Heidi Wirtz is one of the country’s few prominent female adventure climbers. She has been climbing for over twenty years, letting her passion for adventure and exploration lead her to places such as Nepal, Morocco, Jordan, Siberia, Tasmania, Czech Republic, Eastern Europe, Pakistan, South America, Canada etc.
Heidi has pioneered new routes up unclimbed big walls and mountains and pushed the limits of female exploration. She is known in the United States as “Heidi Almighty” for her bold and technical climbing as well as speed ascents in Yosemite Valley.
Heidi is also known for her philanthropic work and her passion for yoga. She is co-founder of Girls Education International, an organization that helps bring education to women and girls in underserved areas throughout the world. She is the co-founder of Earth Play Retreats, an adventure/yoga retreat service that empowers people to find their true potential and to connect with nature in a deeper more meaningful way. Heidi’s mission is to inspire and empower people from all walks of life to find deeper awareness and follow their dreams.
Heidi’s love for adventure and exploration has been the driving force behind her climbing accomplishments. She enjoys all types of climbing, finding herself high on giant rock walls and frozen waterfalls throughout the world.
She has been climbing in the U.S. as well as parts of Canada, Baja, Great Britain, South America, and India over the past twelve years and doesn’t plan to ease up on her globe-trotting any time soon, with plans to climb in Europe, Tazmania, and Greenland in the near future.
While continually raising the bar for her personal performance and for women’s climbing in general, Heidi envisions a broader view for her role in the sport in the years ahead, hoping to do more work with people in need around the world and create opportunities to “give back, help and inspire.”
Birth date: 1/8/1971
Hometown: Boulder , CO
Nickname: Heidi Almighty
Favorite Destination: Patagonia or Thailand….it’s super hard to pick just one place actually. There are so many amazing places in the world!
Favorite The North Face Product(s): My new favorite piece is the Verto jacket. Super awesome piece to always have at the bottom of the pack! Great for multi pitch climbing…you can clip it to your harness and not know it is there, until the wind picks up and you need it.
Proudest Sporting Moment: Standing on the top of the S. Howser Minarette with Lizzy Scully after completing its first free ascent.
Cause(s) You Are Passionate About: Protecting the out of doors, Getting people into the out of doors, International women’s education, climbing access
Words To Live By/Personal Mantra: You can never succeed if you don’t try.
Most Humbling Moment: Walking the streets of New Delhi and bowing at the feet of yoga guruPatabi Jois.
Greatest Current Ambition: To get as many people turned onto the out of door as I can.
What are 3 things people don’t know or would be surprised to know about you? I was a Grateful Dead Head for years. I have a giant vegetable garden and chickens. Surfing and skiing are my other passions.
Dream Vacation: Surfing in Morocco with my mom, climbing in Majorca with my Monkey family.
Three Things I Always Pack: Tea, my journal, too much.
Weakness or Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate
How I Relax: Yoga and Meditation
Favorite Food Dish or Cuisine: Thai food!!!
Inspiration Within Your Sport: All of the young kids that are half my size and pulling over twice as hard……and you never hear them complain about being too short :)
- “La Bas “ (FA) Taghia , Morocco (IV 5.12, 2,500 feet)
- “Dar al’Salaam” (FA) Wadi Rum, Jordan (IV 5.13a, 320 meters)
- “Big Mamma “ (FA) Cape Pillar, Tasmania (III5.11+ 140 meters)
- “Losar” (First one day female ascent) Khumbu Valley, Nepal (IV WI5)
- “Face Full of Brian” Flatirons, Boulder, CO (V8)
- “Snake Watching” Flatirons, Boulder, CO (I 5.13a)
- “Milk Bone” Flatirons, Boulder, CO (I5.13a)
- “The Evictor,” El Dorado Canyon, Boulder, CO (I 5.12+ R)
- “Pufigu,” new route in Kupol, Siberia (IV 5.11 A1)
- “The Wasp,” Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (5.13a, trad)
- “Bad Hair Day” (FA/FFA of South Howser Minaret), Bugaboos, B.C., Canada (V 5.12-)
- “Qui Lombo” (FA) on San Rafael in Patagonia, Argentina (IV 5.11+ A1)
- “Sharp at Both Ends” (FA) on Chasm View in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (III 5.11+)
- “Positron,” Gogarth, North Wales (E5 6a)
- “The Nose,” El Capitan, Yosemite, CA; women’s speed record
- “Lurking Fear,” El Capitan, Yosemite, CA; one-day ascent
- “Regular Route,” Half Dome, Yosemite, CA; women’s speed record
- “Stetners Ledges,” (winter ascent) Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
- “Bird Brain Boulevard,” Ouray, CO (IV WI6 M5)
- “Elingwood Arete,” (winter ascent) Crestone Needle, CO
- North Face of Hapless Peak, Alaska (IV AI4 M3)
- “Ariana,” Longs Peak, CO (IV 5.12a)
- “Off the Road,” Alaska Highway, BC (IV WI6-)
- “Veterans with Vertigo,” (second ascent) Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO (IV 5.11++R)
- “Gold Dog Special,” (FFA team) Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO (V 5.13a)
- “The High Life,” (third ascent) Yosemite, CA (IV 5.11+ R)
- “Shiboomy,” El Dorado Canyon, CO (II 5.12b)
- Sender Film: Front Range Freaks, First Ascent, Down and Out and Under, 2010
- Cover of climbing Magazine’s 40th anniversary edition, May 2010 with full feature
- Sports Illustrated, picture and gear article, March 2004
- Climbing, a full-page picture and article, Zion National Park, Utah, February 2004
- Climbing, Photo Edition 2004: full-page photo, Indian Creek, Utah
- Los Angeles Times, article by Charles Duhigg with photo, November 11, 2003
- www.planetfear.com: High Mountain Info report, July 2003
- Gripped, December 2002
- Rock and Ice, half-page table of contents photo, “Queens of the Road” by Lizzy Scully, feature and several pictures, July 2002
- “Front Range Freaks,” video by Peter Mortimer: featured climber
- Alpinist No. 1: report
- Alpinist No. 2: article by Lizzy Scully and photos
- Alpinist No. 5: full-page photo, “Wasp”
- She Sends No. 1: “Home Improvements,” by Heidi Wirtz, with photos
- She Sends No. 4: full-page picture
- She Sends No. 5: “The Gentlemen’s Club,” by Heidi Wirtz
- www.alpinist.com: “Climbing Notes” report
- www.go-mountain.com: gomountain.procons.net report
- www.ontheedge.com: On the Edge Report
- www.chockstone.org: Chockstone review and photo