Free climbers are among the most technically impressive climbers on the planet. Taking on some of the most difficult grades in the world, these athletes are truly to be admired for their skill and sheer determination.
When you think of free climbing, you probably think of a solo climber scaling a sheer granite face in Yosemite without any ropes or safety equipment. However, not all free climbing is as gnarly and risky as this.
There is a difference between free-soloing and free climbing. Free-soloing is climbing without any use of ropes, harnesses or safety equipment. Unlike bouldering, free climbing is usually done at heights where a fall would mean instant death.
Meanwhile free climbing does involves ropes and safety equipment but only as protection from falling, rather than an aid to help you progress the climb.
We’ve included both a mix of free-solo climbers and free climbers in this list of inspirational men and women.