Articles Men Men's Fitness Men's Health

Famed Yosemite Climber Zach Milligan Dies After Ice Climbing Fall

22 total views

Legendary free-solo climber Zach Milligan was found dead at the bottom of a 2,300-foot ice climb in the Canadian Rockies. Rangers with Parks Canada found Milligan’s body close to the bottom of Polar Circus in Jasper National Park on February 11 after noticing his parked car hadn’t moved.

Milligan was part of the team that first skied down Yosemite’s Half Dome in 2021. The Georgia native, 42, moved out to Colorado in the early 2000s to adventure full-time, chasing crags around the great American West. He spent his early years teaching himself how to climb on faces in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

Milligan first became interested in climbing ice in 1999 while living in Atlanta, according to Gripped. He asked a friend, Doug Peterson, who owned a climbing shop, about getting into ice climbing and he hooked him up with his own personal set of gear. After climbing in North Carolina, he went out and bought his own ice climbing kit and promptly took off for Colorado. In his first week out, he free soloed the 1,200-foot Stairway to Heaven ice climb, which garnered him the nickname “Georgia Ice.”

He then spent years working at Yosemite, constantly climbing while famously living like a vagabond, sleeping in a boulder field (where he eluded rangers for 13 years by moving spots each night), friend’s couches, and a repurposed tool shed. His 20 years in Yosemite saw him racking up an impressive list of climbs, notably the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome, which he did in 2 hours and 37 minutes; the Steck-Salathé route on Sentinel Rock, which he clocked 275 times; free solos at Arch Rock; and an on-sight free solo (no ropes, no pre-inspection) of Ahab at El Cap’s base.

Share this Post