Don's Home Recreation Rock Climbing Famous Climbers
I'm a beginning intermediate climber having climbed off and on with friends and family. Here are some famous climbers my son (who's a good climber) and I thought of off the top of our heads.
If you want the real story on who's who, hang out at Camp 4 in Yosemite some summer.

  • John Bachar Established routes in Joshua Tree NP and Yosemite. A fitness nut he was able to perform a two-finger pull-up with 12.5 lbs of weight in his other hand. He died in a free solo accident at Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes in 2009 at the age of 52.
  • Chris Bonington - Mountaineer and rock climber
  • Katie Brown did a Citi card commerical in 2012 with Alex Hannold on Ancient Art (5.8) near Moab, UT.
  • Tommy Caldwell - Accomplished in several types of climbing, including sport climbing, hard traditional climbing, big-wall speed climbing and big-wall free climbing. In 2005, he and Beth Rodden (swapping leads) made the third and fourth free ascents of the Nose on El Capitan.
  • Yvon Chouinard (1938-)
    Rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman.
    Great Pacific Iron Works - Chouinard and Tom Frost "piton engineer", designed and manufactured climbing equipment, inventing the RURP (Realized Ultimate Reality Piton) and Hexentric, for which they received a patent, plus many other equipment innovations.
    Their Catalogues were guidebooks for climbing equipment. I have one of his illustrations in my ropes page..
    Patagonia - An environmentally responsible, sustainable outdoor clothing company.-
  • Peter Croft (1958-)- Career includes big routes in Yosemite National Park, Squamish, British Columbia as well as the High Sierra. Wrote several books, the latest "The Good, the Great, and the Awesome: The Top 40 High Sierra Rock Climbs. "
    Also "Trad Climber's Bible (How To Climb Series)"
  • Steph Davis - In 2003, Davis became the second woman to free climb El Capitan in one day.
  • Tom Frost - Rock and Ice climber, photographer, "piton engineer", first ascent of Kangtega in the Himalaya with Edmond Hillary.
    2nd climb of The Nose in 7 days of continuous climbing with Robbins, Fischen and Pratt in 1960.
  • Lynn Hill (1961-)- A top sport climber of the 1980s; famous for making the first free ascent of the Nose Route on El Capitan.
  • Warren Harding (1924-2002), One of the most accomplished and influential American rock climbers of the 1950s to 1970s. First ascent of The Nose (aid) on El Capitan in 1958 in 45 days using siege climbing. Harding authored the book Downward Bound: A Mad! Guide to Rock Climbing. The book contains a description of the ascent of the Nose and the Wall of Early Morning Light (1970) as well as farcical instruction in climbing basics.
  • Alex Honnold (1985-)Sacramento climber famous for his free soloing (without protection) exploits on 60 minutes, where he climbed the Chouinard-Herbert route (V 5.11+, 15 pitches) on Sentinel Rock in Yosemite.
    He and Hans Florine set the record for the Nose (on El Capitan) with a climb time of 2:23:51 in 2012

    In 2018 Jimmy Chin's Free Solo, a Nat Geo Movie - Got an oscar for best documentary. Alex Honnold free Solos El Cap. He went up a Freerider (5.12d), with a few variations in 3 hours, 56 minutes.

    Filming mountain climber Alex Honnold - 60 Minutes Overtime - CBS News, 2012
    His "Alone On The Wall" & First Ascent: The Series is available on DVD
    It includes his solo ascents of the Regular Northwest Face (5.12a) of Half Dome.
    Alex Honnold has also
    free soloed The Phoenix (5.13a) in Yosemite National Park.
    Alone on the Wall

  • John Long - First one-day ascent of the most sought after rock climb in the world, the 3,000 foot Nose route on El Capitan, on Memorial Day, 1975, with Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay.
    Long's 1973 ascent of Paisano Overhang (5.12c) at Suicide Rock in Southern California, help firmly establish the class 5.12 and was then likely the most technically difficult free climb in the world.
    Long has over forty titles varying from Pale Moon: American Indian Folklore and Legends, to short-form literary fiction anthologies, to photos/narrative books on beach culture and big wave surfing. His how-to books on adventure sports have been industry leaders for twenty years.
  • Dave MacLeod , Scottish Climber - In April 2006 he established the climb Rhapsody on Dumbarton Rock, NW of Glasgow which, at a grade of E11 7a, was possibly the hardest traditional climbing route in the world at the time. His film E11, on DVD and Download
  • Peter Mayfield - Former chief guide for the Yosemite Mountaineering School for seven years and competitive climber. Pioneered first ascents on El Capitan and Half dome in the '80's. Founder and General Partner of CityRock Gym in Colorado Springs, the first large urban climbing gym. He now runs the Gateway Mountain Center, which he founded, out of Truckee, CA.
  • Dean Potter - Free climber, alpinist, BASE jumper, BASEliner, and highliner who grew up in New Hampshire. He is noted for hard first ascents, free solo ascents, speed ascents, and enchainments (linked routes) in Yosemite and Patagonia.
  • Chuck Pratt (1939-2000) - First continuous climb of the nose with Robbins, Fischen and Frost in 1960.
    Pratt died of a heart attack in his sleep in Sang Khom, Thailand.
  • Royal Robbins (1935-2017)
    One of the greatest climbers of Yosemite's golden years.
    In 1957 he put up the first grade VI climb in America, the Northwest Face of Half Dome, with Mike Sherrick and Jerry Gallwas. Four years later, with Tom Frost and Chuck Pratt, Robbins made the first ascent of the Salathe Wall on El Capitan, considered the hardest big wall grade VI climb in world at time.
    His 1971 book "Basic Rockcraft", is a classic.
  • Beth Rodden - Started at the Rocknasium in Davis, CA. She was the youngest woman to climb 5.14a.
    In 2005, she and Tommy Caldwell (swapping leads) made the third and fourth free ascents of the Nose on El Capitan.
  • Steve Roper (1941-)
  • Galen Rowell (1940-2002) - A wilderness photographer, adventure photojounalist and climber. Died in a plane crash with a pilot inexperienced in the plane he was flying at night.
  • Chris Sharma - Santa Cruz, CA - In July 2001, Sharma completed the extension of the established route Biographie in Ceuse, located in the Hautes-Alpes Department of France and renamed it Realization. At the time of the first ascent, Biographie was widely considered to be the first consensus 5.15a (9a+) in the world.
Video: Yosemite’s Climbing Pioneers Recall Venturing Up the Big Walls – Beyond the Edge

List of climbers, alpinists and mountaineers - Wikipedia
Rock Climbing in Yosemite

History of rock climbing - Wikipedia

last updated 12 Apr 2017