CAMP USA is proud to have bigwall ace Libby Sauter join our athlete team. Libby is a formerYOSAR member and trauma nurse who has recently been setting (and re-setting) records in Yosemite, teaming up with other strong female climbers on El Capitan. We caught up with Libby to learn a little more about her. Libby, now 30, was born and grew up in Las Vegas, but didn’t start climbing until she was in her early 20s. She had made a few early forays while in middle school, but despite living next door to Red Rocks, it wasn’t until after graduating from college in California that she began climbing regularly. When we tried to get her list of favorite routes and climbs, she was loyal to the place where she has done most of her climbing. “I’m a Yosemite lady through and through,” she told us, “I’ve climbed all over the world, but I’m home in Yosemite. Boring standard answer – I love El Cap and Half Dome!”
What motivates you or draws you into your sub discipline of climbing, which is climbing big walls faster than just about anyone? What parts of climbing have you tried and disliked?
I don’t know why the habit began, but on my first El Cap route (Zodiac) I started timing my leads. It was so satisfying to go faster with each pitch. And it took off from there. When I learned what the female speed record on the Nose was, a five year obsession began! I love big long routes, when the easiest way out is up. Ive bouldered a bit and know that it would be great for my climbing, but I cant get past the fact that every fall is a ground fall. ::shudder::
Does your work as a nurse in highly stressful situations complement your climbing? Make you better at some aspect of climbing? Or is climbing an escape from work?
Working as a nurse in developing countries certainly requires similar skill sets to climbing. Stress management, clear and good decision making in less than ideal conditions, the ability to stay up and think when you are realllllyyyy tired etc. But the pediatric cardiac nursing I do is immeasurably more stressful than climbing so yes, climbing is my way to relax.
If you could give any training / improving / climbing advice to yourself 5 yrs ago, what would it be?
Oh man. If 5 year ago Libby could see me today – she’d be beyond excited. “It only gets better!”
Libby (left) and teammate Mayan Smith-Gobat atop El Cap
Are you willing to share any plans/goals for the next year?
Next year some lady friends and I are looking past the Nose (gasp!) and at harder aid routes to push a la Ammon/Ivo/Allfrey/Detray
If you could only eat one breakfast for the rest of your life (you eat the same thing every day, so one breakfast “order”) what would it be? Be specific.
One meal forever and ever? My worst nightmare. I really struggle to eat well and maintain a good appetite but I guess yogurt french toast with fruit and a buttered english muffin might do the trick…yummmmm.