Peter Croft is one of Canada’s top all-time climbers with a number of important firsts over the past 30 years.
In the book Fifty Favorite Climbs: The Ultimate North American Tick List, Croft listed The Evolution Traverse VI 5.9, a link-up of Mount Mendel, Mount Darwin, Mount Haeckel, Mount Fiske, Mount Warlow and Mount Huxley as one of his favourite climbs in.
In 2000, legendary climber Royal Robbins said the following about Croft: “Peter has been my hero for many years, ever since he came blazing out of nowhere with his stunning free solo ascent of Astroman on Washington Column in Yosemite. Tom Frost and I had made the second ascent of this route, mostly with direct aid in the early sixties.”
Bad ass Tami Knight leads Exasperator 5.10 in Squamish in the 1980s with Peter Croft belaying. Photo @pat_morrow_photo. By Tami: “There aren’t enough objective hazards in rock climbing. There should be more. I vote for genetically enhancing Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis) so they can survive in cold, mountain climates and then distribute the animals into popular climbing areas. Rock climbing would become more exciting as climbers have to create strategies not just to climb but to keep from being eaten while climbing.” This route is in our new book Northern Stone. More on that later. #climbing #badass #womenwhoclimb #legend #climbingdragon #petercroft #tamiknight #northernstone65
Robbins continued: “That one could climb this route without resorting to direct aid was impressive. To do it without a rope was astonishing. But such was Peter’s level of mastery. That it was mastery, and not mere daring was proven by a string of free solos of similar stature, executed to perfection.”
In 2008, Croft and Conrad Anker made the first ascent of Solar Flare, a demanding 5.12 in the Sierras.
He wrote the following about the climb: “I started this route with Eli Stein, climbing a couple of pitches on a semi-rest day. I came back with Kevin Calder and again with Nils Davis, exploring higher. It really came together when Conrad Anker came out to play in late August. Jimmy Chin and Jimmy Surette also came as cameramen to make us feel important, or just self-conscious.
“Fresh from Everest, Conrad immediately showed that wallowing up snow hummocks is excellent training for fingery granite. After a couple of days of exploratory flailing Conrad and I climbed Solar Flare (V 5.12+) with storm clouds moving in, cameras rolling, and me climbing embarrassed in skin-tight long johns (the warmest pants I had).” Watch below.
10 Croft Climbing Highlights
First ascent of Solar Flare 5.12, Incredible Hulk, 2008
First ascent of Venturi Effect 5.12+, High Sierra, 2004
First ascent of the Evolution Traverse, the Sierras, 2000
First one-day link-up of the Nose and Salathé Wall on El Capitan, Yosemite, 1992
First free ascent of Moonlight Buttress 5.12d/13a, 1991
First free ascent of the Shadow 5.13, onsight of crux pitch, 1988
First free solo link-up of Astroman and the Rostrum, 1987
First one-day link-up of the Nose of El Capitan and Half Dome, Yosemite, 1986
First traverse of the Waddington Range, 1985
First free ascent of University Wall 5.12, Squamish, 1982