Free Ascent of El Capitan’s Second Hardest Route
Magic Mushroom was first aided by Canadians in the 1970s, it's now one of America's hardest big wall free climbs
Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher claimed the coveted second ascent of Magic Mushroom VI 5.14a, El Capitan’s second hardest route, back in 2017. The first ascent was by Tommy Caldwell and Justin Sjong in 2008. Caldwell returned later that year climbed it in 24 hours with Beth Rodden assisting.
“I looked at the topo of this climb for a couple of years, but I didn’t really know what it looked like in reality,” said Larcher. “I expected a lot of hard climbing, but not so many five-star pitches in a row: what a beauty. We had to invest a lot of energy in this one. We had to clean a lot of pitches, figure out how to climb all those crazy corners, haul a lot of gear and spend a lot of days on the wall. At the beginning we were just contemplating those pitches, wondering how it could even be possible to climb them. We had to be really creative and use every single part of our body to work our way up those corners.”
Magic Mushroom was first climbed by Canadians Hugh Burton and Steve Sutton of the Squamish hardcore crew. Their VI 5.7 A3 was one of the hardest climbs up El Cap in 1973. Read more about Canadians visiting Yosemite in the 1970s here.