The mountains are a place that draw people to them. From day trippers to hard core adventurers it’s a place for everyone to explore! I adore the mountains, they draw me in and get me to push myself and try harder. While I’ve played on and explored mountains all over the world, from Pakistan to New Zealand. The biggest of them are still out of my reach but there are people out there doing what I dream of! These inspiring mountaineers are pushing the limits, climbing for purpose and inspiring everyone to look at the world in a different way. So if you’re like me and often feel the pull of the mountains, get inspired by people’s adventures and love to follow incredible mountaineers on their journey. Then here are 10 inspiring mountaineers you should be watching right now!
A Pro Ski Mountaineer and solid adventurer this women is doing big things. While her epic career in skiing is of course impressive in itself, her attitude towards the outdoors and equality is brilliant. Her addiction to big mountains was the first hook to draw me in. Adding that she is also incredible grounded, easy to relate to and using her platform to advocate for things I’m also passionate about kept me coming back for more.
Caroline Gleich is currently attempting to climb, summit and ski back down Everest. Climbing Mount Everest itself is a great feat, but she’s not just doing it to tick off a mountain bucketlist moment, she’s using the climb to campaign for equality on mountains. Her campaign #climbforequality is amazing and a breathe of fresh air. She is opening up and shedding light on the differences not just facing women in the outdoors, but also in other aspects of life. But Caroline is not tarnishing men at all, but just demanding everyone should treated equal and be offered the same opportunities.
Following her climb on Mount Everest is going to be awesome! Posting regularly on Instagram about her journey you will follow her up the mountain, be there on the good times, the bad times and the real moments. So if you are looking for an inspiring mountaineer to follow, Caroline Gleich is one of them!
Popping up on National Geographic’s Instagram page, his photography was the first thing that blew me away. Venturing onto his profile and reading about his adventures, misadventures and daily life had me hooked. Cory Richards is a daring adventurist and all round earth lover with a passion for photography. He captures moments that others would miss and his art has taken him around the world and up the worlds tallest mountains. Including Mount Everest! This year, Cory Richards is climbing a new route on Everest which has never been done before. Him and his partner Topo (who I talk about below) if successful will create a new route on the mountain and go down in history. It is an exciting adventure but one which will be extremely dangerous for them both.
Recording their adventure on Instagram, Cory Richard’s will keep you gripped to the screen. But it’s not just his mountaineering and photography skills that will capture you. His honestly about mental health, the environment and training for trips like Everest are honest and refreshing. Despite his number of followers he stays very grounded and real, one of the truly inspiring mountaineer out there!
This badass chick is killing it in pretty much every sport she does! A Pro Rock Climber by trade but a skilled skier, mountaineer and general adventurer, I love following her adventures. Currently tackling routes in Yosemite on El Cap after spending a season skiing big mountains in Japan. Her adventures take her around the world and she is constantly inspiring me and many others to not just get outside, but to try new sports!
Relatively quiet on social media but when she is active her stories are honest, raw and real. She gives a glimpse into the pressures and every day life as a pro athlete and the challenges that can come with it as well as the glory. Emily Harrington is in my list of inspiring mountaineers because she’s climbed the biggest mountains, skied hardcore routes and taken the time off when she needs it. But she lives for the outdoors and the community it can make. It’s rare that you’ll watch a story of her just Netflix and chilling, she’s always on an adventure or planning the next one.
Whether you like to climb big mountains, hike them or scale big rocks. Emily Harrington is a daring and inspiring mountaineer in my books!
As I’m writing this Don Bowie has become the first Canadian to summit Annapurna in the Himalaya’s! Don Bowie did so without supplemental oxygen and was self supported. This is an amazing feat in itself because of the dangers this mountain poses. Although it doesn’t stand as tall as Everest, more people have summitted Everest than Annapurna. So congratulations to this inspiring mountaineer!
His latest success was a long time in the making. After several failed attempts he finally succeeded but along the journey there has been a lot of personal mountains to climb. His documentation of his adventures and life on Instagram is really inspiring. Don Bowie doesn’t glorify the mountain, you can sense the deep respect and knowledge on each post he makes. He inspires me to improve my knowledge and reminds me daily that the mountain doesn’t think about the people climbing on it.
A hardcore adventure lover from Norway this women has summited all seven 8000m peaks, as well as many more magnificent mountains around the world. But it’s not just mountains, Cecilie Skog finished the first unassisted and unsupported crossing of Antarctica in 2002! She is truly unstoppable with an inspiring presence and a pretty heartbreaking backstory. I’ve only recently stumbled upon Cecilie Skog and although I can’t translate her Instagram posts, the times I do venture into google translate to read what she’s saying it always inspires me to get outside. She is making the most of life, spending it outside, taking more people with her, doing some incredible adventures and introducing her kids to it all as well! She is one of my the most inspiring mountaineers I’ve come across!
Injured by robbers who pushed her out a moving train, she lost her leg. Once a professional volleyball player her injury meant she could no longer play. But instead of falling into self pity she was determined to climb every continent’s highest peak and plant an Indian flag at the top! Her story itself is incredibly inspiring, the adventures she has gone on since then are just mind-blowing and incredible. I would recommend reading her story in full, it just gives you such a good idea of the obstacles she has had to overcome to get to where she is now.
Completing her final continent summit in January of 2019. She now devotes time to working with various social welfare charities as well as planning to open a sports academy for the poor and differently abled. She is not active on social media but her stories are everywhere and that is so worth reading. So go and read Arunima Sinha’s stories and you’ll understand why she is on my list of inspiring mountaineers.
The first African American and the first black woman from anywhere in the world to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Sophia is a keen mountaineer and climber who has tackled peaks all over the world! Sophia Danenberg is a real inspiration and a role model to boost not just gender equality in the outdoors, but race as well! She is now pretty off the grid and climbs mountains in her spare time. But she is still one of the most inspiring mountaineers out there that everyone should know about! You can find her on Instagram sharing her everyday life, passion for the earth and the environment and of course, mountain protections.
Through following some of these other inspiring mountaineers Adrian Ballinger reached my sights. His account stuck with me because of this epic adventure he was planning at the time. Climbing Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen! Together with Cory Richards they documented the whole thing through SnapChat (remember that?). Used #EverestNoFilter on Instagram and quickly gathered a huge following. But this is not his first venture into the outdoors. Adrian Ballinger is owner and expedition leader for Alpineglow Expeditions in the USA. After climbing huge peaks around the world he now helps other people achieve their dreams of standing a top them as well. From mountains to snow he dabbles in everything and is on the constant look out for new adventures. His hilarious out take on life, real stories and sharing of the ‘boring bits’ makes him worth a watch!
You can feel the passion he has for the outdoors when he talks about it. And you feel it when he is on expeditions. This year his plan is to climb K2, one of the worlds hardest and most dangerous peaks. He is going to attempt this after managing and guiding a season on Everest as well. Which to me, is insane, but in a good way!
Esteban “Topo” Mena
Often named as one of the best mountain guides in the world, Topo is one inspiring mountaineer! With multiple 8000m peaks under his belt and constantly on the hunt for new challenges, he’s certainly not boring. Currently holding the record for the youngest person ever to summit Aconcagua’s South Face and has lead clients up Cho Oyu and Everest in 30 days! This is the guy you want to be around for some mountain inspiration. This year, along with his partner Cory Richards, he is attempting a new route on Everest! I am stoked to watch this adventure play out.
Topo is in my list of inspiring mountaineers not just because he is an epic climber and mountaineer. But also because of his laid back and hilarious attitude to the challenges he faces. His very real sharing on Instagram on what his projects are and the risks involved make the adventures worth watching. This year is going to be one of his most challenging climbs yet, but the solid friendship he shares with Cory will definitely get them to the top. I highly recommend you follow Topo’s Instagram for all the inside details on his climb up Everest and the many more adventures to follow!
Melissa Arnot Reid
If you can say you’ve climbed Mount Everest once, that’s pretty cool. But to summit it more than six time, you’re a bad ass. Melissa is that badass. Working as a professional mountain guide all over the world, she has summited some pretty amazing mountains. The places she visits are inspiring in themselves but she is also an inspiring figure. Now a new mum she is determined to keep her adventures going while also caring for her newborn. Juggling family life and a career as an international mountain guide must be hard and honestly, it’s one of the reason she’s made it onto this list.
If you follow her Instagram you’ll find inspiring posts and messages of support, encouraging everyone to get outside. As well as a personal side giving you an insight to everyday life. While some inspiring mountaineers choose to keep that part of their life away from everyone, she embraces letting people in. Melisa was the first American Women to summit Mount Everest and descend it without supplemental oxygen, which is incredible!
As a women myself, it’s awesome to see younger role models doing things I’m only dreaming of. But because they are doing it, it feels so much more in my reach. So if you’re looking to get inspired and get started in the outdoors, definitely check out Melissa Reid.
Who are your inspiring mountaineers?
This list of inspiring mountaineers are people I currently follow, read about and watch on the screen. Without the pleasure of meeting them I don’t really know them in real life. But I like to think they would still inspire me as much as they do now. Getting into the outdoors is a way of my life, and the next stage in that is definitely playing on bigger mountains. These mountaineers inspire and educate me everyday about life in the mountains! And I hope they inspire some of you too.
This is not the official list of inspiring mountaineers because, everyone is different! I’m always on the hunt for new, outdoorsy people to follow. So tell me, who inspires you to get into the mountains?