Chris grew up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains before moving to Oregon and becoming a guide in 2006. He can regularly be found at work from the French Alps to the Canadian Rockies and Norway’s Lofoten Islands, and occasionally chilling at home in Bend. His achievements include everything from big walls to virgin summits, first ski descents and traverses, and his guiding career has taken him from the Matterhorn to Denali, and from Mt. Hood to Mont Blanc. He is easily excited by rocks, snow and ice, and by travel, coffee, beer and greasy food of any sort.
Describe yourself in three words:
Can I just go with stubborn? I think that works the best.
Who would play you in your biopic?
I’m not sure, but I can say that a childhood friend always liked to say it would be called Flying Without Wings: The Chris Wright Story. I bet he’d say Ben Savage, which I find mildly offensive.
Wildest memory/moment from competing?
Probably winning the one real award that alpine climbing has, the Piolet d’Or, for making the first ascent of Link Sar. It’s kinda like winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in that it’s French, it sounds cool, and nobody except a very specific bunch of dorks really knows what it is. Actually climbing the mountain was probably better, but getting the award was nice too.
Proudest non-sport accomplishment?
Definitely my relationship with my espresso machine (and boy have we gotten close lately).
Best book you've read recently?
Probably Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. It’s brilliant and I want to say something witty about it, but it’s not funny, it’s mostly just an absolutely crushing examination of the history of race and power in the US. Not an easy book, but definitely an essential one.
Why Picky Bars?
Because life is too short to eat bad food, among other things.
CJ, Baggins, Mongoose
Winning the 2020 Piolet d’Or for the first ascent of Link Sar (7041m) in Pakistan
Becoming the 93rd American to be a fully-certified IFMGA Mountain Guide
Finally climbing 5.13 after 15 years of caring way too much about rock climbing
Making the first ascent of a 7000 meter peak in Pakistan called Link Sar via the Southeast Face (VI WI4 M6+ 90°, 2300m)
Climbing a new route called Terror (VI WI6 M7 R/X A2) on the infamous and 5000-foot East Face of The Mooses Tooth in Alaska (it’s supposed to be spelled like that, btw)
Making the first ascents of 6500m peaks in India and Nepal (climbers like to be the first to climb things)
Free-soloing the North Face of the Matterhorn in four hours (it’s kinda long & a little scary)
The first known Human-Powered Three Sisters Ski Traverse at home in Bend-- riding bikes from our doorstep to the mountains, summiting all three peaks and riding back for 82 miles and 15,000’ of elevation gain in about 20 hours
Having joints that mostly still work (fingers crossed on that one