World-class rock, ice and mountain climber Conrad Anker inspires a new generation of wilderness explorers in America Wild: National Parks Adventure.
Conrad is a climber’s climber, as at home on a faraway alpine wall as on the sparkling ice of his home canyon, Hyalite, in the Gallatin Range of Montana. Over decades in the mountains, he has come to value the rarified air of Antarctica, the Himalaya and Montana equally.
Conrad’s journeys have taken him from Alaska and Baffin Island to Patagonia and Antarctica, where in 1997 he, with Alex Lowe and Jon Krakauer, climbed 2,500-foot Rakekniven in Queen Maud Land. That climb led to film and magazine pieces by National Geographic, an organization Conrad continues to collaborate with. In Patagonia, Conrad climbed the three towers of the Cerro Torre group, ascending new routes on Torre Egger and Cerro Standhardt. In Pakistan’s Karakorum, Conrad climbed the west face of Latok II, which begins at the altitude of Denali’s summit, topping at 23,342 feet after 26 vertical pitches. In Pakistan, Conrad and rock legend Peter Croft climbed Spansar Peak, a first ascent by way of a 7,000-foot ridge the pair ascended in a day with minimal gear.
In May 2012, Conrad summited Everest for the third time, without supplemental oxygen, leading an educational and research- based expedition to the Southeast Ridge with The North Face, National Geographic, The Mayo Clinic and Montana State University. Thirteen years prior, in May 1999, Conrad found the body of early Everest explorer George Mallory. Conrad’s discovery and analysis of the find as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research expedition shed new light on pioneering expeditions. Eight years earlier, his second ascent of Everest was captured in a feature film about the disappearance of Mallory called The Wildest Dream.
Although he’s been feted internationally—along with partners Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk—for the May 2011 ascent of the Shark’s Fin on 20,700-foot Mount Meru, Conrad took equal pleasure in his recent summit of Denali with his oldest son, Max.
As captain of The North Face Athlete Team, Conrad has urged climbers to be boots on the ground in observing changes wrought by man-made climate change. He’s also civically active at home, serving on the boards of the Montana State University Leadership Institute, Protect Our Winters, Bozeman Ice Tower Foundation, Gallatin County Fair Board and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, which funds the Khumbu Climbing Center in Phortse, Nepal.