People come to Colorado to climb. With the most land above 10,000 feet, iconic cragging spots like Eldorado Canyon, a thriving gym scene and even the big alpine walls of Longs Peak’s Diamond and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the place is the ideal spot to up your game. It’s no surprise that all that lovely rock (and ice) has birthed a world-class community of climbers over the past 100 years.
Enough to make yet another Internet top ten list to encourage conversation and the usual trolling? Sure. But we could not cut this listicle down to just 10 people when it came to Colorado’s most influential climbers, so we bumped it up to 15.
We know it’s an impossible task to name everyone who has contributed to the sport in this state. And—we know, we know—we missed plenty of important folks here (including very deserving legends John Gill, George Lowe, Pat Ament, Jeff Achey, Bill Westbay and Steve Hong), but we tried to base this list on how these climbers added to the sport as well as pulled off incredible individual achievements. So here they are, Colorado’s 15 Greatest Climbers, Past and Present, a completely subjective list meant for fun and discussion. Let us know who you think deserves to be on this list and who you would have added.
(Photo: Tommy Caldwell on the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall, Yosemite Valley. Courtesy Patagonia.)