Trailblazer’s The North Face Interview Series: Anker, Honnold, Chin, Farrington
If your not up to snuff on them yet, let’s give you a small background before we deliver their stories.
Conrad Anker – Alpine Climber
Conrad Anker’s specialty, simply put, is climbing the most technically challenging terrain in the world. This quest has taken him from the mountains of Alaska and Antarctica to the big walls of Patagonia and Baffin Island and the massive peaks of the Himalaya.
Conrad’s Antarctic experience spans a decade, with first ascents in three regions. In 1997, Conrad teamed up with Alex Lowe and Jon Krakauer to climb Rakekniven, a 2,500-foot wall in Queen Maud Land. In the Sentinel Range, Conrad climbed the Vinson Massif via three new routes. His climbs in Pakistan’s Karakoram include the west face of Latok II along the “Tsering
Mosong” route (which begins at the same height as the summit of Denali) where he climbed 26 pitches on a vertical cliff and then topped out at 23,342 feet.
Jimmy Chin – Alpine Climber
Jimmy’s passion for exploration and photography has taken him on break-through expeditions around the world. Chin has worked with some of the best adventurers, climbers and skiers in the world on their most challenging expeditions.
Climbing, skiing and often enduring death defying situations next to some of the best in the industry, Jimmy shoulders the camera equipment and documents the epic stories.
In 2002, he joined Conrad Anker, author Rick Ridgeway, and the late photographer Galen Rowell for an unsupported 275 mile trek across the largely unexplored northwestern corner of Tibet’s 17,000-foot-high- Chang Tang Plateau while filming for National Geographic. The following year Chin accompanied Stephen Koch to the north face of Everest on his quest to snowboard the Seven Summits.
Alex Honnold burst onto the climbing scene in Fall 2007 with a splash of headlines. He drew attention from the press by his audacious one-day free solo link-up of The Rostrum followed by Astro Man – two demanding multi-pitch Yosemite 5.11+ free routes. He made news again in spring 2008, with a first-ever ropeless free ascent of the long Moonlight Buttress, 5.12, in Zion National Park. He was just 21.
But now, looking back on those impressive feats, he eschews the attention those climbs have gotten him. He’d rather tout the less-headlined free ascent he made of El Capitan’s Salathe Wall, a seldom-free-climbed 5.13 testpiece requiring 3,000 feet of climbing. He and his partner did it in three days. To Alex, that’s more noteworthy.
Kaitlyn Farrington – Snowboarder
Starting life on an Idaho cattle ranch, Kaitlyn Farrington has grown to become a highly-respected professional snowboarder. Originally a skier, she learned to ride on nearby Baldy Mountain, where, after a couple of “tough days”, her skill was quickly apparent. Kaitlyn later began entering junior competitions. After many successes at this level, she moved onto senior competitions in 2008. Now challenged by competition-hardened professionals, she was forced to push herself harder and add more tricks to her run — she did exactly that.
2010 was a breakthrough year: She won a gold medal in the Superpipe at the European Winter X Games, won the overall Dew Cup Halfpipe Title, took second at the U.S. Burton Open and became a full-fledged member of the U.S. Snowboarding Team. Possessing an impressive array of tricks, including Cab and frontside 900s, McTwists, as well as switch and backside spins, Kaitlyn has elevated herself into the upper echelon of women’s halfpipe competitors. She spent the past summer training in New Zealand and has her sights firmly set on X Games gold in Aspen this year.