Ethan is an incredibly diverse climber, well recognised for his proficiency across the disciplines of rock climbing. Indeed, there are few professional climbers who have sent as many high-end boulders, sport lines, trad climbs, and big walls as Ethan, who sets a gold standard for ‘all-rounder’ status.
Born in 1986 in San Francisco, California, Ethan started climbing when he was eight at Mission Gym, which was conveniently only four blocks away from his childhood home. Given this convenience Ethan started living at the gym after school and at weekends. Success quickly followed.
By 1998 Ethan was Junior National Champion and a member of the US junior climbing team. For three consecutive seasons between 1998 and 2001 he was the undefeated National and International Junior Champion in Lead, and took silver at the Youth World Championships in 2000. For the next decade Ethan represented the US internationally, primarily for bouldering, and took podium positions in numerous national lead and bouldering competitions.
“Though I got as high as 2nd in bouldering nationals a couple times, and even won some national-level comps, I never made it past semis in any of the world cups I competed in,” says Ethan. “They're so hard! Even back when people were less mutant-like than they are now. I think it takes a ton of motivation and a ton of WC-specific experience to do well in them, and I don't think I ever had quite enough of either.”
To be fair to Ethan, he was probably too busy outdoors to devote sufficient time to specific World Cup training. Outdoors Ethan red-pointed his first 5.13 (7c+) at age 12, his first 5.14 (8b+) at 13, and has since amassed several hundred ascents of 5.13, 5.14 and 5.15 routes (7c+ to 9b). He has onsighted climbs up to 5.14a/b (8b+/c) and has made first ascents of routes up to 5.14d (9a), of which Arrested Development (5.14d/9a) at Robbers Roost, Nevada, Everything is Karate (5.14+/8c+/9a) in Bishop, Spicy Dumpling (5.14d/9a) in Yangshuo, China, and the first free ascent of Blackbeard's Tears (5.14c/8c+), stand out.