Many incredible accomplishments were made in 2012 for the ever growing sport of climbing. From the pioneers that began the sport several years ago to the unbelievable feats of today, climbing has brought forth some of the most amazing athletes and 2012 was a year for many of them to shine. Here is a review of some of the highlights of the past year.
World renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker led a historic expedition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first successful American ascent of Mount Everest. On the Everest Education Expedition, extensive scientific work was done on the mountain in order to share the excitement of science, discovery and global adventures with classrooms across Montana and the nation. The team that conducted the scientific work included Sam Elias, Emily Harrington, Kristoffer Erickson, Phil Henderson, Mark Jenkins, David Lageson and Hilaree O’Neill. The team successfully summited Mount Everest in May 2012.
It was a great year for speed alpinist Ueli Steck. Steck attempted to summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen back in May of 2011 but had to turn around when he was only 100 meters away from the summit due to numb heels and feet. He returned in May of 2012 and successfully reached the summit without supplemental oxygen with Tenzing, a 21-year-old friend from Nepal. A few months after summiting Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, Steck successfully linked three classic Swiss mountaineering routes in the Eiger region in less than 15 hours by climbing to the summit and paragliding to the beginning of the next climb. This was completed in August 2012.
Alex Honnold also had quite the year. The big wall free solo climber completed the Triple Crown (Yosemite’s El Capitan, Half Dome, and Mount Watkins) in less than 24 hours. As he was finishing the last part of the climb, many spectators were watching him from the top in complete awe of Honnold climbing without ropes and were stunned to find out he had climbed the “triple” in such a short amount of time. A week after Honnold completed the Triple Crown, he returned to Yosemite and set the new Nose speed climbing record with Hans Florine. They climbed it in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds which beat out Sean Leary and Dean Potter’s record by almost 13 minutes.
Mayan Smith-Gobat and Chantel Astorga broke the women’s speed record on the Nose in September 2012. They climbed it in 7 hours and 26 minutes. Smith-Gobat and Astorga beat out the time of 10 hours and 19 minutes that was set by Jes Meiris and Quinn Brett in June 2012.
Ashima Shiraishi has become a climbing phenomenon at a very young age. She has stunned the climbing world with her accomplishments ever since Obe Carrion began coaching her several years ago. In 2012, Ashima became the youngest person to flash a 5.14a and redpoint a 5.14c at 11-years-old. She didn’t only redpoint one 5.14c but two of them at Red River Gorge.
We have seen so many astonishing achievements in 2012 with mountaineering, alpinism and rock climbing. As a new year comes upon us, 2013 is guaranteed to bring on more of the wow factor in the adventurous and extreme realm of climbing, and you can be sure the world will be watching.
If you enjoyed this article, please click on Subscribe at the top of the page to receive E-mail notifications for future articles by this author. Also join my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.