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Who's done the most for pushing modern alpine standards in the last 15 years?


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DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Who's pushing the envelope? Of course we've heard of Donini, Lowe, Tackle, the other Lowe, Twight, House, Lafaille, Profit, Humar - who were pushing it before it was cool... But who's doing that now? I'm sure I could go through the latest Alpine Journals, but a discussion is more fun...

So who is pushing modern alpine climbing standards, in the greater ranges, the most in the last 10-15 years?

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

HK, Kruk, Haley, Dempster(rip), Cordes, Mayo etc. for american anywhos

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983

Colin Haley
Josh Wharton
Regan Raganowicz
Kyle Dempster
.
.
.

jg fox · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

Colin Haley soloed and set the new speed record for the Infinite Spur on Mt Foraker last spring which was a pretty impressive feat given the history of the route. Maybe he isn't the most leading alpinist in the world but what he did was pretty damn daring and should stir up a renewed interest in the Alaskan Range.

Ueli Steck has been tearing it up around the globe. He did a lot of hard stuff in the alps last season too. Lindic Luka of Slovenia has been pretty impressive with his Himalayan climbs too, his team got a Piolet d'Or a year or two back but the climb was a bit controversial.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210
jgfox wrote:Colin Haley soloed and set the new speed record for the Infinite Spur on Mt Foraker last spring which was a pretty impressive feat given the history of the route. Maybe he isn't the most leading alpinist in the world but what he did was pretty damn daring and should stir up a renewed interest in the Alaskan Range. Ueli Steck has been tearing it up around the globe. He did a lot of hard stuff in the alps last season too. Lindic Luka of Slovenia has been pretty impressive with his Himalayan climbs too, his team got a Piolet d'Or a year or two back but the climb was a bit controversial.
Ueli Steck.. Seems to shy away from the limelight. Looks quiet and humble, but is a machine in terms of fitness. I enjoy watching what interviews there are from him. I've always admired what he has done in the Himalayas.

Slovenians have always had their cut of leading alpinists on the world stage.
Brad White · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 25

I think in terms of changing the strategies of modern alpine climbing, and its focus on speed and lightweight tactics, it would have to be either Steve House or Mark Twight. While current stars like Colin Haley or even Ueli Steck are accomplishing amazing things, what they are doing are incremental improvements in style. While their climbs are shockingly impressive, they are not changing the activity at a basic level.

When I first read of some of House's climbs being done without sleeping bags, my first thought was that it would be a good receipe for freezing to death. Especially in places like Alaska, or on mountains such as Denali. I'm not saying that he was the first one to use this strategy. But he was one of the first that promoted it through his writing and speaking. Yes, Haley's ascent of the Infinite Spur is jaw-dropping, but when House and Rolo did it in 27 hours without traditional bivy gear, at the time that seemed revolutionary.

Twight's focus on and writing about training was a real turnaround for alpinism. Again, not that he was the only climber training, but the specific and scientific approach that he advocated really got people thinking about it more like mainstream athletes had been training for generations.

Lou Cerutti · · Carlsbad, California · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 217

I don't have anything to contribute to this but I'd be very interested to read any links to recounts of these types of ascents.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135
Brad White wrote:I think in terms of changing the strategies of modern alpine climbing, and its focus on speed and lightweight tactics, it would have to be either Steve House or Mark Twight. While current stars like Colin Haley or even Ueli Steck are accomplishing amazing things, what they are doing are incremental improvements in style. While their climbs are shockingly impressive, they are not changing the activity at a basic level. When I first read of some of House's climbs being done without sleeping bags, my first thought was that it would be a good receipe for freezing to death. Especially in places like Alaska, or on mountains such as Denali. I'm not saying that he was the first one to use this strategy. But he was one of the first that promoted it through his writing and speaking. Yes, Haley's ascent of the Infinite Spur is jaw-dropping, but when House and Rolo did it in 27 hours without traditional bivy gear, at the time that seemed revolutionary. Twight's focus on and writing about training was a real turnaround for alpinism. Again, not that he was the only climber training, but the specific and scientific approach that he advocated really got people thinking about it more like mainstream athletes had been training for generations.
Actually, you have to go back a bit further than Twight and House, and look to Erhard Loretan and Jean Triollet who as Voytek Kurtyka said went "night-naked climbing" on Everest. Then was Mugs Stump who did a one day ascent of the Cassin Ridge on Denali. Then there were Messner and Habler and a whole host of others. IMHO all of if has been incremental improvements. The biggest envelope being pushed is always the weather and now physical stamina. Haley got his ass kicked on Foraker because the weather changed. I can not remember if it was Mark or Steve who puked their way up the Solvak Direct.

That said I agree that what Twight and House have done in recent times that the others have not is write about how they prepare themselves while publishing and/promote it.
that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Last 15 years my pick would be ueli, i think in the near future killian jornet could very well eclipse him being younger and fitter, if he just gets more experience going fast on very technical ground he could smash some records. I would like to think that if we saw more rock climbers like Honnold and Tommy doing super steep alpine lines I think standards could take a dramatic shift.

Adam Gellman · · Jersey City/Burlington · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 140
that guy named seb wrote:Last 15 years my pick would be ueli, i think in the near future killian jornet could very well eclipse him being younger and fitter, if he just gets more experience going fast on very technical ground he could smash some records. I would like to think that if we saw more rock climbers like Honnold and Tommy doing super steep alpine lines I think standards could take a dramatic shift.
In terms of steep climbs, David Lama seems to be doing some interesting stuff. It would be cool to see more rock climbers bringing it to the high alpine.
Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Rolando Garibotti!

House (beyond his own advances he's proactively advancing the young bucks)

Steck

Haley

Hayden Kennedy

D-Storm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 295

There are quite a few badasses on the other side of the pond who are pushing alpine standards: Mike Fowler, Nick Bullock, Paul Ramsden, Tom Ballard, Ines Papert, almost anyone from Poland to Russia it seems like... The list goes on. And don't forget Marc-Andre Leclerc, Brette Harrington and Mayan Smith-Gobat, Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, Siebe Vanhee... Too many to keep up with!

Here's some headlines from the last few months that come to mind:
alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new…
alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new…
alpinist.com/doc/web17w/new…
alpinist.com/doc/web17w/new…
alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new…
alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new…

Keep in mind some of these people are middle age, or even older, and still showing us how it's done. There is a whole world of psych out there!

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210
D-Storm wrote:There are quite a few badasses on the other side of the pond who are pushing alpine standards: Mike Fowler, Nick Bullock, Paul Ramsden, Tom Ballard, Ines Papert, almost anyone from Poland to Russia it seems like... The list goes on. And don't forget Marc-Andre Leclerc, Brette Harrington and Mayan Smith-Gobat, Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, Siebe Vanhee... Too many to keep up with! Here's some headlines from the last few months that come to mind: alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new… alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new… alpinist.com/doc/web17w/new… alpinist.com/doc/web17w/new… alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new… alpinist.com/doc/web16f/new… Keep in mind some of these people are middle age, or even older, and still showing us how it's done. There is a whole world of psych out there!
Exactly. I have heard a bit about Marc-Andre Leclerc, mostly from hihs ascents in the Canadian Rockies. Although North American climbers have certainly caught up, the French, Slovenians, Russians, and even the Brits were pushing things in the 80s and 90s. The bar was set during that period and we've been inching it up ever since. I see Steve House as he was described being "The Great White Hope of American Alpinism" or something along those lines. As always, the upcoming generation stands on the backs of giants.
jg fox · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5
that guy named seb wrote:Last 15 years my pick would be ueli, i think in the near future killian jornet could very well eclipse him being younger and fitter, if he just gets more experience going fast on very technical ground he could smash some records. I would like to think that if we saw more rock climbers like Honnold and Tommy doing super steep alpine lines I think standards could take a dramatic shift.
To my knowledge Killian Jornet doesn't do technical climbing. He just sets speed records on the traditional, non-technical routes. It is still impressive but nothing like the hard technical climbing Ueli does and solos at times.
that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205
jgfox wrote: To my knowledge Killian Jornet doesn't do technical climbing. He just sets speed records on the traditional, non-technical routes. It is still impressive but nothing like the hard technical climbing Ueli does and solos at times.
Ueli and killian actually recently set the record for a partnered climb up the eiger north face, although Killian might not yet be ready to be speed soloing this stuff like ueli but give him a bit more time to develop his skills and i see him surpassing ueli sometime in the future, this is of course if he decides to pursue more technical routes, if he decides he doesn't want to he obviously wont get any better though he's shown interest and skill already so i don't see why he wouldn't pursue it.
D-Storm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 295
DavisMeschke Guillotine wrote: Exactly. I have heard a bit about Marc-Andre Leclerc, mostly from hihs ascents in the Canadian Rockies. Although North American climbers have certainly caught up, the French, Slovenians, Russians, and even the Brits were pushing things in the 80s and 90s. The bar was set during that period and we've been inching it up ever since. I see Steve House as he was described being "The Great White Hope of American Alpinism" or something along those lines. As always, the upcoming generation stands on the backs of giants.
That's the crazy thing—Bullock and Ramsden, Fowler, etc., certainly are among the group of yesteryear that pushed alpine limits then—but they STILL are, as evidenced by two of the stories I listed earlier, though maybe not with the same frequency. All the names I mentioned previously are people who have currently done some badass shit. Here in the USA we don't hear about it as much, partly because of the physical, language and cultural gaps, and also because American media tends to focus on American climbers. Of course the American names being tossed around on this forum are also big influences and pushing the modern limits of alpinism, but the main message I would like to spread here is that if more average American climbers realized what some of these other people are doing, then we might really start to see that influence translate into some mind-blowing achievements.

Another story that comes to mind from last summer is this team of five guys who sea kayaked 170 km to the southern tip of Greenland (a week of kayaking in 35 degree F ocean swells), did a first ascent on a 2000-meter big wall (El Cap is 900m) during a narrow window of good weather, then paddled back, entirely self supported. That's what I call visionary. Yet we hardly heard a peep over here because it was two French and three Swiss guys who spend more time planning these expeditions than spraying about them: alpinist.com/doc/web16f/wfe…

There is a whole world out there beyond what you see in most of the American climbing media. Alpinist has a niche in that regard. And yes, I happen to be the digital editor there, and I'm telling you all this from my own experience of finally seeing beyond the bubble that I've been in most of my life. Americans are by no means the only people pushing the limits out there, not by a long shot. Ask HK or any wordly US climbers who rope up with people we rarely hear about otherwise, and I'm sure they would agree.

So, who has done the most to push modern alpine standards in the last 15 years? Pretty hard to say, since there are so many names and I can't remember how to spell two-thirds of them, and of all of them, half are somewhat reticent about advertising their exploits, such as Leclerc (he's done solos that rival Honnold's). Food for thought.
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,045

aerial photographers.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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