Famous 20th Century Mountaineers

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 1 
Edmund Hillary
(One of the First Climbers to Have Reached the Summit of Mount Everest)
Edmund Hillary
6
Birthdate: July 20, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Died: January 11, 2008
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the top of Mount Everest, as part of the British expedition led by John Hunt. Hillary also reached both the poles. He later served as an ambassador to Nepal and founded the Himalayan Trust to help the people of Nepal.
 2 
Rob Hall
(Mountaineer)
Rob Hall
16
Birthdate: January 14, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Died: May 11, 1996

Rob Hall was a New Zealand mountaineer and the head guide of a Mount Everest expedition in 1996, during which he died along with two clients and a fellow guide. The ill-fated expedition was dramatized in the film Everest where Rob Hall was played by actor Jason Clarke.

 3 
George Mallory
(British Mountaineer Who Took Part in the First Three British Expeditions to Mount Everest in the Early 1920s)
George Mallory
6
Birthdate: June 18, 1886
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobberly, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 9, 1924
A leading member of early expeditions to Mount Everest, George Mallory disappeared on the mountain while trying to reach the summit, along with Sandy Irvine. Mallory succeeded or not, it still remains a subject of research and speculation, yet he left footprints on the sands of time. 
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 4 
Scott Fischer
(First American to Summit Mt. Lhotse)
Scott Fischer
8
Birthdate: December 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Muskegon, Michigan, United States
Died: May 11, 1996

American mountaineer Scott Fischer was known for scaling the highest peaks of the world, including Mt. Everest and K2, without using oxygen cans. He later became a mountain guide and co-launched his own adventure travel company Mountain Madness. He died in a blizzard while guiding a group of clients to Mt. Everest.

 5 
Jon Krakauer
(Journalist, Explorer, Writer)
Jon Krakauer
8
Birthdate: April 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States

Best known for his bestselling novels such as Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer is not just an author who writes about the outdoors but is also a mountaineer himself. He was part of the 1996 expedition to Mt. Everest which witnessed 4 of the team members dying in a storm.

 6 
Reinhold Messner
(The First Person to Climb All Fourteen Mt. Peaks Over 8,000 Metres)
Reinhold Messner
6
Birthdate: September 17, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brixen, Italy

Italian mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner teamed up with Austrian mountaineer Peter Habeler to be the first to climb Mount Everest without using oxygen cylinders. He is also the first to complete a solo ascent of Everest and the first to climb all the 14 mountain peaks that stand above 8000m.

 7 
Yasuko Namba
(Mountaineer)
Yasuko Namba
6
Birthdate: February 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: May 11, 1996
 8 
Heinrich Harrer
(Mountaineer)
Heinrich Harrer
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hüttenberg, Austria
Died: January 7, 2006

Austrian mountaineer, sportsman, geographer, and author Heinrich Harrer was part of the climbing team that made the first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger. He took part in expeditions to Alaska, the Andes, and the Mountains of the Moon in central Africa in his later years. As a writer, he published Seven Years in Tibet. 

 9 
Yvon Chouinard
(American Environmentalist, Rock Climber, and Philanthropist)
Yvon Chouinard
5
Birthdate: November 9, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lewiston, Maine, United States

Yvon Chouinard is an American environmentalist, rock climber, outdoor industry businessman, and philanthropist. He is credited with founding Patagonia, Inc., a company which aims at protecting the environment. An adventurer, Yvon Chouinard is also fond of tenkara fly-fishing, surfing, and kayaking.

 10 
Arne Naess, Jr.
(Businessman, Mountaineer)
Arne Naess, Jr.
4
Birthdate: December 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Germany
Died: January 13, 2004
 11 
Tenzing Norgay
(Nepali-Indian Sherpa Mountaineer One of the First People to Set Foot on the Summit of Mount Everest)
Tenzing Norgay
6
Birthdate: May 29, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Khumbu, Nepal
Died: May 9, 1986

Nepali-Indian Sherpa mountaineer, Tenzing Norgay, was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the other being Edmund Hillary. He was named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine. In his later years, he became the first Director of Field Training of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

 12 
Dean Potter
(American Alpinist, Free Climber, Highliner, and BASE Jumper)
Dean Potter
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, United States
Died: May 16, 2015

Dean Potter was an American alpinist, free climber, highliner, and BASE jumper. He completed many free solo ascents, hard first ascents, enchainments, and speed ascents in Patagonia and Yosemite National Park. Dean Potter died in Yosemite National Park in a wingsuit flying accident in 2015 at the age of 43.

 13 
Conrad Anker
(Rock climber, Mountaineer)
Conrad Anker
5
Birthdate: November 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: California, United States

A passionate mountaineer and rock climber, Conrad Anker led The North Face for 26 years. He almost died of a heart attack while climbing the Lunag Ri on the borders of the Nepalese Himalayas. He is now also associated with various charitable trusts, such as the Rowell Fund for Tibet.

 14 
Jimmy Chin
(American Photographer, Mountain Athlete, Author, and Filmmaker)
Jimmy Chin
6
Birthdate: October 12, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mankato, Minnesota, United States

Jimmy Chin is an American photographer, mountain athlete, author, and filmmaker. He has been a professional climber for over 20 years, during which he has taken part in expeditions around the world. His book of photography There and Back, featuring his career in the mountains, was a New York Times Best Seller. Chin is also known for his documentary, Meru.

 15 
Tom Ballard
(Mountaineer)
Tom Ballard
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Belper, Derbyshire, England
Died: March 9, 2019
 16 
Francys Arsentiev
(First Woman from the US to Reach the Summit of Mount Everest Without the Aid of Bottled Oxygen)
Francys Arsentiev
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Honolulu
Died: May 24, 1998

Francys Arsentiev was an American mountaineer. In 1998, she became the first American woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest sans the aid of bottled oxygen. Unfortunately, she died during the descent. Prior to her ascent of the Everest, Francys Arsentiev had climbed many Russian Peaks along with her husband Sergei Arsentiev.

 17 
Junko Tabei
(Explorer, Mountaineer)
Junko Tabei
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Miharu
Died: October 20, 2016
 18 
Alex Lowe
(Mountaineer and Climber Who was Widely Considered the 'Best' Climber of His Day)
Alex Lowe
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frederick, Maryland, United States
Died: October 5, 1999

Alex Lowe was an American mountaineer who was admired and respected by his peers for doing exceptionally well in every aspect of mountaineering. He was associated with the North Face climbing team for nearly 10 years and is credited with inspiring an entire generation of climbers. In 1995, Lowe was honored by the American Alpine Club with the Underhill Award.

 19 
Lincoln Hall
(Mountain climber)
Lincoln Hall
3
Birthdate: December 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Canberra, Australia
Died: March 20, 2012
 20 
Ed Viesturs
(The Only American to Have Climbed All 14 of the World's Eight-Thousander Mountain Peaks)
Ed Viesturs
3
Birthdate: June 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rockford

Ed Viesturs is an American high-altitude mountaineer, author, and corporate speaker. He is the only mountaineer from the USA to have climbed all 14 eight-thousander mountain peaks in the world. In 1992, Viesturs was honored by the American Alpine Club with the David A. Sowles Memorial Award. In 2005, Ed Viesturs was adjudged National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year.

 21 
Wanda Rutkiewicz
(The First Woman to Reach the Summit of K2 and the Third Woman To Climb Mount Everest)
Wanda Rutkiewicz
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Plungė, Lithuania
Died: May 13, 1992
 22 
Apa Sherpa
(Nepalese Mountaineer Who Retired After Summiting Mount Everest 21 Times)
Apa Sherpa
3
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Thame

Apa Sherpa is a Nepalese mountaineer who held the record for reaching the peak of Mount Everest on more number of occasions than any other person until 2017. He retired after summiting Everest 21 times, a record that was broken by Kami Rita Sherpa. Apa is credited with co-founding The Apa Sherpa Foundation, which aims at improving economy in Nepal.  

 23 
Hannelore Schmatz
(Mountaineer)
Hannelore Schmatz
5
Birthdate: February 16, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Regensburg
Died: October 2, 1979
 24 
Peter Hillary
(Mountaineer, Philanthropist and Writer)
Peter Hillary
3
Birthdate: December 26, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Auckland

The son of legendary New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary, Peter Hillary followed in his father’s footsteps and became a successful mountaineer. He and his father were the first father-son duo to scale Mt. Everest. An author and philanthropist, too, he has helped people in the Mt. Everest region in Nepal.

 25 
Jerzy Kukuczka
(Mountaineer)
Jerzy Kukuczka
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Katowice
Died: October 24, 1989
 26 
Bachendri Pal
(Mountaineer)
Bachendri Pal
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nakuri, Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, India
 27 
Chris Sharma
(One of the Most Influential and Greatest Climbers of All Time)
Chris Sharma
3
Birthdate: April 23, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Santa Cruz

Chris Sharma is an American rock climber. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest climbers of all time. He is credited with mastering some of the most difficult routes in the history of rock climbing. Chris Sharma is also credited with shaping modern rock climbing.

 28 
Mark Inglis
(The First Double Leg Amputee to Scale Mount Everest)
Mark Inglis
5
Birthdate: September 27, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Zealand

Mark Inglis is a New Zealand mountaineer, winemaker, researcher, and motivational speaker. Also an accomplished cyclist, Inglis won a silver medal at the 2000 Paralympics. In 2006, he became the first double leg amputee to scale Mount Everest. Inglis is also credited with founding a charitable trust called Limbs4All and a sports drink range called PeakFuel.

 29 
Dan Osman
(American Extreme Sport Practitioner Who Popularized the Dangerous Sport of Free-Soloing)
Dan Osman
3
Birthdate: February 11, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Died: November 23, 1998

Dan Osman was an American rock climber and extreme sport practitioner. He is credited with popularizing the dangerous sport of free-soloing. Dan Osman also played an important role in the development of Tahoe's Cave Rock climbing area. Osman died at the age of 35 in Yosemite National Park while performing a free-fall jump.

 30 
Richard Bass
(The First Person to Successfully Climb the 'Seven Summits')
Richard Bass
3
Birthdate: December 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tulsa

Richard Bass was an American mountaineer, rancher, and businessman. He was the first person to successfully climb the 'Seven Summits'. In 1985, Bass reached the peak of Mount Everest, becoming the oldest person to do so at the age of 55. A renowned businessman, Richard Bass owned Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah.

 31 
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa
(The First Nepalese Woman to Reach the Peak of Mount Everest)
Pasang Lhamu Sherpa
2
Birthdate: December 10, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Solukhumbu District
Died: April 22, 1993

Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was a Nepalese mountaineer. In 1993, she became the first Nepalese woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest. However, she lost her life while descending. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa was honored posthumously in various ways by mountaineers around the world. She also became the first woman to receive the prestigious Nepal Tara by the King of Nepal.

 32 
Babu Chiri Sherpa
(Nepalese Mountaineer Who Climbed Mount Everest on 10 Occasions)
Babu Chiri Sherpa
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Taksindu, Solukhumbu District, Nepal
Died: April 29, 2001

Babu Chiri Sherpa was a Nepalese mountaineer best remembered for reaching the peak of Mount Everest on 10 occasions. He was also a humanitarian and environmentalist who wanted to build schools in Nepal. Babu Chiri Sherpa's dream was realized before his death when a school was erected in his home village. 

 33 
Nick Piantanida
(Parachute Jumper)
Nick Piantanida
0
Birthdate: August 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Union City, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 29, 1966

Nick Piantanida was an American parachute jumper. In 1966, he created a record by reaching 123,500 feet with his Strato Jump II balloon, a record that stood until 2012, when it was broken by Felix Baumgartner. Nick Piantanida's life and career inspired the 2015 film Angry Sky, which was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

 34 
David Breashears
(The First Person from the US to Summit Mount Everest More Than Once)
David Breashears
2
Birthdate: December 20, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius

David Breashears is an American filmmaker, mountaineer, motivational speaker, and author. In 1985, Breashears became the first person from the US to summit Mount Everest more than once. David Breashears is best known for directing the 1998 documentary film, Everest.

 35 
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
(Austrian Climber and the 1st Woman to Scale All 14 Eight-Thousanders Without Extra Oxygen)
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kirchdorf an der Krems

Austrian mountaineer and climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner scripted history as the 2nd woman to climb all 14 of the eight-thousanders of the world and the 1st woman to do so without supplemental oxygen. The 2012 National Geographic Explorer of the Year also scaled many peaks with her then-husband, German mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits.

 36 
Peter Wessel Zapffe
(Metaphysician, Mountaineer)
Peter Wessel Zapffe
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1899
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tromsø, Norway
Died: October 12, 1990

Peter Wessel Zapffe was a Norwegian metaphysician, mountaineer, artist, author, and lawyer. He is best remembered for his 1933 essay The Last Messiah which was later included in his 1941 treatise On the Tragic. The essay reflects Peter Wessel Zapffe's philosophically pessimistic view of human existence.

 37 
Warren Harding
(One of the Most Influential and Accomplished Rock Climbers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s)
Warren Harding
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: United States
Died: February 27, 2002

Warren Harding was an American rock climber who is regarded as one of the most influential and accomplished rock climbers of the '50s, '60s, and '70s. In 1958, he led the first team that successfully reached the summit of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Warren Harding also wrote an influential book titled Downward Bound.

 38 
Simone Moro
(Mountaineer, Helicopter pilot)
Simone Moro
2
Birthdate: October 27, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bergamo
 39 
Aleksander Doba
(Canoeist)
Aleksander Doba
0
Birthdate: September 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Swarzędz, Poland
Died: February 22, 2021
 40 
Walter Bonatti
(Mountaineer Known for Solo Climb of 'Aiguille du Dru')
Walter Bonatti
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bergamo, Italy
Died: September 13, 2011

Walter Bonatti was an Italian explorer, mountain climber, and journalist. He made a solo climb of a new route on the southwest pillar of the Aiguille du Dru in August 1955, among other achievements. He retired from mountaineering at the age of 35 and pursued a career as a reporter. He also wrote several books on mountaineering.    

 41 
John Hunt, Baron Hunt
(British Army Officer Who Led the Successful 1953 British Expedition to 'Mount Everest')
John Hunt, Baron Hunt
1
Birthdate: June 22, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shimla, India
Died: November 7, 1998

British army officer John Hunt, or Baron Hunt, was granted special leave to plan and lead the British expedition to Mount Everest in May 1953. While Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay climbed to the top of Everest, he remained at the base camp. He also taught as a mountain warfare instructor.

 42 
Edward Whymper
(Mountaineer)
Edward Whymper
2
Birthdate: April 27, 1840
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: September 16, 1911
 43 
Hermann Buhl
(Austrian Mountaineer and Legendary Alpinist Who Was the First to Conquer the Nanga Parbat)
Hermann Buhl
2
Birthdate: September 21, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Innsbruck
Died: June 27, 1957

Austrian mountaineer Hermann Buhl was the first man to successfully climb the Nanga Parbat ijn the Himalayas, a mountain 31 people had died trying to conquer before him. He also conquered the Broad Peak in the Karakoram. A legendary alpinist, he also pioneered the use of alpine style mountaineering in the Hiamlayas.

 44 
Pete Schoening
(One of the First Persons to Summit Mount Vinson in Antarctica in 1966)
Pete Schoening
2
Birthdate: July 30, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: September 22, 2004

Pete Schoening was an American mountaineer best remembered for his participation in the 1953 American Karakoram expedition, where he prevented the loss of the entire expedition single-handedly. In 1966, Pete Schoening became one of the first mountaineers to reach the peak of Mount Vinson in Antarctica. 

 45 
Doug Scott
(Mountaineer)
Doug Scott
0
Birthdate: May 29, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: December 7, 2020
 46 
Galen Rowell
(The Oldest Person to Climb El Capitan in One Day)
Galen Rowell
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oakland
Died: August 11, 2002

Galen Rowell was an American adventure photojournalist, wilderness photographer, and mountaineer. He had many mountaineering achievements under his belt. At the age of 57, Rowell became the oldest person to climb El Capitan in one day. In 1977, Galen Rowell was honored with the Francis P. Farquhar Mountaineering Award by the Sierra Club.

 47 
Achille Compagnoni
(Italian Mountaineer and Skier)
Achille Compagnoni
2
Birthdate: September 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Santa Caterina di Valfurva, Italy
Died: May 13, 2009

Achille Compagnoni was a Lombard skier and mountaineer best remembered for his expedition to K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. Compagnoni was among the men who reached the summit of K2 on 31 July 1954. As a skier, Achille Compagnoni took part in the fourth edition of Trofeo Mezzalama where he helped his team finish second.

 48 
Krzysztof Wielicki
(Mountaineer)
Krzysztof Wielicki
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Szklarka Przygodzicka
 49 
Jim Whittaker
(US Mountaineer Who Became the First American to Reach the Mt. Everest Summit)
Jim Whittaker
2
Birthdate: February 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Seattle

Jim Whittaker was a US mountaineer and mountain guide who is known for his legendary 1963 Mount Everest expedition, which was led by Norman Dyhrenfurth. He scripted history as the first American to reach the Mount Everest summit. He was later bestowed with the Hubbard Medal by John F. Kennedy.

 50 
Maurice Herzog
(French Administrator and Mountaineer Who Led the Expedition that Scaled the Annapurna Peak for the First Time)
Maurice Herzog
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lyon
Died: December 13, 2012

Maurice Herzog was a French administrator and mountaineer. He is best remembered for leading the French Annapurna expedition in 1950, which scaled the Annapurna peak of over 8000m for the first time. Maurice Herzog reached the peak along with Louis Lachenal and wrote a best-selling book titled Annapurna after his return.