Connor Herson (19) - multi discipline excellence

12 September 2022

Connor Herson made his first 8a headline in 2018 when he did an 8c+, 2nd go at age 14. In the same year he repeated The Nose 8b+ MP; and was #11 in the Youth World Championship. Earlier this year he did the bolted route Empath 9a (+) on trad gear and three weeks ago he was #12 in the YWC after being #2 in the qualification round. In other words, Connor is the #1 youngster in the world when it comes to multi-discipline climbing. In the picture by Christian Adam, Connor onsights, Moonlight Buttress, a 7c multi-pitch.

Do you boulder?
Bouldering is certainly my weakest discipline, so hopefully, I can boulder a bit more in the next few years. It’s always helpful for me to work on my weakness!

How have you gone about trying and excelling at so many different types of climbing?
Both my parents have been climbing for several decades, so they exposed me to so many different climbing disciplines. During the weekend it made more sense to go up multi-pitch climbs in the Sierras, but on weekdays I climbed with the youth team at my local climbing gym, which got me interested in competition climbing.

What is your next plan?
I have a trip to Rifle planned, and then I’ll be starting college at Stanford. I’m not sure how much free time I will have in college, but I’m hoping I can still get out to Yosemite on some weekends!

Do you have any big long-term goals such as the Olympics, climbing 9b, or a big wall FA?
I don’t have any particular goals at the moment - I think it depends on how college goes. But I’d like to pursue outdoor climbing more, especially trad/big walls.

Why is studying so important to you?
I think I am just as excited about studying as I am about climbing. Even though I have some very generous and supportive sponsors, I think I’d love to try to keep that balance between academics and climbing. To clarify, although I’m starting college in a week, I don’t intend to stop climbing at all. I might be climbing less frequently, but I’ll still be finding projects, pushing myself, and - most importantly- having fun.

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