Profile: Technical Mountaineer Conrad Anker
The North Face
Highlights: First Ascent of Sharks's Fin, Meru Peak, India (2011); first ascent SE face Gurney Peak, Alaska (1987); first ascent NW face Mt. Hunter, Alaska (1989); first ascent Snow Petrel Wall, Rakekniven, Antarctica (1997); first ascent W face of Latok II, Pakistan (1997); found George Mallory's body on Mt. Everest (1999); first ascent E face Vinson Massif, Antarctica (2001); founded Khumbu Climing Center (2003)
Quote: "be good. be kind. be happy."
Fact: Need a knife, lip balm or lighter? Ask Conrad. He always carries 'em.
Mountaineer Conrad Anker tackles some of the most technically challenging alpine terrain in the world, from huge walls in Antarctica's frozen Sentinel Range to the twoering peaks of Pakistan's Karakoram. His impressive career reaches back 25 years, to when he and climbing partner Seth Shaw put up their first first ascent in the steep rock towers of Alaska's Kichatna Spires. Since then, he's put up more than a dozen major first ascents. Most notable, perhaps, was his 2011 summit of the Shark's Fin route on the northwest face of 20,700-foot Meru, along with Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk. The much sought-after Shark's Fin had, for decades, thwarted all comers (and there were plenty, including Anker himself in 2003 and 2008) with its mix of alpine snow and ice, exposed rock and overhanging headwall.
The world at large knows Anker as the guy who found Everest explorer George Mallory's body, but friends and fellow mountaineers know him as a humble, compassionate big mountain superstar. He serves on the boad of the Conservation Alliance, the Rowell Fund for Tibet and the Alex Low Charitable Foundation, in addition to founding the Khumbu Climbing Center, a school in Nepal dedicated to teaching mountaineering skills to Nepali climbers and working Sherpas.