Mayan Smith-Gobat and Libby Sauter Set the Female Speed Record on the Nose

posted by dpm on 10/02/2013

On September 29, Mayan Smith-Gobat of New Zealand and American Libby Sauter raced to the top of El Capitan's Nose route in just 5 hours and 39 minutes. Their record-breaking time is the fastest ascent of the route achieved by an all-female team. The previous record was set this week last year by Smith-Gobat and Chantel Astorga who tagged the summit with a time of 7:26. Prior to that ascent, the record was held by Jes Meiris and Quinn Brett with their June 2012 time of 10:19.

Notice a trend? The ladies are still shaving hours off the record time each year and if they keep it up, they'll be approaching the men's record of 2:23 set by Alex Honnold and Hans Florine in 2012. In an article with New Zealand's Otago Daily Times, Mayan laid out some ambitious goals for her fall season in the Valley, one of which was to break the Nose speed record, not just for women but overall. She's gunning for that 2:23 time and she took a step closer last week when she teamed up with Sean Leary to blaze up the Nose in 4:22, the fastest time by a female/male team.

She also stated that she'd be attempting a free ascent of The Nose as well as a one-day free ascent link-up of El Cap and Half Dome. Unfortunately, her plans have been set back while the US government sorts out its business. Yosemite National Park is closed due to the government shutdown so Mayan and everyone else planning to climb in the Park will have to go elsewhere.

On another note, word is out that Chris Sharma had planned to join the team of Tommy Caldwell, Jonathan Siegrist, and Kevin Jorgeson for their annual attempt to free El Cap's Dawn Wall. We'll see if that pans out as the fate of their mission also sits in the hands of the US Congress. The last time the government shutdown was in 1996 and it lasted for 23 days. If history is any indication, it could be the end of the month before El Cap is open for business.

Update: Tom Evans reports on the Elcap Report that on Oct 1, Mayan and Shawn teamed up again for a sprint up the Nose. He writes: "They passed 11 parties today!!  In spite of that they threw down a 3:30 pulverizing their own record by almost 45 minutes.  They started early and almost bailed at the slew of humanity in front of them!" Click the link to check out some photos. 

Mayan Smith-Gobat free-climbed El Cap's Salathe Wall in 2011. Click the image for video. 


Click the image for a great video of Mayan claiming the first female ascent of the world's first 5.14a, Punks in the Gym.