Posted on: September 1, 2006

[Photo] Klaus Fengler

After many awards, including second place in the 1993 World Championships, Stefan Glowacz ("Gone with the Wind") stopped competing to concentrate on his own climbing vision: big walls in remote areas, approached without motorized transport. His film career has, appropriately, comprised a lead role in Werner Herzog's Cerro Torre: Scream of Stone, as a sport climber turned Patagonian mountaineer. He lives in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, with his wife and three children.

[Photo] Topher Donahue

Twenty-eight-year-old Tommy Caldwell and thirty-four-year-old Topher Donahue ("Scattered Ashes") began climbing together twenty years ago near their childhood homes in Estes Park, Colorado. Both learned climbing from their fathers, who worked together as mountain guides. Caldwell went on to climb some of the hardest routes in the world, while Donahue went on to fall off them.

[Photo] Peggy Denny

Photographer and award-winning filmmaker Glen Denny ("Yosemite Quicksilver") made some of the early ascents of El Capitan in the 1960s, before moving on to the Cordillera Huayhuash and the Hindu Kush. Although he has several degrees, his resume says "Education: Camp 4." He still enjoys airy stretches of Sierra granite, but he may be hard to find: he hates waiting in line.

[Photo] Greg Pritchardcollection

Poet, sculptor, university teacher, local cultural development officer and author of Climbing in Australia, Greg Pritchard ("Crag Profile: Mt. Arapiles") has lived near Arapiles for more than fifteen years. Before any of these current incarnations, he was a climber. When time allows, and the sunshine-bathed crag beckons, he still is.

[Photo] Mick Fowler

Born in London, Mick Fowler ("Eternal Snow") was first introduced to rock on the short sandstone outcrops of southern England. Over the next fifteen years he spent each weekend climbing. In 1982 he visited the Greater Ranges, and since then, every year or so, an overwhelming urge drives him to new alpine objectives—the more eccentric and arduous the better. One result of these peregrinations was the 2002 Piolet d'Or; another was his book On Thin Ice, which won the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival Best Book Award for Mountain Literature.

[Photo] Jeremy Collins

For the past year and a half, Nick Rosen ("Verite Bites")—a Boulder-based journalist—and Peter Mortimer—a documentary filmmaker in Boulder, Colorado, whose work includes Return2Sender and Front Range Freaks—have been collaborating on the film First Ascent, an attempt to document the explorations of today's climbing pioneers. Rosen's previous articles have covered, among other things, international economic policy and Welsh Corgis. At the time of printing, a sleepless Mortimer wonders whether he'll finally have to get a real job.

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