Libby Sauter – Professional rock climber from the USA

Hello, could you please introduce yourself ?

My name is Libby and I am from the south west of the United States of America.

Libby Sauter - Hiking in the Corsican moutains
Hiking in the Corsican moutains

Have you ever gone for a hike ?

I am a professional rock climber so I have spent a lot of my adult life hiking to get to the bottom of rock climbs but I have never tried something in this style that didn’t include rock climbing !

Concerning about hiking in USA, could you advise some hikes to our readers ?

The US is full of amazing, long hikes like the GR20 (but without the support of refuges). I think the John Muir Trail of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is spectacular !

What about the GR20 : when did you go there ? Which way ? Which start and finish stage ?

My female friend and I hiked / ran the GR20 from July 10-July to 14-July 2017. We went from Calenzana to Conca in the North to South direction.

Libby Sauter - Professional rock climber from USA and her partner
Libby Sauter – Professional rock climber from USA and her partner

What was the context for hiking the GR20 ? How did you prepare yourself to this target ?

I relied on my base fitness for the hike. I work in an unstable Middle Eastern country / city where I can’t leave the hospital so aside from laps up the hospital stairs, I did squats and lunges in my room. It is amazing what you can do with a light pack, caffeine and determination !

What equipment did you bring ?

My partner and I each brought enough gear to be self sufficient with the exception of dinner.

We each had a 18L backpack (with 2.5 L water carrying capacity) that had a neo air thermarest sleeping pad, and a Patagonia alpine sleeping bag. No tent.

I ran in a longsleeve thin wool shirt and running skirt and at night would wear tights and a clean t-shirt. I had one lightweight synthetic puffy jacket and a lightweight rain/wind jacket. I had 3 pairs of socks and one light pair of flip flops.

For food, we had oatmeal and Trail Butter nut butter spread for the mornings. During the day was a mix of bars, caffeinated gels, gummies, nuts, dried fruit, Half Pops popcorn and M&M’s. We ate dinner at the huts.

What are your positives feedbacks ?

It is a beautiful, wild trail that we were pleased to complete on our crazy tight schedule !!

Negatives feedbacks ?

We got a lot of unsolicited advice from well meaning older men on the trail cautioning us about upcoming sections or telling us what we needed to do in the technical sections. By the end of day 5, it felt less like helpful advice and more like they doubted our ability. Please offer advice only when asked !

Your favourite feedback ?

Favorite feedback – if a sweet little brown dog follows you from Usciolu, just let him come with you.

libby sauter meets a dog on the gr20 way
Libby meets a dog on the GR20 way

The folks at the other huts will take care of him !

Which was your favorite stage, and your favorite shelter ?

My favorite stage was likely from Manganu to Petra Piana. As a rock climber, I enjoyed the technical sections and the beauty of the alpine lake in the early AM sun !

Lilly Sauter fall down GR20 hike in Corsica
Lilly falls down – GR20 hike in Corsica

It was may favorite even though I fell in the boulder field and split my lips open badly leaving blood all over ! Sorry !

libby sauter gr20 hike corsica
Libby Sauter – GR20

The refuge at Usciolu was our favorite as the staff were super friendly and the location was very beautiful !

If you should do again this hike, what would you change ?

If I were to do it again, I would go for 6 or 7 days. I think it is the optimal time for a good physical challenge but still casual enough to get to enjoy some swim holes and more beautiful refuges !

Which advices could you give to people whom are thinking to go for a GR20’s hike ?

Just go for it ! And keep your packs light ! Our packs weighed around 7 kg and we had everything we needed and then some !

Would you like to suggest something else ?

Again, keep those packs light ! It makes the technical sections easier, the steep hills go by faster and the body much more happy !

Thank you Libby for your feedback !

If you wish to follow and learn more about Libby and her climbing professional activity, join her on her Wikipedia page, Instagram and Addidas outdoor page.

Libby Sauter's partner hiking
Libby Sauter’s partner hiking

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