Ben Erdmann is used to being freezing cold. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. This 26-yr-old alpinist grew up in Michigan’s upper peninsula (Pop. and Average Temp. both single digits) and moved from there to Alaska. In between climbing trips to snowy Alaskan peaks and frozen Patagonian granite, he hangs from buildings and bridges as a professional with Northern Rope Access. We caught up with Ben and thawed him in order to ask him a few questions.
How old are you and how did you start climbing?
What are a few mountains or routes which really stick out to you?
I like climbing on the FitzRoy, it is pure gold. One of my most memorable summits is when I climbed it with a good Patagonian friend of mine in 36 hours from town to town non stop, with no bivy gear. I also really value the FA of the “Hypa Zypa” with Roskelley and Szilas in the Kichatnas. We sent the 1200m wall at AI5+M6+5.10R A3 in 70 hours camp to camp. The necessity of all disciplines, this “heavy and fast” “bigwall alpine style” is really fascinating to Jess and I, we like lines.
What motivates you or draws you into your sub discipline of
climbing? what parts of climbing have you tried and disliked?
I love being in the Mountains, living in them, falling into rhythm and routine of daily life chores required to survive a glaciated basecamp, or Himalayan high camps, or Patagonian pushes.
What climbing or life advice would you tell yourself, if you could go back in time five years?
5 years ago I would have told myself to be patient, to stop, look, listen, ask questions in the hills…to be curious about history.
After a recent expedition in Alaska, what lies ahead for 2014?
(Fellow CAMP USA athlete and frequent partner) Jess Roskelley and I just got back from another expedition into the Kichatnas, we will be on standby for August for a window in the Stikine region of AK. Jess is the kind of guy that trips on his own shoe laces walking down the street, then floats WI6 like a ballerina. I love climbing with him because we have, above of all things, the most fun. Cause when the 2 week snow storm socks in the Kichatna Spires and glaciated base camp life puts a WHOLE lot of time on your hands, its important that we can express ourselves as the idiots we are! We are partners, friends, and bros. We have years of climbing aspirations together.
If you could only eat one breakfast for the rest of your life what would it
Breakfast would be a cast-iron skilled doubled corn tortilla taco. Fried egg, tons of garlic, black beans, heaps of cilantro, lots of lime and cheap hot sauce. Desert breakfast. It’d thaw me out.