Carolynn Marie Hill (born January 3, 1961) is an American rock climber. Widely regarded as one of the leading competitive climbers, traditional climbers (and particularly big wall traditional climbers), sport climbers, and boulderers in the world during the late 1980s and early 1990s, she is famous for making the first free ascent of the difficult sheer rock face of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, and for repeating it the next year in less than 24 hours. She has been described as both one of the best female climbers in the world and one of the best climbers of all time. One of the first successful women in the sport, Hill shaped rock climbing for women and became a public spokesperson, helping it gain wider popularity and arguing for sex equality. Hill has publicized climbing by appearing on television shows and documentaries and writing an autobiography, Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.|
Hill was a gymnast early in life, nearly broke a world record lifting weights, and ran competitively. She took to climbing at a young age, showing a natural aptitude for the activity, and became a part of the climbing community in Southern California and Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley. She traveled around the United States during the early 1980s climbing increasingly difficult routes and setting records for first female ascents and for first ascents. From 1986 to 1992 Hill was one of the world's most accomplished sport climbers, winning over thirty international titles, including five victories at the Arco Rock Master. This coincided with the era when the leading female climbers caught up with the leading men. In 1992, Hill left competitive climbing and returned to her first love: traditional climbing. She set for herself the challenge of free climbing The Nose of El Capitan, her greatest climbing feat. Hill continues to climb and has not stopped taking on ambitious climbs. As of 2013, she was a sponsored athlete for the Patagonia gear and clothing company and owned a small business that offered climbing courses.
Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World.
Hill, Lynn; Child, Greg
Pilgrims of the Vertical: Yosemite Rock Climbers and Nature at Risk.
Taylor III, Joseph E.