Women's El Cap Speed-Climbing Record Shattered

Smith-Gobat and Astorga finish 32-pitch Nose route in just 7:26
Staff Writer

In one swoop, Mayan Smith-Gobat and Chantel Astorga shattered the women’s speed record for the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park and completed the first female link-up of El Cap and Half Dome in 24 hours.

A few days earlier, the women did a practice run of the Nose that was half-an-hour faster than the previous record of 10 hours, 40 minutes. That record was established by Astorga and Libby Sauter in 2011.

On Sunday, Astorga and Smith-Gobat began their climb at 3:30 a.m. and reached the tree on top of El Capitan 7 hours and 26 minutes later, crushing the previous record by almost three hours.

The pace required not only excellent athleticism, but also a sketchy draw-out near the end.

On the last pitch, Smith-Gobat had nearly 100 feet of rope hanging free, wrote Tom Evans of ElCap Reports, who witnessed the event. A fall with that much slack could easily have been fatal.  

Immediately after their ascent of the Nose, the women went to Half Dome, where they became the first all-female team to complete both climbs in a day. They completed the two routes in 20 hours and 9 minutes.

Smith-Gobat is New Zealand's most internationally prolific rock climber,  and one of the best female climbers in the world. She is the only Australasian woman to have completed a 5.14b climb.

Chantel Astorga is an instructor and guide for the American Alpine Institute. She leads trips in the Cascades, Red Rock, the Sierra, and Alaska.

Via Rock and Ice and DPM Climbing.

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