Yvon Chouinard first came onto my radar in 1999.
I was a young lass from the Midwest, transplanted for the summer in southern Utah and awestruck by the dramatic landscapes of the West. Having never traveled beyond the forests of Missouri, I was eager to explore these wild mountains, deserts, and rivers. I soon discovered what would become my greatest passion: rock climbing.
My early climbing mentors taught me lessons in balance and delicate footwork during the day, and recounted stories of the Yosemite Golden Age rock legends over the campfire at night. The names of Salathé, Frost, Robbins, Pratt, and Chouinard were brought to life, through tales of near-mythical ascents up immense granite walls I couldn’t even begin to imagine tackling.
[Yvon Chouinard holds forth at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Photo: Anthony Clark.]