When it comes to some of the most challenging things you can think of, what comes to mind?
How about climbing the side of an icy mountain with nothing but a pickaxe and climbing shoes to keep you from falling? Rock climbing has become a popular extreme sport (some would say a hobby!) due to the lengths some climbers will go. For those who are interested in the climbing scene or who want to get started, indoor rock climbing for beginners is the way to go.
You might still need a little inspiration however. Here’s some interesting facts about some of the most famous rock climbers out there.
Alex is probably the most famous climber of this generation thanks to an award-winning documentary called Free Solo. Free solo is when you climb with just your hands and feet, which Honnold did when he climbed the 3,000 foot face of El Capitan in Yosemite! It’s the hardest big wall climb ever done right now. Watching him take on the challenge made for a nail-biting documentary like no other. Honnold has done a lot of other impressive climbs, even completing the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia in recent years.
Hill is often seen as a pioneer of climbing. She started by climbing as a teenager, discovering it was her passion at just 16 when she visited Yosemite National Park. She climbed El Capitan and then became part of the first female-only ascent of The Shield. She went on to win the Arco Rock Master event five times when climbing competitions started to thrive.
In 1993, Hill free climbed the Nose on El Capitan, something that was only done with help in the past. It was previously thought to be impossible but Hill proved everyone wrong. She completed the climb in just one day.
Caldwell made history when he reached the top of the Dawn Wall with Kevin Jorgeson. This was a previously unclimbed route that has been called the hardest big wall in Yosemite by far. It took Caldwell several years of route-finding and needed friends to help. It was a huge effort that made him an inspiration. Even Obama recognized Caldwell when he was finally making his way up the challenging wall.
Destivelle started climbing at 12 years old in a playground. By 13 she was sneaking out to rope climb in the Alps with an instructor. At a young age, Destivelle was doing climbing grades that older and more experienced climbers couldn’t even do. She went on to do many daring climbs, getting her a lot of attention. She won sport climbing competitions and appeared in documentaries, instantly recognizable for her pink tights. She was one of the first professional climbers but grew sick of the attention.
Destivelle started climbing solo without using ropes. She climbed the Bonatti Pillar on the Aiguille du Dru in four hours — alone. She returned to create a new route that took her 11 days. She then did a lot of hard ice and mixed climbing routes all over the world, surviving life-threatening accidents. In 1992, Destivelle became the first woman to get to the top of the North Face of the Eiger in one day.
Ondra started climbing at six years old. He would travel with his family to climb many different types of rocks. He was a phenomenon from a young age, continuing to climb indoors at a very high level. As a teen he was already winning climbing World Cups and World Championship events, which are indoor climbing events. He decided to climb the world’s first 9b+ grade climb in 2012, Change in Hanshelleren Cave in Norway. He worked with another climber to complete it. He completed a 9c grade climb a few years later.
Since then, Ondra won an invite to the first Olympics Climbing event. He also climbed the Dawn Wall in just eight days. He now has his own gym, Hangar in Brno.
Want to try out rock climbing at a gym yourself? If you’re in the Philadelphia area, we highly recommend Reach Climbing!
Reach has indoor climbing for beginners classes that can help you get started and learn all the fundamentals. You’ll learn where to place your hands and feet, improve your strength, and reach new heights you never thought possible. Even if you are starting from scratch, Reach Climbing has the facilities and instructors you need to learn the ropes. If you aspire to climb like the pros, this is the perfect place to begin!