Women Racing up El Capitan

 
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Shortly after the sun crested Half Dome this morning (October 28th), two of the Valley’s fastest women began the Yosemite Grand Prix- The Nose of El Capitan. Libby Sauter and Mayan Smith-Gobat hit the stop watch at 7:18 am and charged up the big wall.

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Tom Evans photo of Mayan Smith-Gobat leading while Libby follows under the Great Roof of the Nose.

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Libby Sauter pulling on cams through a section of 5.10 wide climbing to Dolt Tower

The pair climbed the 3,000 foot route in two blocks with Sauter leading the first half to Boot Flake and Smith-Gobat taking the reins to the summit. Though they planned to take a “practice” run, the women climbed quickly. A loud cheer broke the meadow when Sauter snagged the tree, joining Smith-Gobat at the summit in a mere 5 hours 2 minutes- a new women’s speed record.

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Smith-Gobat stops to hydrate during the 5 hour ascent

This past season, women have dominated El Capitan speed climbing. Earlier in the year, Sauter and her partner Quinn Brett climbed El Capitan twice in a day via the Nose and Lurking Fear. They are the first female pair to climb two El Cap routes in a day and one of very few teams who have climbed El Cap more than once in a day.

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On Sauter and Smith-Gobat’s speed ascent, they moved quite well. They had a major setback when they lost an aider and Sauter had to follow with one aider. It’s quite clear that the women’s speed record could drop well below 5 hours.

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Climbing so quickly requires a solid climbing ability. The women climbed 5.11 with enormous death loops of rope out and set the standard for bold climbing on El Capitan. Congratulations to the team.