Mountain Project Logo

Ask a Badass: Babsi Zangerl

Original Post
Shannon Davis · · Lyons, CO · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 140

Hi All,

In partnership with Black Diamond, we'll be bringing a few of their athletes over to "hang out" in our forum and answer your questions this fall. First up is Babsi Zangerl, an Austrian climber and total bone crusher who recently freed the Zodiac (5.13c) on El Cap with partner Jacopo Larcher.  

The process for Ask A Badass (AAB) is a little unique so please listen close. Add your question for Babsi here in this forum thread. Ask whatever you'd like to know about her life as a climber: exploits and goals, training, favorite areas, travel tips, her favorite type of Italian cheese, what have you.... I'll close the forum at 5pm MT this friday (9/8), then Babsi will scan the questions, choose several to answer, and award some hand-selected BD swag to her three favorite participants early next week. 

We've done a few versions of these in the past (see here), and it's a fun way to interact and learn from a few of climbing's most badass folks. In following months, we'll have Alex Honnold, Adam Ondra, and Hazel Findlay. 

Add your fun and insightful questions for Babsi here now!

Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 48

Hey Babsi, since making the third free ascent of Zodiac, are there any other classic aid lines you would want to get the First Free Ascent on?

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 183

Hey Babsi,

Congrats on Zodiac! I'm curious about your opinion on recording FFAs (first female ascents). Do you think that it takes away from the accomplishments of female climbers at all (for instance, referring to something as a first female ascent rather than a second ascent, which is arguably just as impressive)? Is there value in using it to encourage women or young girls who are just getting into climbing? Do you think that when we get to the point in the sport where women get as many first ascents as men that the term will begin to disappear?

Thanks! -Gavin

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

As a true badass, you get to have great photographers around.

What are your all time favorite photos? Or, are the snapshots you or your partners take more meaningful?

I'm a newish climber (started at 57), but an old lady (60). None the less, I still hope to have one great climbing photo before I croak! Gotta get some part or other vaguely ripped though.... :-/

Best, OLH

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100


    Were you a competitive sport climber before venturing to the outside ? 

Are you assigned a certain project (by a sponsor) or do you get to choose one you believe you can free ?

Congrats on Zodiac 


Maxime Jacques · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 3
  • When it comes to pushing yourself within climbing, what motivating factors  (climbing or life) keep you coming back to work hard, and set new standards for yourself. 
Barbara Zangerl · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Everyone! Psyched to be here and answer your questions!!!! Thanks in advance for all of your thought-provoking questions! I'm looking forward to this!

Dan Rudolph · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 0

Hey Babsi,

Thanks so much for doing this. I just read that in 2009 you suffered a herniated disc. Did you sustain that injury climbing or was it just some spontaneous bending over to pick up a piece of paper nonsense? In the months that followed, did you stay focused on your climbing goals or did you think, "now is when I become a pastry chef"? Eventually, you came back even stronger, so what was your rehabilitation processes like? Is that when you started climbing trad? Finally, what advice do you have for a climber in overcoming an injury?

Thanks again!

BigNobody · · all over, mostly Utah · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 10

Hi Barbara,

Two part question: 

1)Where is your favorite place to climb?

2) What is your favorite route?


llanSan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 130

Hi Babsi, Cute name is like Babe but with a unique touch.

Can you describe your training methods (time spent, periodicity, excersises, complements, etc.), and when you train what is your favortie part, the least favorite and somthing you realize was very helpfull or unique (like your name) to improve?.


Fan Zhang · · Washington, DC · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 793

Hi Babsi! What's your favorite salty/savory food for the backcountry and alpine objectives? In general, what is your nutrition strategy for fueling your adventures? I've been backpacking for a few years now and recently started getting into alpine climbing. I always end up bringing too much food, which weighs down my pack and slows me down on the approach hike. Do you have suggestions for how to strike the right balance between going light and staying well fed? And finally, of course, what's your favorite cheese to eat while climbing??? Is it practical to bring soft cheeses, or do you stay with hard cheeses on climbing trips? Thanks!

ALEXAOUTDOOR Alexa smit · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

Babsi is indeed a nice and unique name,

I´m a girl in my 34´s that started climbing two years ago. I´m a natural athlete so have alway been good in sports an can improve fast (Mountain biking (MTB), Running, Basketball, swimming, Rugby, Kayaking) so i´m also improving fast in climbing (despite the age) but the problem i see is that you have to invest too much time in climbing to be better . At least more compared to other sports I practice. For example: I can stop MTB but going to a gym will keep me fit so if i start MTB again i wont feel the impact of stoping as hard as you feel it in climbing. Same with team sport (aside that you depend on others) my skills and achivements wont drop to much compared to climbing. 

But it doesn't matter if i do hundreds of abs, run, or train hard. if im not climbing i don't improve (don´t even stay in the level). So here is my question that has me in a Dilemma because I fell in love with climbing but I have other loves and i don´t want to give them up.

If you weren't climbing, which other sport would you be doing? and if you like other sports do you feel like achieving to climb at your level has made you sacrifice other activities? have you gotten the feeling of having to choose between two paths knowing that the one you choose will lead you far from where the other ends?

- Alexa-

Nick Thomas · · Fargo, ND · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

Hi Babsi,

Do you think that your background as a serious boulderer helped a lot when you transitioned to more big trad routes?  How did your training change during that transition?

What aspects did it not help with?

What is the scariest moment you've had while climbing?


grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Hello babsi, will you please discuss your thoughts on the significance of the FFA? Thanks!

grego · · SLC, Utah · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 145

Hey Babsi,

I'm interested in the topic of performance-enhancing drugs in climbing.  Do you know of, or have you heard of, climbers using substances like testosterone, human growth hormone, steroids, etc. to enhance their climbing performance? (No need to name names!)  Many climbers say, "No, that would not benefit climbers.  You'd gain too much bulk and your soft-tissue would still be the weak link," but I don't think that's necessarily true.  Only certain substances add bulk, and some substances could aid in soft-tissue recovery.  I'm wondering if the Olympics is going to reveal that some climbers have been doping.  

Just a curiosity.

George Bieker · · Fayetteville, Arkansas · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 20


     What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a professional climber? I am transitioning to full-time mountain guiding and would love to hear your perspective on the matter.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

Hi Babsi can you discuss the mental aspects of your training that you developed after your herniated disc? How do you transition between various disciplines? I find that when I am pushing my sport climbing game, my trad lead head suffers and when I am focused on trad climbing, I lose some of the "go for it" I have when sport climbing. 

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 1,065

Hi Babsi!

Now that Donald Trump has been elected, what is your perception of the U.S. when you spend time traveling around here these days?

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95

Babsi - forget all those other questions. New York style or Chicago deep dish pizza? Which is the true pizza and which is heretical garbage?

Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

is it difficult to climb in Yos now that it is either super-hot or on fire?

Stan McKnight · · Scottsdale, AZ · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 263

Which section of the zodiac did you have the most fun on climbing free? How about the scariest? The most challenging?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Ask a Badass: Babsi Zangerl "
in the General Climbing

Log In to Reply