Midnight Lightning

In 1978, at the foot of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, what is considered one of the world’s most famous boulder problems was born.  Midnight Lightning, today rated V8, was completed by Ron Kauk with no sophisticated crash pads, just the multiple discarded mattresses that were found in the area.


The story goes that John Buchan, a climbing partner of Kauk’s, drew a lightning bolt on the rock, citing that there was about as much a chance of sending the problem as there was a chance that a lightning bolt would strike at midnight.


Kauk recounted about working on the problem with John Bachar and John Yablonski: “After 4 months of off and on effort, I was the first one to pull over the lip and complete the climb, which to this day has had an effect on my personal sense of place and history, within the climbing community, throughout the world”.


In 1998, Lynn Hill became the first female to climb the route, and the second female to ever climb V8.  She did, however, top rope the boulder first before sending, which was considered a small controversy of sorts.  Lisa Rands sent the route “clean” in 2001.


To this day, Midnight Lightning remains an iconic send.  The lightning bolt is still present on the boulder.