16 Climbing Photographers You Should Know

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Julie Ellison
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This story originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of our print edition.

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

The Svolværgeita, or Goat’s Horns formation, towers over Svolvær, Norway. It’s a climber’s rite of passage to jump the 1.5-meter gap from the Storhorn (big horn on the right) to the Lillehorn (little horn). Photo: Jan Vincent Kleine

This spring, we sifted through nearly 5,000 images from under-the-radar photographers to find these—the shots that made us break a sweat and inspired us to climb harder and farther afield. Don’t sit back, and don’t relax. In fact, load your pack. Then dive into these images and get to know the next generation of great climbing shooters.

1. Jan Vincent Kleine

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Miguel Navarro enjoys three-dimensional climbing in the Trebena area of Geyikbayiri, Turkey, including the challenging Freedom is a Battle (5.13c/8a+).

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Jan Vincent Kleine

2. Truc Nguyen Allen

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Johnny Inkhamheng enjoys the short but excellent Blue Light Special (5.11a), Smith Rock, Oregon.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Truc Nguyen Allen

3. Ken Etzel

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Tony DiSanto pinching, squeezing, and finessing his way up a sea of tufas on La Perla (5.14a/8b+), Margalef, Spain.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Ken Etzel

4. Bligh Gillies

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Gabriel Cervantes cruises Andrology (5.11d), Estes Park, Colorado. Although this route originally required gear in addition to the bolts, it’s been retro-bolted so only quickdraws are necessary.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Bligh Gillies

5. Beau Kahler

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos Bouldering

The Grampians mountain range in Australia provides beaucoup rock for climbers of all stripes. Here, Nina Williams tries out the smaller blocks on Butchers Choice (V10).

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Beau Kahler

6. Rob Kepley

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Cody Scarpella belays Jason Brown as he sinks his tips into the granite on the third pitch of Undertow (5.10a A4 R), which goes free at 5.11+, on the Black Wall of the Mt. Evans massif, Colorado.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Rob Kepley

7. Nadir Khan

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Paul Tattersall solos on Jetty Crag in Gairloch, Scotland. This crag is known for being a friendly roadside area with walls in every direction to catch the sun at any time of the day.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Nadir Khan

8. Stefan Kürzi

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Lucas Iten lets out a scream on Chippendale (5.13c/8a+), Fallenflue, Switzerland.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Stefan Kürzi

9. Blake McCord

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Alyse Dietel contemplates the next move on the two-pitch Heart and Soul (5.11+), an airy arête in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Blake McCord

10. Gustavo Moser

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos Bouldering

Moser battled with this climb, Better Eat Your Wheaties (V8/9), in Hueco, and documented his struggle with this self-portrait.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Gustavo Moser

11. Grant Ordelheide

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Rob McKay nears the crux on Camping Under the Influence (5.12-), Indian Creek, Utah. Clipping the anchors is the most difficult part of this 100-foot line.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Grant Ordelheide

12. Alton Richardson

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

The über-classic Edge of Time (5.9+) in Estes Park, Colorado, is surprisingly difficult for the grade, with just enough space between the bolts to keep you on your toes.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Alton Richardson

13. Thomas Schermer

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Micha Vanhoudt lives up to the name Boys Don’t Cry (5.12d/7c) as he takes the whip in Siurana, Spain. To create the dramatic atmosphere for this shot, Schermer waited until night fell and it was pitch black so he would have full control over the lighting conditions.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Thomas Schermer

14. Stefan Schlumpf

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

In March 2014, Fabian Buhl made the third boltless ascent of the 5.13d/5.14a route Prinzip Hoffnung (8b/8b+), Bürs, Austria. Austrian Beat Kammerlander made the first ascent of the route, which means “the principle of hope,” on bolts about 15 years ago, then decided to remove them 10 years ago. However, he didn’t nab the first gear-only ascent until 2009.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Stefan Schlumpf

15. Luka Tambača

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

Siniša Škalec stays in the light on Crna Mačka (5.12a/7a+), Vela Draga, Croatia.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Luka Tambača

16. Inigo Taylor

Rock Climbing Photographers Photos

A lot of the climbing in Malta is directly over the ocean—with and without ropes. Diego Salgado cruises Greek Odyssey (5.11b/6c) on the Red Wall.

See more at Climbing Photographer Spotlight: Inigo Taylor