At 53, Conrad is still climbing at full throttle. The master of technical mountaineering and Captain of The North Face Global Athlete Team has over 30 years of experience under his belt, yet is still chasing first ascents. In 2011, he summited the Shark’s Fin, one of the last unclimbed Himalayan peaks, and in 2012, led an expedition to recreate the historic 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition. He’s a visionary, a champion for the environment, a pioneer and the best comrade you’ll find at 25,000 feet—he’s dedicated every ounce of his being to this life. Legendary doesn’t even begin to describe him.

  • First ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru, India
  • First ascent of East Face of Vinson Massif, Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica
  • First ascent of Rakekniven Peak, Snow Petrel Wall, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica – VI 5.10 A3
  • Three summits of Mt Everest, one without supplemental oxygen
  • First ascent of Continental Drift, El Capitan – VI 5.10 A4
  • Captain of The North Face athlete team



Why live a life that's perceived as mad?


Why do I seek out the road less travelled? Why does the possibility of uncertainty call when the route and routine fall to wayside?

I ask myself this as I set out on an expedition to a remote mountain.  I could find an easier climb, one that has been ascended thousands of times. Yet for then there is a calling for adventure we try the climbs that are hard and demanding, ones that test our mettle down to the very core of our person. Finding adventure and trying something unknown, allows us to imagine what the possibilities might be and in the process shatter our own perceived limitations.  

To achieve a goal in life one must have vision. Making it to the summit of Meru required planning, dedication and teamwork. The amount of motivation that Jimmy, Renan and myself needed to realize our dream didn’t start at the base of the climb. For years, months and weeks as I would run up hills and repeat climbs I visualized our team on the side of the cliff, making progress one pitch at a time. The energy and excitement was key to our success. Had we not visualized and dreamed about our climb we would never have gotten started.

For many alpine climbing is a frivolous and dangerous pursuit. Why embrace the cold in an unrelenting sea of gravity? From my personal perspective I’ll never be able to answer that question. Just knowing that I’m drawn to unknown is enough. If I knew the answer it wouldn’t be the same. It would be easy and boring. The underpinnings of why are tied in with risk, uncertainty, challenge, hardship, courage, determination, fortitude and, through it all, happiness.

Finding happiness through difficulty might seem like madness to most people. Yet for the few that want something more out of life, it is the path we must follow. Madness is adventure, adventure leads to self-discovery and self-discovery is the basis of happiness.