Mayan Smith-Gobat of New Zealand and Libby Sauter of the U.S. broke the female team speed record on the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Sunday, September 29. The women managed to shave nearly 2 hours off of the previous record of 7 hours and 26 minutes which was set last fall by Smith-Gobat and Chantel Astorga. This year, Smith-Gobat and Sauter climbed the 3,200-foot granite monolith in 5 hours and 39 minutes.
"In rock climbing, women are close to men, if you look solely at pure difficulty, but rarely do they compete on the same level as the guys," Smith-Gobat told The New Zealand Herald. "I want to show that we women are just as capable, on any terrain."
Smith-Gobat also managed another record the previous week, Hans Florine told Rock and Ice, by climbing the Nose faster than any female ever, when she teamed up with Yosemite veteran Sean Leary for a 3-hour and 30-minute blitz up the formation. Her next goal, she told The New Zealand Herald, is to become the first women to free-climb a link-up of both El Cap and the 2,400-foot and Half Dome in under 24 hours.
Smith-Gobat made headlines in October 2011 when she free-climbed El Cap via the Salathe Wall (VI 5.13b). Her ultimate goal, however, is to break the speed climbing record for both men and women. The current record stands at 2:23.46 and was set by Alex Honnold and Hans Florine on July 17, 2012.
Check out this video of Mayan Smith-Gobat free climbing on the Salathe headwall.
Mayan Smith-Gobat climbing the Salathe Headwall from Andy Bardon on Vimeo.