You don’t have to look far to find rock climbing celebrities as of February 2020.
Why’s that? Well, it could be for a variety of reasons. It’s long been cool to be a rock climber. Then some guy named Alex Honnold came along and, I dunno, something about climbing the 3,000 foot El Capitan with no gear?
Then they made a film called ‘Free Solo’. It won an Oscar, and now rock climbing celebrities are all around us! Call it the Dawn of Rock Climbing Celebrities, but there are a whole lot of famous people like Jason Momoa and Jared Leto who love nothing more than to put chalk to rock and get their climb on.
So who are they? Let’s find out…
These Rock Climbing Celebrities Climb Better Than You (Unless You’re Alex Honnold or Chris Sharma – Or Sasha DiGuilian)
A little clarity before we go further. The term ‘Rock Climbing Celebrities’ applies to any dude or girl who’s famous and/or known for climbing big rocks.
There’s a caveat to that: we’re looking for famous people that climb in the great outdoors. It’s easy(ish) to hit a rock wall at your local climbing gym. It’s a lot harder to grab your balls and slog a 100 foot boulder.
Plenty of celebrities are known for indoor rock climbing. Brie Larson, Keira Knightley and even Lara Croft herself, Angelina Jolie, have done that. But if we’re looking for the baddest of the bad (in a bad-ass way) among rock climbing celebrities, it’s these dudes and ladies on this rather short list:
1 – Jason Momoa
You know him as Aquaman and the dude who will bitch slap you back to the Stone Age for even looking at sharks the wrong way, but give Jason Momoa a slab of rock and he’ll climb it with gusto. You’ve likely seen some of his indoor exploits on Instagram. Well, if you’re in the LA area, you may see him on the crags as well.
Big Climbs: Momoa has a thing for climbing at Malibu Creek State Park just outside Los Angeles. He’s also been seen climbing in Spain’s Savassona region – and on both climbs, he’s hanging with Chris Sharma (one of two stunt doubles who climbed Angel Falls in Point Break for the Master of 6 Lives scenes if you’re a student of the Ozaki 8).
Call him Aquaman, call him Khal Drogo. Pick your title, you can also add one of the most fervent ‘Rock Climbing Celebrities’ to that rather skull-crushing list.
2 – David Lee Roth (From Van Halen)
He’s old enough to be your grandfather, but Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth can boulder with the best of’em. But what separates 65 year-old Diamond Dave from everyone else on this list (with all due respect) is he was a rock hound long before that thing called Instagram, or some other thing called ‘the Internet’.
Roth’s rock climbing prowess has long been known on the Climbing scene. In fact, it was that devotion to climbing and his other passion, making jammin’ 80s tunes, that almost killed him.
Big Climbs: Roth started climbing with the Boy Scouts when he was 11. But he’s best known for a 1988 video shoot at Half Dome in Yosemite (yup, where Alex Honnold did his climb and not far from where the late Dean Potter died on a wing suit flight).
It’s a bitch of a climb, and if things go bad, well that’s pretty much it.
The shoot, which you’ll see on the video for ‘Paradise’, required Dave to lower himself on a piton (a climbing aid) that was just barely hammered in to the rock surface. Despite his concerns, his crew coaxed him to hang off the piton, get the shot, and Voila – the cover art for Roth’s Skyscraper album was set in history.
I want to be very clear about something. David Lee Roth is a stud and I f**king worship the ground he walks on. Any questions?
3 – Jared Leto
Jared Leto is another rock climbing celebrity and one of the more hardcore folks at that. Leto and Honnold first started climbing in 2015 – two years before Honnold’s famous climb up El Capitan.
You don’t have to look far to see the two climbing together. And Leto hangs with other folks in the climbing community, including Sasha DiGuilian and Tommy Caldwell (Chris Sharma’s stunt climbing partner in Point Break). In fact, blink and you’ll miss it, but he’s got a brief cameo in Free Solo.
Big Climbs: Lots. Leto has climbed Yosemite (Mathes Crest and El Capitan), Red Rock Valley (where he almost fell and met his end) and Monserrat in Spain.
Should we forgive him for Suicide Squad?
4 – Zac Efron
Here’s another surprise rock climbing celebrity. Well OK, maybe it’s not so much of a shock that Zac Efron is a major rock climber when you consider he once dived with a Tiger Shark (you beat me on that one Zac, although I went shark cage diving in California with Great Whites, so we’re kinda even).
Turns out Zac Efron is a bit of a rock jock too. He’s a regular at the climbing gym and outdoors at hotspots like this.
Big Climbs: Um, this?
5 – Jessica Biel
There are plenty of ass-kicking women on the cliffs of late. Jessica Biel is one of them. Well OK, technically she’s more of a mountaineer at the moment, but she’s already done the first of the Seven Summits, and rumour is she’s got her sights on Everest.
She’s got plenty of company for that.
Big Climbs: Biel climbed Kilimanjaro in 2010 in unusually difficult conditions for the normally benign route. She was so moved by her achievement that she wept at the top. Soon after she declared her interest in Everest, although that was 10 years ago and I’m not sure if she hit her goal.
6 – Eliza Dushku
Eliza Dushku has always been the active type in her roles, and rock climbing seems to be part of her training. Like other rock climbing celebrities, she’s no stranger to the climbing gym, and she revealed on Facebook her climbing name is #TheTarantula.
Hi Eliza, you can call me #GuyWhoLovesSharksButCantThinkOfAGoodNickNameAtTheMoment
7 – Mariel Hemingway
You’re forgiven if the name doesn’t jingle your hippocampus, but you’ve definitely heard of her Grandfather (and if you haven’t, I ain’t gonna go there): Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers of all time.
Well, his granddaughter is a respected actress in her own right, and Mariel Hemingway is actually a pretty good rock climber too. She originally took it up for her mental health and her climber boyfriend only accelerated her love of things that look like boulders.
Of the rock climbing celebrities we’ve talked about, she’s in the top 3.
Big Climbs: Mariel Hemingway is from California. She’s done Yosemite, the Buttermilks, Joshua Tree and Malibu State Park.
Seriously, if you really want to meet a celeb that climbs stuff, the safest thing to do at the moment is to hit up the latter.
So Who is the Best Rock Climbing Celebrity?
Well not that I would make this into a contest, but David Lee Roth is probably the most accomplished rock climber we’ve talked about. Much of that is age, experience, and the fact that I f**king love him.
Plus it’s my blog, and I say he’s the best.
He’s got competition though. Both Jason Momoa and Jared Leto are among the most active rock climbing celebrities for the money. Among the women, I’d say Mariel Hemingway.
OK, enough chat. Let’s finish with some wicked 80s rock already.