Zack Smith
Professional climber & mountain guide

Zack Smith's humble, laid-back demeanor belies the fact that he is actually one of the countries most talented all-around climbers. Over the last ten years he has quietly accomplished an enviable list of first ascents and impressive repeats throughout North and South America. The Patagonia clothing company wrote about Zack on their website saying "Zack Smith is a ninja, a master of all climbing styles, a bona fide climbing badass, and if you haven't heard about him, it's likely because he prefers it that way." see the cleanest line

In the realm of alpine climbing, Zack's five trips to Patagonia have led to new routes on Aguja San Raphael, the North Tower of Paine, and the long sought first free ascent and speed record of the Central Tower of Paine in a shocking five hours. During Patagonia's 2007 season, Zack made a near boltless ascent of Cerro Torre's egregiously over-bolted Compressor Route, inspiring others to look at the peak in new ways. See Alpinist article In February of 2010 he climbed the 5,000ft. ice and mixed route Supercouloir on Fitz Roy in a day. In the spring of 2008 he visited Alaska and added a first ascent to the north face of Kichatna Spire. The Message or The Money (VI M6 AI4) was climbed in eight hours and is the fastest ascent of a mountain that has been referred to as "the most difficult summit in North America." Returning to Alaska the next year he enchained three separate peaks in the Ruth Gorge that included a rapid first ascent on the Sugar Tooth, The Eye Tooth, and a previously unclimbed summit dubbed The Missing Tooth. See Black Diamond journal entry This May climbing in the Ruth Gorge once again he succeeded on the south face of the Mooses Tooth via the first ascent of Swamp Donkey Express (VI 5.10 A2 M5); a coveted line that had been attempted and talked about since 1964.

Zack has proven his abilities on the smaller cliffs as well; opening new routes in Mill Creek like The Sceptic (5.13c R), a route protected with natural gear and bolts placed on lead. In Indian Creek he established the ultra classic, Burl Dog (5.13a), and has on-sighted other desert test-pieces up to 5.13a. Well known Idaho-based climber, Dean Lords, called Zack is the best crack climber I've ever seen On the notoriously loose and difficult big walls of the Black Canyon he's climbed more than 25 different routes, and added a few of his own with climbs like Bloodsport (5.12c R) and Woke Up Punk (5.12a R). He has established dozens of new boulder problems up to V10 throughout the western states with the stunning highball Falcon vs. Eagle (V9) on Independence Pass and the Shaolin Finger Jab (V8) outside of Moab, Ut being recent standouts. See video clip.

When he's not chasing his own projects in the mountains or at the crags Zack makes his living as a climbing guide for Aspen Expeditions and Moab Desert Adventures. After graduating from an intensive guides course program through the Alaska Mountaineering School in 1999 he began guiding professionally and has coaxed hundreds of clients up difficult desert towers, Colorado peaks, and across African jungles. Besides climbing he is an avid traveler and has set foot on six separate continents.

Between work and play he is well known for enjoying the good life of strong coffee, a good movie, and relaxing at home with his family and friends who often refer to him as "Bones."

-Josh Wharton


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