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Apr 9, 2010
Me at work.
My question is...who do you think is/was the best all-around climber of all time? By "all-around", I mean through all mountaineering disciplines.

Then, who would you say is the best climber in each individual discipline?

The disciplines I'm aware of are:
-- Alpine Mountaineering (Alpanism)
-- Ski Mountaineering
-- Rock Climbing
-- Ice Climbing
-- Mixed Climbing

Are there more? Don't some people scale buildings? How about those people that do the 8,000 meter peaks? Would they be considered alpanists or just mountaineers in general?
spencerparkin
From Salt Lake City
Joined Sep 26, 2009
416 points
Apr 9, 2010
My kinda simian
There's been an awful lot of buzz about Chris Lindner crushing at Woodson lately. Ryan Kelly
From work.
Joined Oct 10, 2006
3,262 points
Apr 9, 2010
Cool movement on this line
Will Anglin wrote:
Tommy Caldwell The Nose Magic Mushroom Flex Luthor ..and he makes V13 look easy


+1
matthewWallace
From plymouth, nh
Joined Nov 20, 2008
8,109 points
Apr 9, 2010
Of the modern climbers, I'd say Dean Potter. He's done hard aid, hard free, hard free solos, mountains, hard bouldering and sport. Especially when you consider his other pursuits, he becomes king of the mountain.

  • **Go ahead and throw some tomatoes***

I should say that I haven't been around long enough to know all the greats and I'm sure there are plenty of Non-Americans crushing that we don't really know about. So, I'll just say Dean pops into my head first.

Evan
Evan1984
Joined Aug 15, 2007
77 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bellying on the Wedge.
alpinism....ill throw out Alex Lowe Ted Farley
From Bozeman, Mt
Joined Feb 19, 2010
17 points
Apr 9, 2010
Climbing at Frog Buttress
My vote would be for the sufferman... Mark Twight kachoong
From The Outback, Texas
Joined Jan 22, 2010
190 points
Apr 9, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!
Uli Steck has to be near the top for all arounder. Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
560 points
Apr 9, 2010
Me
I'll say:

Alpine = Steve House or Marko Prezelj
Rock = Tommy Caldwell (Hands Down)
Ice/Mixed = Will Gadd

Man, I must not have any love for all the old hats!?! (Shoulder Shug)
Aaron M
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 31, 2007
141 points
Apr 9, 2010
Profile Pic
Alex Honnold. In his short career climbing so far he has stunned the world with some crazy free solos and first ascents. He has the most talent of any climber out there and he also one of the youngest. W. Spaller
Joined Nov 8, 2007
114 points
Apr 9, 2010
Rapping from the top of Cat in the hat
Anyone who is actually out climbing instead of discussing it on the internet. Tyson Anderson
From SLC, UT
Joined May 14, 2007
125 points
Apr 9, 2010
Thats Me
Seriously no one has said Reinhold Messner yet?

First solo ascents of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen,(proving that, despite many warnings to the contrary, the human body can survive at these alititudes without supplemental oxygen)

First climber to ascend all fourteen "eight-thousanders" (peaks over 8,000 metres above sea level).

First ascent of The Rupal face of Nanga Parbat,

He is the author of at least 63 books, many of which have been translated into other languages.

This man changed the definition of what is possible at altitude.
clay meier
Joined Dec 24, 2008
359 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bouldering at right side of Sun Deck
The question was best all around climber - I guess as good a testing ground as any for that would be North Face, North Twin. That puts my man George Lowe right up there, along with Prezelj and House. I'd probably also include Uli and Jeff Lowe. If we're talking strictly rock, that's a whole new list, but these guys would probably be on it. YDPL8S
From Santa Monica, Ca.
Joined Aug 7, 2003
932 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bonatti...although some of the already mentioned modern climbers are good choices (Steve House and Tommy Caldwell are definitely up on the list for me). In my opinion, to be on the list they should be practitioners and developers of something revolutionary. Tommy Caldwell's big wall free climbing is revolutionary, as is House's alpine-style in the Greater Ranges. Dean Potter? Nah...B-grade climber who is good at drawing attention to himself. Tom Fralich
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Nov 12, 2006
62 points
Apr 9, 2010
Me
Oh, wait, I forgot. Isn't the best climber the one having the most fun? Aaron M
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 31, 2007
141 points
Apr 9, 2010
I am a neandertal.
Aaron M wrote:
Oh, wait, I forgot. Isn't the best climber the one having the most fun?


I have always found this saying to be ridiculous. It's crap like this that gives people excuses to not try hard, and allows them to be confortable with mediocrity.

Sorry...off topic I know, and I assume Aaron M is being sarcastic, but I can't help myself anytime I see this phrase.
Coeus
From a botched genetics experiment
Joined Apr 24, 2008
46 points
Apr 9, 2010
Coeus wrote:
I have always found this saying to be ridiculous. It's crap like this that gives people excuses to not try hard, and allows them to be confortable with mediocrity. Sorry...off topic I know, and I assume Aaron M is being sarcastic, but I can't help myself anytime I see this phrase.



Crazy talk! Apparently with this logic great climbers don't have any fun. I see where you are going but, it just doesn't hold up. Take to climbers that are the best. One's a little bitch about failing, and get's all butt hurt, and pissed. And the other takes it in stride and just enjoys the moment. Both equal talent! Who then would be the best. Well my vote goes to the guy having the most fun. If it is about being the best and nothing more, than your missing something.
Ian F.
From Phx
Joined Dec 11, 2007
89 points
Apr 9, 2010
Probably not American...

Its surprising that climbers like Alexander Huber and Voytek Kurtyka haven't been mentioned and Dean Porter/Alex Honhold have...
Eric8
From Framingham
Joined Nov 2, 2007
293 points
Apr 9, 2010
Me
Eric8 wrote:
Probably not American... Its surprising that climbers like Alexander Huber and Voytek Kurtyka haven't been mentioned and Dean Porter/Alex Honhold have...


For the record, I have both a Canadian and Slovenian in mine! :-)
Aaron M
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 31, 2007
141 points
Apr 9, 2010
I am a neandertal.
Ian F. wrote:
Crazy talk! Apparently with this logic great climbers don't have any fun. I see where you are going but, it just doesn't hold up. Take to climbers that are the best. One's a little bitch about failing, and get's all butt hurt, and pissed. And the other takes it in stride and just enjoys the moment. Both equal talent! Who then would be the best. Well my vote goes to the guy having the most fun. If it is about being the best and nothing more, than your missing something.


Not really my point, I am just commenting that some people try to say that being successful at climbing is about how much fun you are having, not if you actually succeed at climbing. My point really is, things worth having (sending routes) is often hard work and is not always fun, yet if you perservere you get a reward greater than fun. Don't get me wrong, I am getting ready to go climbing this afternoon with my girlfriend simply to go have fun, but my addiction to climbing comes from achievement of goals.

There is a reason that most high profile athletes mention "sacrifice" as part of what it takes to be where they are, not "fun".

I think those at the top of any game recognize this concept, ask most successful athletes if they are having fun all the time while practicing their craft. I would bet most of them would tell you that they love their sport, but are not always having fun putting in the hard work it takes to be good at something.
Coeus
From a botched genetics experiment
Joined Apr 24, 2008
46 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bocan
Coeus wrote:
I have always found this saying to be ridiculous. It's crap like this that gives people excuses to not try hard, and allows them to be confortable with mediocrity. Sorry...off topic I know, and I assume Aaron M is being sarcastic, but I can't help myself anytime I see this phrase.


Maybe, but isn't it also an attempt to re-ground ourselves from all the seriousness that has become climbing? Where everyone is just grade chasing and not having fun? Ya you might climb 5.13, but it's tough to put down the 5.4 advanced top roper with the sh*teating grin.

I like to remember Alex's words when I get down on myself for failures or get overly serious. If you aren't enjoying yourself at least somewhat at LEAST over beers afterwards, what's the point? Blogging on 8a.nu??? Hell, if one of the best climbers in the world could say that while smiling, sounds like an ok mantra to me!
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
927 points
Apr 9, 2010
Okay so back on topic -

Best climber? Accounting for variety of disiplines, and aility to excell in each it's a hard call.

Historically, Messner was hands down (Taking Era into Account), the best. His early Rock Climbing, Soloing, etc was way out there for the time. He later applied those tactics and thoughts to the Alpine world, turning climbing on it's head.

But now, it's hard because there are so many that are great. With Alpine being the key, as it is where the real commitment and balls come into play. All other skills are weak sauce if you don't have the mind and balls to take it into the hills.

Steve House, I guess? ............................F-it to hard. No one has topped Messner yet. No one has excelled so much at each disipline, at one time.

You would have to combine Steve House, Tom Caldwell, Dean Potter, and maybe that scottish/english (McCloed or something) together to get a modern climber that is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest, to match what Messner did in his day.

So, Messner it is.

Ian F.
From Phx
Joined Dec 11, 2007
89 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bocan
Coeus wrote:
I am just commenting that some people try to say that being successful at climbing is about how much fun you are having, not if you actually succeed at climbing.


Now that this thread is hijacked, what does this mean? So if only climbed a mediocre 5.7, then I'm not successful? NOTE - I did clip the next sentence, taking about hard work and rewards..I totally agree with that, BUT climbing success has nothing to do with a 8a.nu scorecard.

To each there own, but I remember the friends, the environment, teaching others, the learning. THAT makes me successful.

Shoot, as I'll probably never climb that hard anyways, it'd be a bummer to think that hard climbing equates with success.

(I realize you are also emphasizing hard work)
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
927 points
Apr 9, 2010
Me at work.
Tyson Anderson wrote:
Anyone who is actually out climbing instead of discussing it on the internet.


Unfortunately we can't always be out climbing. I work in-doors for a living.
spencerparkin
From Salt Lake City
Joined Sep 26, 2009
416 points
Apr 9, 2010
Coeus wrote:
Not really my point, I am just commenting that some people try to say that being successful at climbing is about how much fun you are having, not if you actually succeed at climbing. My point really is, things worth having (sending routes) is often hard work and is not always fun, yet if you perservere you get a reward greater than fun. Don't get me wrong, I am getting ready to go climbing this afternoon with my girlfriend simply to go have fun, but my addiction to climbing comes from achievement of goals. There is a reason that most high profile athletes mention "sacrifice" as part of what it takes to be where they are, not "fun". I think those at the top of any game recognize this concept, ask most successful athletes if they are having fun all the time while practicing their craft. I would bet most of them would tell you that they love their sport, but are not always having fun putting in the hard work it takes to be good at something.


I completely agree. Saying the "best" climber is the one having the most fun is a gross distortion of what "best" means. Climbers of equal ability have equal ability regardless of how whiny one of them is. Pissing and moaning about everything and everyone in sight doesn't make you a bad climber it makes you a PITA to be around.
Arnold Braker
From golden, co
Joined Jun 28, 2007
289 points
Apr 9, 2010
I concur. I think you can see it in every climber. you start out just having fun, as your having fun you tend to get stronger, then at some point you work on becoming your strongest. You try real hard and break new ground personally, and have a blast doing it. Then you plataue. Question what all this hard work is for, is it relevant, do you train harder to get your satisfaction, etc. I think at this point, as seen in many climbers, they realize they lost the fun, and focus on the fun again. This may lead you to 5.7 or to 5.15. But the hard work becomes 2nd to fun from this point. Ian F.
From Phx
Joined Dec 11, 2007
89 points
Apr 9, 2010
Bocan
Maybe the title of the tread should be "climber with best ability".

Ok, ok I'm just arguing semantics, but hell...it's 3:00 on a Friday and I'm still at work!!!
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
927 points


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