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Sam Elias



Sam’s own words define his high-energy dedication to climbing: “The quest to understand myself through athletic pursuits has deeply enriched my life…As a result I feel a responsibility to explore and express myself through these realms for as long as I am capable and motivated.”

Sam Elias



This 28-year-old American climber has jam-packed his life with a childhood raised on competitive alpine ski racing, a double degree from the College of Idaho in Biology and Art/Ceramics, and a globetrotting taste for seeking out new sport climbing routes with ratings as high as 5.14c. He’s shown a mastery of the winter climbing too, dangling from the tips of his ice axes on M12+ and WI6, and earning Second Place in the 2010 Ouray Ice Climbing Comp, in Colorado.

His quest to seek out the finest cliffs of the world – preferably limestone, the champagne of rock for sportclimbing - has taken him to remote outposts throughout Europe, Venezuela, Turkey, and Asia. Traversing Russia by train to compete in a World Cup Ice Climbing Competition in Kirov is all part of the ride of life for Sam. He maintains a lively and well illustrated blog of his climbs, travels, and musings at


Favorite Snack: Peanut Butter crackers or Fig Newtons

Favorite Book: The Alchemist

Three Things People Should Know About Me:

  1. I can be intense and serious, even standoffish
  2. I try to give more than I take
  3. I try to live my years, my months, my days, and even hours doing exactly what I want to do.

Inspiration Within the Sport: Effort that demonstrates relentless commitment, my friends, and new places

Favorite Destination for Your Sport: Red River Gorge and Rifle

Favorite Movie: What the Bleep Do We Know!?, Man on Wire

Favorite Magazine: National Geographic

Favorite Piece of Your Sport’s History: Invention of climbing shoes and sticky rubber

Words to Live By: Trust thyself

Three TNF Products You Always Pack: TNF Jeans, TNF t shirt, TNF hoodie…because I use each, everyday, for everything,

Which Causes are you Passionate About: UNICEF, HERA, Invisible Children, GlobalGiving

Proudest Moment of Your Career: Becoming a part of The North Face.

Favorite Climb: Living the Dream, Rifle, CO

Favorite Music: Electronic, ambient, jazz, classical, metal

Favorite Vice at Basecamp: At the moment: Scotch and S’mores


  • Skiing since I was 2 ½ years old
  • Attended college on an academic and athletic (alpine ski racing) scholarship
  • Double majoring in Biology and Art/Ceramics, and minoring in Chemistry

Since starting climbing in 2005:

  • Climbing up to 5.13c within a year, and 5.14a in 2
  • Red points up to 5.14c
  • On sights up to 5.13c
  • ce up to WI6
  • Mixed up to M12+
  • First ascents up to 5.14b and M12
  • 2nd place in 2010 Ouray Ice competition