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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.
Ian F.
From Phx
Joined Dec 11, 2007
89 points
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.
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
952 points
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
Nikolai Daiss-Fechner
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jan 25, 2005
10 points
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 He is (or at least at one point was...my knowledge may be out of date) his country's hardest trad route, hardest sport route, hardest boulder problem, and hardest mixed route.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.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
34 points
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.
Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Joined Oct 18, 2007
560 points
Apr 9, 2010
Profiley Styley
Top of their game, but hard to call a winner:

1. Ueli Steck
2. Dave Macleod
3. Stevie Haston
Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Joined Sep 4, 2006
1,051 points
Apr 9, 2010
Me JML
Joined May 3, 2009
37 points
Apr 9, 2010
good call on Ueli Steck. He is a beast in some many disciplines. JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
34 points
Apr 9, 2010
me
Jeremy McGrath. The king of supercross! Pat C
From Honolulu
Joined Mar 14, 2009
94 points
Apr 9, 2010
Speaking of Jeremy, I saw he is racing 4x4's now and doing very well. JML
Joined May 3, 2009
37 points
Apr 9, 2010
C'mon;....everyone KNOWS it's Kevin Thaw.......rock, boulder, ice, alpine, 8000m, aid ,........it's Kevin Thaw... toddgordon
From Joshua Tree, California
Joined Nov 26, 2006
10,179 points
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.
Chris D
From the couch
Joined Apr 14, 2009
2,236 points
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 ...
Vern Twombly, N Ridge Kindergarten, Garden of the Gods 1945
Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Joined Nov 1, 2007
260 points
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. Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Joined Nov 1, 2007
260 points
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.
camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Joined Jun 27, 2006
1,369 points
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.


Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Joined Nov 1, 2007
260 points
Apr 15, 2010
Ted Farley wrote:
alpinism....ill throw out Alex Lowe

Seconded
Bud Martin
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Apr 15, 2010
403 points
Apr 15, 2010
Jim Ebert, of course. PRRose
From Boulder
Joined Feb 11, 2006
2 points
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. peachy spohn
Joined Aug 9, 2007
1,050 points


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