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Jay Smith

Jay Smith


Climb

Date Of Birth: April 26

Hometown: Fairfax, CA

Current Location: Castle Valley, UT

Favorite Zone: Unclimbed lines anywhere

Proudest Achievement: "Phantom Wall" Mt. Huntington

Favorite Advocacy Org: American Alpine Club


Biography

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While I was still in high school and in my second year of climbing, a guy walked up to me and asked if I would lead him up the "Openbook" a 5.9 at Tahquitz Rock. He offered to pay me $100.00. Of course I accepted and received the payment. This was in the days before I had ever heard of guiding. In 1980 I opened a guide service in Lake Tahoe with a friend and thus started my life as a professional climber. I had already climbed a few big walls in Yosemite, put up maybe 100 first ascents and climbed the second ascent of the complete West Ridge of the Moose's Tooth. Soon after, I got invited to join Jim Bridwell on an attempt on the second ascent of the Direct West Ridge of Everest, the world's longest high altitude route at the time. Though we didn't quite summit, I did make the highpoint and climbed to over 8000 meters, doubling my altitude record of Mt. Whitney. From then on I was hooked on expedition climbing and learned how to beg and fund my trips. In 1990 I joined a small group of climbers who became the North Face Climbing Team. This opened the door to more trips and in 1995 TNF offered to send us on an expedition. This included Conrad Anker, Alex Lowe, Lynn Hill, Greg Child, myself and Kitty Calhoun. Dan Osman came in support of Chris Noble, the team photographer. It was an outrageously successful trip where we all bagged several new, big free routes. TNF was stoked and this fueled the fire for more expeditions. It also led to me marrying my wife, Kitty Calhoun. For well over 30 years, climbing has been my focus and my life, taking me to every continent and establishing first ascents all over the globe. That is what drives me the most; to seek out those unclimbed striking lines and then ascend them in the best style I can. To establish climbs that others enjoy and consider great routes. I will continue to climb as long as my body allows me. I have yet to find anything that can replace that sense of accomplishment, bring me more joy and make me give that supreme effort that climbing brings. I'm super lucky to have a wife that understands, feels the same and that I can get out and enjoy the climbing life with. Get stoked, get after it.


Q & A

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  1. How did you get involved with your respective sport?: My mom sent me to NOLS way back when, to get me off the streets. That was my first real introduction to climbing. I guess it worked as I now spend way more time in the mountains and wilderness and try to stay away from the crowds and cities. Thanks mom.
  2. Who were your influences early in life?: I had never met a climber when I started climbing. It wasn't till after a year or more that I started seeing other climbers at the crags. People like John Long, Richard Harrison, Rick Accamazzo, Tobin Sorensen (The Stonemasters) and Bud Couch. All people I hooked up with at Tahquitz and Suicide Rocks. We later got together in Yosemite where Largo, Richard and I did our first wall together, the East Face of the Column (later to become Astroman). Later it was Kauk, Bacher and Bridwell to name a few, though I only climbed with Bridwell. Others I read about, like Chris Bonington, Doug Scott, Messner, Robbins and Chouinard. Reading their accounts got me inspired to become an all-around climber and go to the greater ranges.
  3. What draws you to the outdoors?: When I'm out in the backcountry focused on a climb, training or other fun stuff, it clears my head of all the junk that I need to do or take care of, like taxes, work, chores, bills, emails, phone calls and such. But it's O, those things will still be waiting for me when I return, only there will just be more of them. Yikes!
  4. What do you like about SCARPA as a brand?: All the great footwear and great people to work with.
  5. Why do you trust SCARPA products?: Fine craftsmanship, durable products and a large assortment of footwear.
  6. What gets you out of bed on big days?: I feel the need to get out and live and accomplish a goal. That generally is to go climb some fantastic route or just cover some miles in the backcountry. Once in a while, it's to go catch some "Way too early flight."
  7. What is your best excuse for skipping training?: Climbing
  8. Favorite recovery/apres beverage?: Ice cold IPA's. That and Whey Protein shakes.
  9. If you had a baseball walkup song, what would it be?: "Are you Experienced?" by Jimi Hendrix
  10. What's the last movie that made you cry?: "The Trump Inaurguration"
  11. What's your dream trip or expedition?: To return to India for unfinished business. That last 100 meters. Arrrrg.
  12. What makes a good adventure partner?: Someone who is motivated, fun to be with and is more or less my equal. I like climbing with a partner who I can swing leads with or lets me lead, but I don't want to get dragged up a route by someone that can climb circles around me. I've gotta feel like I've done my share of the leading.
  13. Two truths and a lie: I love to drive fast, curling is my favorite sport, and I'm a vegetarian.

Favorite Scarpa Products

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From The Scarpa Blog

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From The Scarpa Blog

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