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Sibylle Hechtel

[Illustration] Andreas Schmidt

Full Value: Degringolade

In this Full Value story from Alpinist 56 Sibylle Hechtel recounts a pivotal moment in her climbing career–her first first-ascent, in Canada’s Bugaboos, 1973. She went on to become famous for the first all-female ascent of El Capitan with Beverly Johnson later that year, but her experience in the Bugs taught her “how to get up and back down” in the mountains.

Mitchell Peak (12,482'). [Photo] David Salisbury

My Big Scary First Ascent

Before she and Bev Johnson made the first female ascent of El Capitan, Sibylle Hechtel lead her first unclimbed big wall in the Wind Rivers: “Dick handed me our minimal gear, pointed,

and said, “Just head up that corner until you get to a good ledge, and set up a belay.’ I gulped.”


Sibylle Hechtel remembers Charlie Porter as the “burly, and utterly huggable” boyfriend of Bev Johnson, with whom Hechtel made the first all-female ascent of El Capitan. Her story continues our series on Porter’s life, as told by his friends and climbing partners.