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Conversations with Climbers: Heroes

Pro climbers answer climbing questions.

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Who is the climber you look up to most?

Cedar Wright

“Peter Croft is my original climbing hero, and he’s still the man. I’ve always seen soloing as the ultimate expression of our sport and he did it with such purity. But I think Tommy Caldwell is more badass than Alex Honnold.”

Chris Schulte

“I cannot narrow that down to a single person, but I admire anyone who loves climbing enough—who has made it their way—to accept sacrifices for climbing. Got a big list of folks I’ve looked up to over the years though, friends and mentors of sorts—too big to try and list!”

Chris Weidner 

“Josh Wharton. He is the only climber I know who has learned how to reach his potential in nearly every genre of climbing. To top it off, he doesn’t put any energy toward—nor does he seem to care a lick about—self-promotion and social media. That’s badass.”

Heidi Wirtz

“Jonathan Siegrist (and his dad), because he is the nicest guy and crushes super hard. No ego, just pure psyche.”

Jesse Huey

Steve Swenson is a guy who I have always considered my mentor in climbing and life. Steve has always had the balance of family, work, and a dedication to climbing and the community. I really respect his successes in all of those departments and Steve, among all of his accomplishments, is still alive.

John Dickey

“Josh Wharton, he is the most hard working climbing husband/father I’ve ever met. Mayan Smith-Gobat, she has as much work ethic as she does belief in herself.”

Jon Glassberg

“I look up to Alex Honnold a ton. I have no interest in free solo climbing myself, but I really appreciate his ability to flow so effortlessly on hard terrain and keep a cool head. He is just a master of the sport and it shows when he solos. I also like that Alex hasn’t climbed 5.14d yet and really wants to, it makes me feel like even one of the best can still struggle on what lots of other pros are doing routinely. Makes me feel like one day I might be able to do my own projects even though they are way easier than [what] the best climbers in the world are ticking everyday.”

Lynn Hill

“Right now that would be Adam Ondra because he’s not only the best climber in the world, but he’s a really nice guy. He does positive things for other people. He is way into climbing, but he does it in a way that is accessible for other people.”

Matt Segal

“The late Hayden Kennedy. I always respected not only his accomplishments in the mountains but his honesty and humbleness about it all. It truly seemed he climbed for all the right reasons and never let external circumstances like social media and sponsors effect his intentions and motivations.”

Mike Libecki

“I look up to the climber(s) that climb because of true organic enthusiasm for all climbing has to offer: community, friends, joy, gratitude, being humbled by the stone, risk, perseverance, nature, the list goes on.”

Paige Claassen

“Babsi Zangerl because she is so humble despite her incredible achievements across so many diverse fields of the sport.”

Will Stanhope

“There’s so many. But Peter Croft especially. He did a lot of bold things but always seemed to keep things safe. I just really like his style; he does his own thing, unbothered by what’s cool or what’s in vogue. Such a friendly guy on top of it all.”

Read more Conversations with Climbers.