The legendary Lynn Hill was born on this day in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan, which makes her 58 years old.
Hill is regarded as one of the best climbers of her generation, with a number of world cup competition wins to her name. She’s made the first ascent of dozens of hard trad and sport routes and she made the first free ascent of The Nose 5.14 on El Cap.
Hill also made the second free ascent of The Nose in 1994 in under 24 hours, which she wrote about in an autobiography, Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.
Happy birthday @_linacolina_ 🥂🎉🎂💃🏽🧗🏻♀️😘! You’re the most inspiring person I ever met in life. Please keep your positive vibes, tons of laughs and craziness! The 5 weeks we spent together last year in the valley deeply affected me. Thanks so much for everything 😘 #legendlynn #yourock #yosemite #noseproject 📸 @jonglassberg and @ninacaprez
“Climbing is my therapy, it allows me to stay healthy and to be happy at nearly every level of existence,” said Hill. “And what climbing does not bring me in terms of life balance I have been able to find in other aspects of my life with my son, my family, my friends and through various projects that I am now working on.”
Hill has competed as a gymnast and runner and roped up at the age of 14. By the late 1970s she was climbing near the top standards of the day.
In 1979, Hill became the first woman to send 5.12d with her ascent of Ophir Broke with John Long. In 1990, she sent Masse Critique and became the first woman to send 5.14a. Two years later, she became the first woman to onsight 5.13b with a tick of Simon at Frankenjura. She was the first woman to send Midnight Lightning V8 in Yosemite and To Bolt or Not to Be 5.14a in Smith Rock.
Over the next few years she would go on to make the first ascents of many hard routes with various partners, including Stairway to Heaven 5.12 at Tahquitz Peak, Hidden Arch 5.12a at Joshua Tree, Levitation 29 5.11 at Red Rock, Yellow Crack 5.12R/X at the Gunks and Vandals 5.13b at the Gunks.
In the mountains, she made the first ascent of Perestroika Crack 5.12b on Peak SLesova in Kyrgyzstan and the first ascent of Bravo les Filles IV 5.13d A0 on Tsaranoro Massif in Madagascar with Nancy Feagin, Kath Pyke, and Beth Rodden.
In 2018, Hill’s free ascent of The Nose turned 25 years old and while much has changed, some things have stayed the same, such as the route’s test-piece status in the world of hard rock climbing. Watch Hill interview Chris Sharma here.
Hill has been a guest at the White House and has been featured on numerous television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman and has contributed essays in books such as, The Meaning of Life, Voices from the Summit and Fifty Favorite Climbs.
Hill continues to inspire and connect with climbers everywhere she travels to. She’s been one of our favourite climbers since the first issue of Gripped 20 years ago and we wish her a happy birthday!