Steve House, Alpinist

Mount Makalu (8,462m) In the autumn of 2008 , the spring of 2009, and the spring of 2011 I made three expeditions  to Makalu to attempt the West Face. For reasons of illness and poor weather I never reached an altitude greater than 7,000 meters.

For more info and trip reports visit:

Mount Alberta (3,619m), Canadian Rockies. The Anderson-House route is the fourth route on the iconic north face of Mount Alberta and the first time the face has been climbed in full winter conditions despite being outside of calendar winter (March 26-28, 2008). A great route with a great friend.

K7 West (6,858m). The first ascent of this beautiful peak by a nice technical route of modest difficulty. Climbed with Marko Prezelj and Vince Anderson.

Here is the first of two links to the film I produced about that climb:

Mount Robson (3,954m), Canadian Rockies.  In May of 2007 I finally succeeded in climbing a new route on the Emperor Face of Mount Robson.  The House-Haley was completed in 35 hours camp-to-camp and is graded WI 5, m7, 5,800’.

Kunyang Chish, east summit. (circa 7,400m).  In August 2006 Vince Anderson and I traveled up the Hispar Glacier to attempt the virgin east summit of this stunning peak.  We were stopped by snow, a dangerous ridge, and our own lack of proper acclimitization not far below the summit.

Nanga Parbat, 8125m. On September 1st–8th 2005 Vince Anderson and I climbed a new route up the Central Pillar of the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. I had attempted the line in 2004 with Bruce Miller but turned back due to illness at 7500m. The Anderson/House line is graded M5 X, 5.9, WI4 and the face is 4100m tall. Descent was made via the Messner Route. Google Steve House, Nanga Parbat for more information and pictures.  If you’d like to read the full story, pick up a copy of Alpinist, #16, or purchase my book, Beyond the Mountain.

Cayesh (5719m), Peru. In June, 2005 I visited the Andes with Marko Prezelj. After climbing three rock routes on “The Sphinx” we climbed a new route on the west face of Cayesh. The 16-pitch line went free (on-sight) at 5.10, M7+, with mixed climbing predominant throughout. I produced a short film about this climb that toured with the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2005. You can view that film here.

Taulliraju (5830m), Peru. After rockfall chased Marko and I away from Huascaran Norte base camp, we climbed the Italian Route on Taulliraju. We climbed the route free (first free ascent) in a three-day roundtrip.

K7 (6942m) in the Charakusa Valley, by a new route. The 2650-meter high line is on the southwest face, independent from 4400m (BC) to where it joins the Japanese Route at 6300m. I graded it 5.10, A2, 80-degree ice, M6+ and climbed it alone in 41 hours roundtrip from BC making the second ascent of the peak. I won Climbing Magazine’s Golden Piton Award and the Piolet d’Or’s Prix du Public for this ascent. See Alpinist, #10, page 50, for a full article.

Kapura Peak, first ascent, (6544m) in the Charakusa Valley, Pakistan. The 1100-meter route went at 5.8, M5, with 90-degree ice. Climbed with Doug Chabot, Marko Prezelj, Bruce Miller and Steve Swenson.

North Face of North Twin (5.9, A3, M?), Canadian Rockies, with Marko Prezelj, 2nd ascent of the Lowe-Jones route with some variations - 30 years after the first ascent.

East Face of Mount Dickey repeating the route climbed by Rowell-Ward-Roberts route in 1974 (5.9, A1, 5000’), Ruth Gorge, Alaska, with Jeff Hollenbaugh. 2nd ascent - almost 30 years after the first.

"The Talkeetna Standard" (AI5, 5.9, 3300’), Eye Tooth, Ruth Glacier, Alaska with Jeff Hollenbaugh, 1st ascent.

Hajji Brakk (5985m), in the Charakusa Valley, Pakistan. Solo, first ascent of the peak by a technical new route (5.9, 65 degrees, 1200m) in a in a 19 hour roundtrip. July 31, 2003.

Nuptse (~7,800m), by a new route up the South-Southwest Pillar, in alpine style to 7200m, where the team the joined 1961 Bonington Route. No summit.

Cho Oyu (8,201 m) North-east ridge (normal route), in 27 hours roundtrip from the common basecamp. I wanted to learn for myself what it was like to climb an 8,000er in the non-stop style. Climbed with Scott Johnston, except the last 1,000 meters.

Mount Foraker by "The Infinite Spur" on the south face (5.9, WI4, Alaskan Grade VI), 5th ascent in 25 hours up, 20 hours down. The previous fastest time had been 7 days. But we learned that sometimes the descent is the crux. Climbed with Rolando Garibotti.

Mount Fay (3,324m) "Sans Blitz" a new route on the East Face rated: 5.5, WI7 and climbed in 34 hours roundtrip to the top of the wall and back to our tent-camp. No summit, but the purest of lines, and the competition for the FA made it more interesting. Climbed with Barry Blanchard and Rolando Garibotti.

Denali "Czech Direct" aka the Slovak Route. The hardest route on Denali climbs the south face. It’s rated 5.9, WI6, M5, Alaskan Grade VI. We made the 3rd ascent in 60 hours non-stop. Climbing this route left me psychologically drained for over a year. In part due to the stress of being so far out there, and in part due to the realization that I had finished what I had started in the Alaska Range seven years earlier. Climbed with Mark Twight and Scott Backes.

Howse Peak, "M16" on the east face (WI 7+, A2)  1st ascent, in winter. Finishing this route almost took more than we had to give. The best adventure route of them all. Climbed with Barry Blanchard and Scott Backes.

Mount Bradley, first ascent of "The Gift That Keeps on Giving" on the south face (5.9, A3, WI6x, Alaska Grade VI), 1st ascent, in winter. Nearly every pitch on this route was hard and the small amount of ice we climbed had melted by the time we rapped off. However, it is most memorable to me for the friendships gained on that climb. Climbed with Mark Twight and Jonny Blitz.

"Call of the Wild" King Peak, WI6, Alaska Grade V+, new route, 4th ascent of North America's ninth-highest peak. This would be a classic in the Alps, except that there aren't any faces this big over there. Climbed with Joe Josephson.

Denali (6,194m), "Mascioli's Pillar" South Buttress, Denali, 5.10, AO, WI6, Alaskan Grade VI, 1st ascent in 34 hours. Sustained, quality 5.8-5.10 rock and mixed climbing for over 4,000 feet on some of the range's best granite, ending on the south buttress at approx. 15,800’. Climbed with Steve Swenson.

Saskatchewan Massif "The Silver Lining", 5.9, WI6+R, 1st ascent, in a day. A great roadside alpine climb. The first pitch is hard mixed climbing with psychological gear (no bolts). The next eleven pitches are simply classic.

Denali (6,194m), "Beauty is a Rare Thing" Direct West Face of West Buttress, Denali, 5.8, AI4+, Alaskan Grade V, 1st ascent, solo. Climbed to the top of the West Buttress at 16,400’. I cajoled myself into thinking I could downclimb a line I knew nothing about. After 3,000 feet I could no longer ignore my commitment.

Denali (6,194m) "First Born" Fathers and Sons Wall, Denali, 5.7, AI5, Alaskan Grade V, 1st ascent climbed to the crest of the wall at approx. 16,000’ on the northwest buttress. The psychology was that we expected to fail, but were plenty pleased not to. Climbed with Eli Helmuth.

"Two-piece Yanks" Mt. Rundle, 5.11+, WI7, 1st ascent. A four pitch, traditionally protected mixed route climbed on Mt. Rundle-the ultimate ice climbing venue. This route showed me that I could run with the big dogs. It still has not been repeated. Climbed with Stan Price.

Denali (6,194m) "West Buttress and West Rib" Over the years I've guided a total of 70 people to the summit of Denali by these routes, so I was able to learn the moods of Denali and the Alaska Range. This mountain, and many similar 'easy' summits in North America, South America, Europe, and the Himalaya taught me so very, very much about how to get up peaks. I am never bored with alpinism because it is infinite in its variations on 'difficile'. Let there be no doubt that for every ascent listed above, there were a thousand details that fell into place, like knowing how to dry my gloves, what sock combination worked, and (usually) a high pressure that held. It is experience with those details that allows some to ascend to their potential, while the rest get stopped by blisters and bad timing.