Adrian Ballinger

Age: 34, Years climbing: 23, Hometown: Squaw, CA, Favorite product: MIURA


Do you clip bolts, plug cams, stack pads, or crush ice?

Whichever one I can get my hands on and have good friends around for the adventure. And add summitting big peaks; that stands high on my list.

How long have you been an athlete with La Sportiva?

I'm the new guy! Been rocking La Sportiva forever but only just recently snuck my way onto the team.

What are some of your lifetime climbing goals?

Just to continue climbing and guiding for as long as I can. Of course I want to climb more 8,000 meter peaks, check out some dream stuff in Pakistan, climb new lines in Bhutan, guide K2, and so many other things.

Do you have a claim to fame?

Not really...perhaps being the only fully certified American IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide that is guiding 8,000 meter peaks (2 or 3 a year right now). Also summitting Everest twice in a two week period (as the sole non-sherpa fixing ropes to the top).

Do you have any vices?

Powder and wind. If there's fresh snow outside I have to go skiing, and if the wind is blowing I have to get out kiteboarding. I love the sports we do that depend on nature being nice to us, and know we have to take advantage of the good days when we have them.

What makes you tick as a climber and in the real world?

See my vices! And just that I am fortunate enough to bring non-professional climbers and skiers to incredible places. I remember the feeling of my first Indian Creek crack, my first big wall, my first thigh deep powder day, my first 8,000 meter peak summit, and I thrive on being a part of others' firsts.

What drives you to climb? The money? The groupies? The fame? What?

I'm still waiting for the money, groupies, and fame. I'm driven by the incredible places around the world that climbing and skiing take us to, and by the people we get to adventure with. And the hardship and toil of it. There's nothing better for me than planning a big trip endlessly, putting the suffering in, and finally sometimes achieving the goal. It's worth it all.

What is your favorite movie?

Whatever I watched most recently in a real theater. As of today, that would be "My Idiot Brother" at Sundance a couple of weeks ago. Check it out!

Do you have any nicknames? Explain:

Most common call out I get is "Yo Adrian!" with a Rocky accent... it was tough when I was 12 years old. I'm getting used to it.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? Why?

Truthfully I never go without sleep. I love sleep and it might be one of my better talents. I got a great night's sleep at 26,000 feet at the S. Col on Everest last spring. Peeved my tent-mates I think. Even on 24+ hour alpine pushes I seem to find ways to sleep, usually while belaying my partners!

If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?

Cali - it's got it all. Amazing rock, loads of snow and great ski terrain, beach, surf, wind, and great cities. I love it there so I guess it makes sense to be named after it.

What did you have for lunch yesterday?

Bresaola, serrano, and manchego panini. I'm in Miami kiteboarding and hanging with my girlfriend before heading to Chamonix in a couple of days. The food here is very latin and so good!

If you could hook up a thought monitor to your head, would you see pictures, hear words or would music be playing?

To-do lists. Sounds depressing but I love them! That's why I organize expeditions and run a mountaineering guide service for a living.

What really scares you about climbing?

Not being able to do it anymore.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?

Not Enough Time In the Day

Where would you live if it could be anywhere in the world?

Split between Squaw Valley, CA and Chamonix, France, with a couple of months in Miami or Puerto Rico sprinkled in between.

Have no food or have no gasoline?

No gas

Do you wish you had sexier feet?

No, but my girlfriend wishes I did. She takes me to get a pedicure every time I'm in town!