Chris Snobeck wants to climb the world’s hardest mixed routes. And he’s well on his way, having already sent M15- and M14- (Saphira and Mustang, both in Vail, CO). He lives in Denver, CO.
How did you start mixed and why did you stick with it?
When I was learning to ice climb, 8 years ago, a few of my friends were kind enough to hang ropes on some nearby mixed lines and the rest is history. While I love all forms of climbing, this is the one that I connected with the most, inexplicably. Despite training year-round on my tools, in conjunction with rock climbing and travel, I’ve yet to lose my drive, and I think that shows how deep my passion for it is.
What keeps you psyched and fit when it’s not the time of year for ice and drytool routes?
I’ve found Southeast Asia to be one of my favorite parts of the world, so trips that have taken me climbing in Thailand and Indonesia are particularly memorable. I grew up in the ocean, so as much as I love the mountains, I always make a point to return to the water each year.
What motivates you or draws you into your sub discipline of mountain adventure?
It’s so hard to put a ‘why’ to what draws me in; just something I feel deep down. Really, I have no idea why I think about mixed climbing more than just about anything else! There’s not much I don’t like, except for wallowing in deep, unconsolidated snow, and having cold hands; neither make a very friendly person!
Does your work in Denver complement your passion or make you a better climber?
I need the balance. The stress and intellectual challenge of my career as a financial planner is a necessity for me. I’ve often said that being an athlete allows me to better appreciate my career, and my career allows me to better appreciate being an athlete thanks to the perspective they each give me.
What goal has captured your attention for now?
A Line Above the Sky (D15) is my current project and what’s driving me the most. I’m mildly obsessed with it; from the style to the endurance needed, it’s just incredible. My most recent trip to Italy was to start work on it with the support of my friend Angi, who sent the route a few months prior. It’s only been done a few times, and climbs an enormous roof in the Italian Dolomites. I will be heading back soon!