“Climbing is a frivolous pursuit with real intrinsic meaning and serious consequences”, notes climber Conrad Anker. Over a thirty year period Conrad’s search for the meaningful has lead him to the walls, crags, waterfalls and high peaks of our planet..
With new routes and first ascents in Zion, Yosemite, the Stanley Headwall, Antarctica, the Karakorum, Alaska and Montana Conrad’s pursuit of climbing is balanced between all disciplines. Sport, trad, ice, wall, altitude, speed, bouldering and gym climbing are all part of the mix. Being a “jack of all trades” serves Conrad well – there are very few mediums that slow him down.
On Mount Everest Conrad free climbed the Second Step, a 30-meter tall cliff at 8650 meters. His ascent, protected by a #4 Camalot, shed light on the "Mystery of Mallory and Irvine." Could these pioneering climbers have surmounted this formidable obstacle in 1924?
As an advocate for outdoor recreation and wilderness Conrad serves on the board of the Conservation Alliance. Conrad lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife and three sons. His motto? “Be good, be kind, be happy.”
Birthday? I was born 27 Nov 1962 in San Francisco. Makes me a saggitaurius, not that I follow that stuff. I am a 5th generation family from Toulumne County, CA. Climbing came naturally.
First time you ever went climbing? I started out backpacking with my family as a youngster. My first technical climb was when I was 14. At 16 I climbed Mt Rainier via the Gibraltar Gap route. As a student at the UofU I had the opportunity to ski & climb as much as my studies would allow.
Favorite climbing area and why? Yosemite. Granite is my favorite type of rock, the lines are magnificent and the weather is hard to beat. Plus the tribe scene is part of my blood.
Best climbing experience? In 1992 ST Shaw and I skied into the Kichatna Spires of Alaska for the second ascent of the East Buttress of Middle Triple Peak. The journey was a full on Alaska adventure. Bears fresh out of hibernation, spring rivers swollen to furious levels and constant bad weather. We managed to climb the peak but not with out mishap. We ran out of food. We were tired. Yet these types of experiences are the ones that create dreams. This is the gold currency of adventure. They stay with you for years.
Worst climbing experience? In 1999 an avalanche swept down the south face of Shishapangma, an 8000 m peak in Tibet. My best friend Alex Lowe and David Bridges lost their lives. I survived. Climbing is a wonderful pastime, yet it is very dangerous and can & will kill.
Dream trip? To ski from Bozeman, MT to Jackson, WY in the early spring with my family. The journey would traverse Yellowstone National Park. During the week of travel we would be able to see a variety of wildlife.
Guilty pleasure? Nutella
Favorite BD gear? Express Ice Screws, Camalots, Cobra Ice tools, Oz carabiners
Favorite non-BD gear? iPod, MacBookPro, a 1970 Schwinn Vista road bike converted into a fixed gear urban assault vehicle
Something that annoys you while climbing? Rude / selfish / obnoxious people at the crag are a total buzz kill. Be supportive of others, keep profanity for when it is really needed and be mindful of others.
What/who inspires you in climbing? El Capitan inspires me to climb & train hard, Fred Beckey & Alex Honnold as climbers. Fred – ‘cause he is still getting after it. Alex – ‘cause he is a nice fellow and a talented climber. Inspires the future he does.
Favorite après-climb meal? A salad with spinach, pears, sprouts, nuts and goat cheese is the perfect complement to a day of rejuvenating exercise. A light citrus dressing adds the appropriate touch. A slice of artisan bread and perhaps a glass of Argentine malbec red wine or a Napa cabernet would make this a perfect meal.
Favorite climb or ski flick? The Eiger Sanction. Clint Eastwood is basically a tough guy.
What's in your iPod? Aside from a selection of music I have my calendar, address book and a dictionary. My music runs from classical (Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Bach) to classic rock (the usual culprits), to a selection of metal (Metallica, Allagoch) to chill / ambient / house music. I draw the line at contemporary country music. Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash are excellent. I subscribe to PBS television shows and stay current on the news end of things.
Strangest place you've ever woken up? The Chang Tang desert of Tibet. Desolate, cold and uninhabited.
Three things you'd never roadtrip without? Water, rice & beans.
Superstitions? I always put my left climbing shoe / boot on first.
What's your dream job? Technical consultant for Black Diamond.
If you could steal one thing and not get caught, what would it be? If I could steal the pass codes for the world’s nuclear arsenal I would do it. I would destroy them.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive) who would they be?
- Leonardo Da Vinci, John Muir, Albert Einstein (deceased).
- HH Dalai Lama, Bono, Barack Obama (living)
Dream? To help find a source of non-carbon based fuel that would allow humanity to continue living as we do. Alpine climbers put them selves into energy poor situations. There is some knowledge that can be gleaned from these experiences and finding a way to share it with the science community would be pretty cool.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Neither. I have a few scars. Like hockey, alpine climbing leaves its mark.