Kendal Preview: Lynn Hill

© Sarah Burmester /

One of the highlights of the 2011 Kendal Mountain Festival is the appearance of Lynn Hill.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A FREE CLIMBER - Saturday 19 November 20:00 to 21:30- buy tickets

Lynn Hill on the last pitch of the Nose Free, Yosemite  © Lynn Hill collection
Lynn Hill on the last pitch of the Nose Free, Yosemite
© Lynn Hill collection
Lynn Hill is perhaps the world's most accomplished female rock climber. She was born in Detroit in 1961, and spent her childhood in California where she she started climbing at the age of 14 with her older brother and sister.

Her initial forays on to rock in 1975 were extended when Hill got her own car:

"I would sometimes venture out to more distant places like the Needles or Mount Woodson, and during my last years of high school, I spent my summers climbing in Yosemite for as long as my limited savings would allow." she commented on the Patagonia Website.

It was Yosemite where Hill was really to make her name, with one of the most coveted climbing feats in the world: the first free ascent of the Nose on El Capitan, in 1993.

The magnitude of this feat is hard to conceive, but Hill suceeded where all others, including the world's top male climbers, had tried and failed.

The following year Lynn went on to climb all of the pitches of the Nose free in a single day.

Hill also participated in the early international climbing competitions where she won the Arco Rock Master 5 times, the World Cup in 1989 and several other international competitions, but it is for her big-wall exploits that she is most widely known.

However it hasn't all been plain sailing for Hill. An avoidable accident at the famous limestone sport cliff of Buoux in southern France nearly put an end to her career before it had begun. Hill took a ground fall from the top of the Styx wall due to not tying in to the rope correctly. The fall of over 25m was partially broken by a tree and Lynn remarkably came away with just a broken ankle, a dislocated arm and cuts and bruises.

Hill's autobiography, Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World, was published in 2002.

VIDEO: Lynn Hill Interview with Jim Clash

Climbing Achievements (from the Patagonia Website)

(FFA = first free ascent)
(FA = first ascent)
(Team Free = leader free climbs and the second cleans the pitch)

FFA of Ophir Broke (5.12d) in Telluride, CO, '79
FFA of Pea Brain (5.12d) at Independence Pass, CO, 79'
FFA of Stairway to Heaven (5.12) at Tahquitz Rock, CA, 79'
FFA of Coatamundi White-Out (5.12) at Granite Mountain, AZ, 80'
FFA of Levitation 29 (5.11) at Red Rocks, NV, 81'
FFA of Hidden Arch (5.12a) in Joshua Tree, CA, 81'
FFA of Blue Nubian (5.11) in Joshua Tree, CA, 82'
FFA of Vandals (5.13a) in the Shawangunks, NY, 84'
FFA of Yellow Crack Direct (5.12c) in the Shawangunks, NY, 84'
FFA of Organic Iron (5.12c) in the Shawangunks, NY, 85'
FFA of Tourist Treat (5.12c) in New Hampshire, NY, 85'
FFA of Tweazle Roof (5.12d) in the Shawangunks, NY, 87'
FFA of Girls Just Want to Have Fun (5.12d), 87'
FFA of The Greatest Show on Earth (5.12d) in New River Gorge, WV. 88'
FFA of Running Man (5.13d) in the Shawangunks, NY, 89'
First Woman to climb 5.14a, Masse Critique in Cimai, France 90'
First Woman to on-sight a 5.13b, Simon Frankenjura, Germany 92'
FFA of the Nose route on El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, CA, 93'
First person to free climb the Nose on El Capitan in a day, 94'
FFA on-sight of Mingus (12 pitches 5.13a) in Verdon Gorge, France. 94'
FA of route on a 3550m wall in Kyrgyzstan, 95'
First "team free" ascent of a 4810m wall in Kyrgyzstan, 95'
FA of seven routes on limestone towers of Halong Bay, Vietnam, 96'
FA of Tête de Chou (5.13b) in the Todra Gorge, Morocco, 97'
First Woman to climb the Midnight Lightning in Yosemite, CA, 98'
First Woman to climb To Bolt or Not To Be (5.14a) Smith Rocks, 98'
First Woman to climb Scarface (5.14a) in Smith Rocks, OR, 99'
FA of Bravo Les Filles a 13-pitch route rated (5.13d/A0) on the Tsaranoro Massif in Madagascar, 1999
First Woman to climb Sprayathon (5.13c) in Rifle, CO, 2003
FA of Viva La Libertad (5.12b) in Viñales, Cuba, 2004

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2011

Kendal Mountain Festival - Ticket Information, Lectures, market research, commercial notices Premier Post, 8 weeks @ GBP 25pw


The dates are 17 to 20 November and tickets are available now. Book online - - or by phone 01539 725133 - news as it happens at


Easily accessible from the M6 and by train and there are plenty of accommodation options in and around the town but you need to be on your toes as they fill up very quickly over the Mountain Festival weekend.

For all your questions, accommodation and travel needs go to here you will find all the information you should need for your visit to Cumbria, alternatively call the accommodation booking line on 0845 450 1199.

More news about Kendal Mountain Festival

kendal Mountain festival Sponsors 2011  © KMF
Kendal Mountain Festival Sponsors 2011

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18 Oct, 2011
"FA of route on a 3550m wall in Kyrgyzstan, 95'" Really?
18 Oct, 2011
Anyone else find it a bit weird that the TV guide introduces her as "a woman that can out-climb most men" like that is her main achievement/goal
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