Conrad’s Antarctic experience spans a decade, with first ascents in three regions. In 1997, Conrad teamed up with Alex Lowe and Jon Krakauer to climb Rakekniven, a 2,500-foot wall in Queen Maud Land. In the Sentinel Range, Conrad climbed the Vinson Massif via three new routes. His climbs in Pakistan’s Karakoram include the west face of Latok II along the “Tsering Mosong” route (which begins at the same height as the summit of Denali) where he climbed 26 pitches on a vertical cliff and then topped out at 23,342 feet.
In 1998, Conrad and Peter Croft made a first ascent of Spansar Peak via a 7,000-foot ridge in one day. In Patagonia, he climbed the three towers of the Cerro Torre Massif. On Yosemite’s El Capitan he joined Steve Gerberding and Kevin Thaw to establish “Continental Drift,” a steep “nail-up” on the right side. And in Zion National Park, Mugs Stump and Conrad first climbed the intimidating “Streaked Wall”.
In May of 1999, as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition, Conrad discovered the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer of the 1920s. The disappearance of Mallory and Sandy Irvine on their summit bid in June 1924 is one of climbing’s great mysteries, and Conrad’s discovery and analysis of the find has shed new light on the pioneering climbs of the early expeditions.
In October 2011, Conrad, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk summited one of the last great unclimbed features of the Himalayas by topping out on the Shark’s Fin route on the northwest face of 20,700-foot Meru in the Garhwal Himalaya. In the game of high-altitude, big-wall mountaineering, the previously unclimbed route represents one of the world’s ultimate mountaineering tests, with the lower third a classic alpine snow-and-ice route, the middle a mix of ice and rock, and the final section an extremely difficult, overhanging headwall. The Shark’s Fin has drawn many of the world’s top alpinists over the past 30 years, none of them able to finish the route.
Conrad graduated from the University of Utah and lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife and three sons. Anker serves on the board of the Conservation Alliance, the Rowell Fund for Tibet and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. “My involvement with these organizations is intrinsically rewarding,” Conrad says “and it’s among the most important work I do. It feels good to be able to give back to our community of humans and to the natural world.”