Professional and Adventure Resumés


John Harlin III


2013-present  Senior Program Officer, Communications Editor, and Community of Practice Moderator for The Mountain Institute’s USAID-funded High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP).  Responsibilities include development of websites, editing publications, managing the community of practice, and developing new programs. Specific projects include the Glacial Lake Handbook,, the Everest Alliance, and a new program to develop a network of mountain schools that encourages students to become citizen scientists monitoring climate data, phenology, and water quality.

2013-present  Founder, John Harlin Media, an e-bookstore and publisher specializing in adventure and conservation. Currently “soft-launching” with journals from world alpine clubs and digitally reprinted books from select authors.

2002-2012   Editor, American Alpine Journal. Responsible for the annual 500-page publication of the American Alpine Club, with three assistants. Read farewell preface here. Chair of AAC Literary Award committee.

2007-present  Lecturer, with numerous presentations to clubs, theaters, corporations, festivals, and events worldwide. Star of Imax film The Alps. Author of The Eiger Obsession: Facing the mountain that killed my father (Simon & Schuster and four additional international publishers). Adapted The Eiger Obsession for Outside Magazine. Narrated and advised Journey Through the Alps, an educational program for schools.

2012  Producer/writer for Last of the Great Unknown, a film about canyoneering in Grand Canyon National Park.

2010-2011  Adventure blogger for during 104-day muscle-powered circumnavigation of Switzerland’s complete borders. Outside Magazine’s Adventurer of the Year.

2002-present  Contributing Editor, Backpacker magazine. Select features: Tibet, Alaska, Grand Canyon, Switzerland.

1996-2002  Northwest Field Editor, Backpacker magazine, a full-time staff writing position that included editing of features and departments. Backpacker had 285,000 paid circulation at the time (it is bigger now). Select features: Cascades, Colorado, Mexico, Pacific Northwest Trail, France, New Zealand, Canada, Nunavut.

1998-2001  Occasional on-camera talent for Anyplace Wild, Rodale’s nationally broadcast PBS television series.

1994-present  Active member in the rescue section of the Hood River Crag Rats, the nation’s oldest mountain rescue organization, with responsibility for Hood River County and the north side of Mt. Hood.

1992-2000  Chair of the Polartec Challenge, a $70,000 annual grant program for low-impact cutting edge adventures.

1990-1995  Editor of Summit: The mountain journal. Completely relaunched the 35-year-old mountaineering magazine into a general-interest literary publication. Co-managed staff of nine people.

1987-1989  Associate Editor of Backpacker magazine. Half-year in New York City under CBS Magazines/Diamandis Communications, then 1.5 years in Pennsylvania under the new ownership of Rodale Press.

1982-1986  Authored The Climber’s Guide To North America, the most geographically comprehensive climbing guidebook ever published (three volumes, 1,200 pages). Excerpted widely in Climbing and Rock & Ice.

1979-1987  Mountain guide, including two-years as chief guide for Fantasy Ridge Alpinism, the exclusive concessionaire at the time for Rocky Mountain National Park. Founded Ski Mountaineering Unlimited.

1976-1978  President, University of California, Santa Barbara, Mountaineering Association.

Earned B.A. in Environmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Elected “Outstanding Graduating Senior in Biological Sciences.”

Other books:  Wrote Mt. Rainier: Views and Adventures (Sasquatch Books, 2001, reissued by Mountaineers Books in 2012). Edited Lost Lhasa: Heinrich Harrer’s Tibet (Abrams Books). Co-authored Making Camp (Mountaineers Books). Wrote numerous book prefaces and chapters.

Film festivals:  Juried Banff Mountain Film Festival, Telluride Mountainfilm, New York Alpinfilm, Graz Mountain Film.

Prizes:  Banff Mountain Book Festival: Best Work on Mountain History. American Alpine Club: Literary Award,                       American Alpine Club Honorary Membership.; 2912 Dee Highway, Hood River, Oregon, 97031, USA; mobile: (+1) 541 490 9055


Alaska: First ski descent of Mt. Michelson (4th highest peak in Brooks Range) during kayak descent of Hulahula River. Two ascents of Mt. Chamberlin (highest peak in the Brooks Range, one at age 13 and the other with my 13-year-old daughter). Ski touring in the Ruth Gorge. First kayak descent of Kongakut River to Arctic Ocean. Kayak descent of Sheenjek River (300 miles). Multi-week backpacks in the Arrigetch (Gates of the Arctic) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. One-week hikes in Denali and Misty Fiords.

Arizona: First ascent of the Commanche Ridge a 2,500-vertical-foot grade V ridge rising from near the Colorado River to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Also climbing at various crags throughout the state.

California: Various grade V walls in Yosemite, and two hammerless ascents of El Capitan (Nose and Salathé). Various ascents in the High Sierra, including a winter ascent of the east buttress of Mt. Whitney. Many ascents at dozens of crags throughout the state and hikes in the Sierra and Lost Coast.

Colorado: Many ascents, first ascents, and first ski descents in Rocky Mountain National Park. Climbing includes the Diamond (two times) and most of the premier rock faces in the park, including a long first ascent on the northwest face of Chiefshead (Seven Arrows). First ski descents include the east face of Longs Peak (Notch Couloir/Broadway/Lamb’s Slide), north face of Longs Peak, the left Y-Couloir on Mt. Ypsilon, and others. Professional climbing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park for three years. Also climbed in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Journey Home), Eldorado (Naked Edge and many others), and throughout the state.

East Coast: Numerous routes up and down the East Coast, including the VMC Direct Direct on New Hampshire’s Cannon Cliff; the second ascent of Children’s Crusade Direct Finish on Whitehorse; the first ascent of the High Tide Girdle Traverse of Maine’s Otter Cliff; various new routes to 5.11 in the New River Gorge. Also many ascents throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and New York, among other states. Ice climbing at various sites in New Hampshire, including Repentence and Remission on Cathedral Ledge.

Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Idaho, Arizona: various ascents at many dozens of climbing areas. First ascent of 4,000-foot Comanche Ridge in Grand Canyon. Ascent of Zoroaster Temple in 22 hours round-trip from the South Rim of Grand Canyon. Hike of Escalante Route in the Grand Canyon. 100-mile hike along Middle Fork of Salmon River.

Northwest: Nordic ski descents of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, St. Helens (pre and post eruption). Ascents of the north ridge of Mt. Stuart, Mt. Baker, Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Olympus, north face of Cutthroat Peak in winter conditions, Liberty Bell. Many rock climbs throughout the region. Many new routes on local crags. Various backpacks in Olympic National Park. Member of Crag Rats, the Hood River, Oregon mountain rescue organization.

Utah: Many ascents and a few first ascents in the Canyonlands region, including early free ascents of Primrose Dihedrals on Moses, Castleton Tower, Supercrack, and others. Various ascents in Little Cottonwood Canyon and Zion.

Wyoming: Several ascents of the Grand Teton including the Complete Exum (twice), the Black Ice Couloir-west face, the north ridge, and others; also South Buttress Right on Moran, Irene’s Arête, and several other Teton peaks. In the Wind Rivers Range, Gannett Peak and miscellaneous peaks in the region; Pingora, Wolf’s Head, Mitchell, and several other peaks in the Cirque of the Towers region. Rock climbs throughout Wyoming, including many ascents of Devils Tower and a new route on the Snowy Range Diamond.

British Columbia: New route on Mt. Waddington, the highest peak in the Coast Range, accomplished unsupported “from the sea.” Ascents at Squamish Chief (Grand Wall free, twice, and others). Canoe of Bowron Lakes. Various coastal backpacking trips.

Canadian Rockies: Two ascents of Mt. Robson (south face solo, Wishbone Arete), Andromeda (NW Bowl/Photofinish), Athabasca (north face), Mt. Louis. Long new route on Goat Slabs near Yamnuska.

Nunavut: Ascent of Scott Route on Mt. Asgard, Baffin Island. Flew up from Boston in friend’s single-engine plane.

Mexico: Ski descents of Mts. Orizaba (18,700 feet) and Popocateptl (Ventorillo Route, 17,800 feet). Filmed for Warren Miller’s “Snowonder” movie. Backpacking in Baja. Considerable adventurous mountain biking in the state of Oaxaca.

South America: First 3-pin nordic descent of Peru’s Huascaran (22,205 ft) and descent from near the summit of Tocclaraju; first ski descent of Cunantincato (18,700 ft) in Bolivia. Backpacks of the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu and into the Colca Canyon (once considered the world’s deepest). Education cruise on Amazon River.

Polynesia: Backpack along wild east coast of Tahiti-Iti. Various hikes in New Zealand.

Europe: Complete circumnavigation of Switzerland’s borders by foot, kayak, and bicycle (104 days). New route on the Italian side of Mont Blanc (15,771 ft); ascent of the 1938 Heckmair Route on the north face of the Eiger; two ascents of the Matterhorn including a traverse; early free ascents of various routes in the Verdon Gorge, France; various routes in the Sella Group of the Dolomites; traverses of Barre des Ecrins and La Meije, France; the west face of the Totenkirchel, Austria; the complete 6km Jubillaumsgrat on the Zugspitze; a new-route attempt on the Innominata Ridge of Mont Blanc; also free climbing in the Pfaltz and many areas in Germany, Austria, Italy, Wales, Switzerland, and France. Backpack in the Maritime Alps. Via della Bocchette in the Brenta Dolomites. Canyoning descent of Verdon Gorge.

Tibet: Attempt on then-virgin 6,315m Jieqinnalagabu (a.k.a. Namla Karpo) in the Nyainqentangla East. Trek over pass in the Lake Basong valley (probably first Western crossing).