slipped out of the rock dropping Hans more than 20 feet. He hit his legs on a ledge during the fall.
"I knew bad things were happening when I looked down and my leg was bent, I basically pulled out my phone called 911 and looked down the route, Abe was coming around a corner," said Hans.
Abe recalls coming around the corner and seeing Hans who'd managed to pull himself up to a ledge. He said Hans was calmly talking to 911 and kept telling the search and rescue crews to be careful.
Despite the seriousness of the injuries, Hans maintained a positive attitude and sense of humor.
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"I'm like, 'Hans look at me, look at me' and he looks up and it's like somebody flipped a switch and he goes, 'We should make an Instagram video,'" said Abe.
A climbing team from Japan helped stabilize Hans' legs.
"They got a sleeping bag and we wrapped up his legs and then I was starting to shiver and they gave me a down jacket. I mean it was... the humanity was incredible," said Abe, explaining that there was a substantial language barrier between the two men and the Japanese climbers.
The fall happened around 1:30 in the afternoon, Search and Rescue reached the men by 7 o'clock and took Hans to the top for the night. They couldn't take Abe so he spent the night on the side of El Capitan. Friday morning he watched a helicopter transport Hans from the summit to a hospital in Fresno.
Hans is a climbing instructor at Diablo Rock in Concord where people have already brought in 'Get Well Soon' cards. A picture from his record-setting climb of two hours, 23 minutes is on the wall.
"He had the speed record on the nose for a while," said Ryan Kich, Diablo Rock.
Hans is now in a hurry to return to the East Bay to be with his family and begin his recovery. Once home he'll face more surgeries, but he's determined to stay active.
"I wanted to get to 200 total ascents so this is going to put a little slow down on that goal I think," said Hans.
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