Steve House

Hometown: Ridgway, CO

Activities: Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Skiing


Grivel, Beal, Patagonia, La Sportiva, Zeal Optics, Coros


"Within alpinism's narrow framework we seek transcendence and relentlessly pursue what remains hidden from us on flat ground: Our true selves."

-Steve House

Steve lives in Ridgway, Colorado with his wife Eva and their sons Franz and Niklas. They often visit family in Eva's homeland of Austria. Steve began climbing with his father as a child, and was introduced to alpine climbing in Slovenia after graduating high school in 1988.

Steve has been a professional mountain guide since 1992 and in 1999 he became the ninth American to achieve IFMGA certification. He has guided climbs across the globe from Alaska to the Karakoram. Along with his current alpine pursuits, House spends his time guiding, teaching, and writing about climbing. 

Steve’s most famous ascent may be the Central Pillar of the Rupal Face with Vince Anderson but he has compiled an impressive list of first ascents and new routes in Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, the Alps, and the Karakoram. Reinhold Messner has called him “The best high-altitude climber in the world.”

Mountain Resume-

  • K7 (6942m)- New route, and second ascent of the mountain, climbed solo in 44 hour roundtrip

  • Nanga Parbat (8125m)- New route in alpine style up the Central Pillar of the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. The Anderson/House line is graded M5 X, 5.9, WI4 and the face is 13,500 feet (4100m) tall and is the largest wall anywhere in the world. If you’d like to read the full story, pick up a copy of Alpinist, #16, or get Steve's book, Beyond the Mountain.

  • K7 West (6,840m)- First ascent of the mountain, in 4 days with Marko Prezelj and Vince Anderson

  • Cayesh, House-Prezelj Route- First ascent. The 16-pitch line went free (on-sight) at 5.10, M7+, with mixed climbing predominant throughout

  • Taulliraju (5830m), Italian Route- First Free Ascent, in a three-day roundtrip with Marko Prezelj

  • Mount Alberta, House-Anderson route, WI5+ M8 R/X- First ascent 

  • Mount Robson, House Harley route- First ascent in 25 hours non-stop

  • Howse Peak, M-16- First ascent with Barry Blanchard and Scott Backes over four days in March 1999

  • Mount Fay, Sans Blitz- First Ascent with Barry Blanchard and Rolando Garibotti

  • Denali, Slovak Direct Route- Third ascent in 60 hours non-stop in 2000. Record still stands in 2020

  • Denali, Mascioli's Pillar- New route with Steve Swenson, in 33 hours non-stop

  • Denali, Washburn Wall, Beauty is a Rare Thing- New route, solo in 14 hours non-stop

  • Denali, Father and Sons Wall, First Born- New route with Eli Helmuth in 36 hours non-stop

  • Mount Foraker, Infinite Spur Route- Fourth ascent in 45 hours non-stop (25 hours to the summit, 20 down) with Rolando Garibotti

  • Mooses Tooth- New route with Kevin Mahoney and Ben Gilmore

  • Eye Tooth- New Route with Jeff Hollenbaugh, The Talkeetna Standard


First guided ascents-

Steve was the first to guide many hard alpine routes including:

  • Ham and Eggs Couloir on the Moose’s Tooth ('94)
  • Peak 11,300 via the SW Ridge ('93)
  • the West Face Couloir of Mount Huntington, ('95)
  • the Harvard Route of Mount Huntington, ('04)
  • Moonflower Buttress of Mount Hunter. ('08)

Steve was also the first non-European guide to lead ascents of:

  • Eiger’s North Face (1938 Route)
  • Grande Jorasses by the Croz Spur
  • Cima Grande’s North Face (Comici-Demai)
  • Piz Badille’s North Face (Cassin Route)
  • Triglav’s North Face (Long German Route) in both winter and summer

Steve is the author of four books-

Beyond the Mountain

Training for the New Alpinism

The New Alpinism Training Log

Training for the Uphill Athlete

Steve also frequently writes for his website, Uphill Athlete.

Awards and citations-

  • AMGA-IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide (1999)
  • Golden Piton-Alpine Climbing (2004)
  • Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) People’s Choice Award (2005)
  • Golden Piton Award-Alpine Climbing (2005)
  • American Mountain Guide Association Presidents Award (2005)
  • Pakistani Director-General of Sport, Olympic Award (2005)
  • Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) (2006)
  • Best Mountain Book, Banff Book Festival (2009) (Beyond the Mountain)
  • Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature (2009) for his book Beyond the Mountain
  • Jury’s Prize, Best Mountain Film, Kendal Mountain Film Festival, Kendal, England. (Ice, Anarchy, and the Pursuit of Madness)
  • American Alpine Club, Underhill Award for Lifetime Climbing Achievement (2014)
  • B.S., Ecology, The Evergreen State College (1995)
  • Evergreen State College Hall of Fame Inductee (2018)

Photo by Nikki Smith

Photo by Nikki Smith

Favorite Gear Picks

Grivel G22 Plus

Beal Opera 8.5mm Unicore

Grivel North Machine Carbon Vario

Grivel Dark Machine X

Grivel Ghost Evo 2.0 Axe