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Best Climber
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By Aaron M
From Westminster, CO
Apr 9, 2010
Me

Ian F. wrote:
Okay so back on topic - Best climber? Accounting for variety of disciplines, and alt to excel 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 discipline, 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.


Messner was absolutely awesome, but most of what he did was totally change climbing. He was a visionary and great all around climber, no question!

But...could he redpoint 5.13? Probably not, Steve House can.
Steve could obviously free solo Everest without O2. But the first assent in that style will always be Messner's.

I don't mean this to be a Steve House love fest, this is just why I chose him.

I don't think that there is much room to "change" climbing anymore. So, Messner will go down in history as a great and rightly so! You can only excel at whatever discipline that you enjoy. The pro-climbers out there have become to specialized. Could Sharma climb the Rupal face, no. Just like Steve House couldn't climb Jumbo Love.


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Apr 9, 2010

Aaron M wrote:
Messner was absolutely awesome, but most of what he did was totally change climbing. He was a visionary and great all around climber, no question! But...could he redpoint 5.13? Probably not, Steve House can. Steve could obviously free solo Everest without O2. But the first assent in that style will always be Messner's. I don't mean this to be a Steve House love fest, this is just why I chose him. I don't think that there is much room to "change" climbing anymore. So, Messner will go down in history as a great and rightly so! You can only excel at whatever discipline that you enjoy. The pro-climbers out there have become to specialized. Could Sharma climb the Rupal face, no. Just like Steve House couldn't climb Jumbo Love.



Yeah that was kinda my point. But looking at it as a reference of all round climber. And I think you have to take time into consideration as well. With what we have now, things are vastly differnt, safer so to speak. To be the best all round climber, you would have to excell, above and beyond all the rest in each disipline. This hasn't existed since Messner. Thus Messner has the "Babe Ruth" home run record of climbing, still waiting to be beat.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2010
Bocan

Perhaps not the best, but I vote for Henry Barber, Gill and Jeff Lowe. Old school name dropping...

As pointed out above there are so many different elements that go into this. What about the old school climbers that were doing things that "weren't possible". Chris Sharma knows the impossible is possible, but Underhill, Fritz, Robbins...nobody KNEW if that stuff could be pulled off.

Astronauts man...astronauts.


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By Nikolai Daiss-Fechner
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2010
Bouldering at Bishop

Dave Macleod
5.14+ r/x trad
14c/d sport
Hard Bouldering
Hard Ice
Hard Mixed
All that Scottish mountain(hill)eering in nasty winter conditions.

I guess just the high altitude stuff is missing...unless I am remembering incorrectly


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 9, 2010

I don't think any other climber dominates their home country as thoroughly as Dave Macleod dominates Scottish climbing. He is (or at least at one point was...my knowledge may be out of date) his country's hardest trad route, hardest sport route, hardest boulder problem, and hardest mixed route. This not only requires a high level of skill. but it also takes some extraordinary dedication considering the uncooperative nature of Scottish weather and conditions. Very impressive.

Stateside, I might put in a vote for Tommy Caldwell as the most well-rounded performer on rock-- very high end sport, trad, and bouldering.

If you want to include ice/mixed/alpine, someone like Josh Wharton should be considered. Although he may not climb on rock at the same level as some specialists, he does show an ability to perform on the full range of mediums, form Rifle to the Black to Ouray mixed to greater ranges alpinism to bouldering.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Apr 9, 2010
OMG, I winz!!!

Isn't this just an excuse to google sweet climbers we haven't heard of?

Historically I'd have to put Bonatti and Messner right up there though compared to "modern" grades the climbing hadn't quite progressed to the level it has now. No doubt they were both hardmen.

All 3 Lowes were damn bad asses.

Macleod for sure. Alex Huber for sure.

But we'll never agree which is part of why climbing is so awesome. There isn't a home run record to juice and break. Big improvements are from creativity and visionary thinking.


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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Apr 9, 2010
Profiley Styley

Top of their game, but hard to call a winner:

1. Ueli Steck
2. Dave Macleod
3. Stevie Haston


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By JML
Apr 9, 2010

Me


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Apr 9, 2010

good call on Ueli Steck. He is a beast in some many disciplines.


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By Pat C
From Honolulu
Apr 9, 2010
me

Jeremy McGrath. The king of supercross!


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By JML
Apr 9, 2010

Speaking of Jeremy, I saw he is racing 4x4's now and doing very well.


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By toddgordon
From Joshua Tree, California
Apr 9, 2010

C'mon;....everyone KNOWS it's Kevin Thaw.......rock, boulder, ice, alpine, 8000m, aid ,........it's Kevin Thaw...


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By Chris D
From the couch
Apr 10, 2010
Sign near the Third Flatiron

The title of this thread should be "Your Favorite Climber"

"Best" is subjective, pure and simple. Nothing but fodder for eternal arguments.

Now that that's all cleared up;

Lionel Terray.

I'd say Messner, except that Messner obsesses too much about his critics.


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By Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Apr 12, 2010
Edge of Time, Jurassic Park

My purely subjective and biased Best AND favorite climber: My dad, Vern Twombly. Climbed the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak area in the 1940'sand 50's. This is the picture of my dad climbing the North Ridge of Kindergarten (Grey) Rock in 1945. They were just starting to get army surplus gear. He says they couldnt get carabiners, so they used saddle cinch rings and pieces of rope as slings. They tied into the rope through a stack of cinch rings, climbed with the rope over their shoulder, taking the cinch ring/slings over their shoulder one at a time to loop on any available rock projections to protect the climb. He is credited in the guidebooks with the Boucher-Twombly route on North Gateway and the North Chimney on North Gateway, but did many more routes they didnt record and didnt receive credit for (like this route). You can see the Mesa in the background without any houses on it. He also did many routes up in the Cirque and other crags on Pikes Peak. He's in his eighties now. His most recent injury (in his mid 70's) was a shattered elbow (requiring pins, plates and screws) from snagging his front wheel on a hedge top jumping his mountain bike between parking lots.



Vern Twombly, N Ridge Kindergarten, Garden of the Gods 1945
Vern Twombly, N Ridge Kindergarten, Garden of the Gods 1945


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By Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Apr 12, 2010
Edge of Time, Jurassic Park

I forgot to mention the picture was taken by his long time climbing partner, co-author of the Boucher-Twombly route over the Kissing Camels on North Gateway rock in the Garden of the Gods, Boulder resident Stanley Boucher. Dad forged is first ice axe and made his own pins, among many other cool and fantastic achievements.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Apr 12, 2010
You stay away from mah pig!

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...


It's surprising that I was able to comprehend your statement with all its spelling mistakes.


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By Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Apr 12, 2010
Edge of Time, Jurassic Park

As a brief explanation/justification, when Vern Twombly was putting up his new routes, he had no guidebooks, no climbing shoes, no single purpose climbing ropes, no nuts, cams, and only the few pins he forged by hand. Most climbs were multi pitch, seldom had good belay anchors and sometimes no belay anchors. The routes were not cleaned, and the outcome always in doubt.

In modern terms they were tandem onsite unprotected roped soloing in leather soled street shoes on loose and sandy rock.

I think about that when I'm freaked out on a sport route when the bolt is below my feet.



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By Bud Martin
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 15, 2010

Ted Farley wrote:
alpinism....ill throw out Alex Lowe

Seconded


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By PRRose
From Boulder
Apr 15, 2010

Jim Ebert, of course.


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By peachy spohn
Apr 15, 2010

Alex Huber...Messner...Dave Macleod (I think that you have to take all climbing abilities together)...and don't forget that Messner pushed rock limits before he lost his toes.


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