As though motion was in her blood from the start, Zoe Hart was in a New York City cab just a few hours after being born. She grew up in the flat suburbs of New Jersey, and then headed to Boston College to get a degree in English Literature well on her way to a “normal life.” In 1997, the unexpected death of her father sent her searching, what she found was climbing and her place in the mountains. For the past ten years, tents, duffel bags, basecamps and the back of her car have been her home.
Despite travel, each year she found her way back to Chamonix to climb, ski and guide. In May 2008 Zoe passed her last guides exam becoming the 4th American woman IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) certified, and decided to lay roots in Chamonix, buying and renovating a small apartment beneath the Glaicers of Mont Blanc.
Currently she spends most of her days ski mountaineering, climbing on steep limestone crags in the valley or exploring the north faces and granite of the Mont Blanc range right out her backdoor.
Birthday? July 15, 1978
Year you first started climbing? 1997
Three climbing achievements you are most proud of?
- Speed Record on Deprivation, North Buttress of Mount Hunter, with Maxime Turgeon (41 hours, since beaten), First Female Ascent Alaska Range
- West Face (Gabbarou Route) of Aguille du Plan 2011 with Maxime Turgeon, Chamonix France
- 4th American Female UIAGM Mountain Guide
Memory/story of the first time you ever went climbing? The first time I went climbing was in the North Cascades on a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) month long mountaineering course. I remember learning knots and thinking they were cool and wondering what they were used for. I had NO IDEA.
Favorite climbing area and why? Alps because of the easy access. I can sleep in my bed, and climb big 1000 m routes, and make my way home for a glass of wine and dinner, and a warm bed!
Best climbing experience? Deprivation on Mount Hunter. I climbed with Maxime Turgeon, my husband. The weather was perfect, we climbed together as a great team, and we finished a route that Sue Nott (a mentor and friend of mine who passed away a few years prior) and I had tried to climb together unsuccessfully.
Worst climbing experience? Soloing ice in the San Juans, Colorado, and falling 20 meters. Luckily I only broke my hand.
What's your dream trip? Where? With who? Anywhere new, with big adventures, good culture, and good climbing, with my husband.
Guilty pleasure? Baking.
BD gear you use every time you go climbing? ATC Guide, and Fusions in winter.
Something that annoys you while climbing? Inconsiderate other parties who put me and my team at risk.
What/who inspires you in climbing? What? Pushing myself to manage my fear and climb at my limit. Who? My husband: the zen way he climbs hard routes and at his limit pushes me to do the same.
Favorite après-climb meal? Quesadillas.
Favorite climbing flick? Don't like climbing porn.
What's in your iPod? Whatever my little brother put on it.
Strangest place you've ever woken up? Smooshed in a two person (i.e. 1.5 person) sleeping bag on a North Face.
Strangest person you've ever woken up with? Doesn't matter who you share a spooner bag with, it's always weird to wake up smooshed like sardines in a small sleeping back on a precarious ledge.
Three things you'd never roadtrip without? Coffee, books, and a camera.
Superstitions? Don't have any.
What's your dream job? Where someone pays me a salary to get involved in all the cool projects I dream of, so I can volunteer for the rest of my life, doing all the things I'm passionate about, without worrying about how much money I'm making.
How are you training when you are not climbing? Trail running, yoga, climbing wall, and training at the gym.
If you could steal one thing and not get caught, what would it be? A nice warm, new house.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive) who would they be? My dad, who passed away when I was 18 and my husband Maxime. I'd love to introduce them since they never had the chance to meet.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Tattoo and nose stud.