This past November, Barbara “Babsi” Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher went to battle on one of El Cap’s most formidable free routes.
With some of the hardest climbing in the Yosemite Valley crammed into 16-pitches, the Zodiac VI 5.13d had only seen two previous ascents, Thomas Huber in 2003 and Tommy Caldwell shortly after.
In 2015, Zangerl and Larcher sent El Nino VI 5.13c A0 up El Cap. When asked why they chose Zodiac, Zangerl said, “We knew that it is always really crowded at this time of the year in Yosemite, so we just decided to try Zodiac. Of course we knew that many climbers have already tried this one.
“It was just an amazing route with great-looking pitches that we wanted to try without any expectations.”
Zangerl and Larcher are both from South Tyrol, Italy, and have made a number of big ascents together and apart. In 2013, Zangerl became the first woman to climb the Alpine Trilogy: Des Kaisers Neue Kleider 5.14a, Silbergeier 5.14a and End of Silence 5.13d/14a.
Larcher had climbed a number of 5.14+ sport routes and 5.14 trad line, including a rare send of Rhapsody E11 7a in Scotland.