Although Kate Rutherford wasn’t introduced to rock climbing until she was in college, her passion for nature and beauty was instilled within her long before she ever roped up. Kate grew up in rural Alaska surrounded by glittering mountains, aurora borealis, and Alaskan wildlife. From a very young age, she was inspired by the beauty of the natural world that surrounded her.

As Kate grew older, she ventured out from Alaska and fell so deeply in love with the Utah desert that she decided to move closer and attend Colorado College. It was here that she first became introduced to rock climbing. Eventually, Kate found herself in the place where all passionate climbers come to prove themselves: Yosemite Valley. And prove herself, she did. It wasn’t long until Kate free climbed both Freerider (VI 5.12+) of El Capitan and the Northwest Face of Half Dome (V 5.12+)— among many other impressive ascents.


Related: Chasing Dreams: El Capitan Free Climbing


See Kate and Brittany Griffith attempt the Venturi Effect (IV 5.12) on the Incredible Hulk:

Kate’s passion for the wilderness, traveling, and the use of her creative mind began to translate into a full-time lifestyle as she gained sponsorship and attention from the climbing world. Today, she climbs all over the globe and has put up several first ascents, including The Washington Route (VI 5.10, A1) on Fitz Roy in Patagonia.

Kate says that one of the best things about her lifestyle is the opportunity to connect with the locals:

To see a village elder’s eyes light up when you tell them you have traveled from another continent just because they have the most beautiful piece of rock in all the land is a superb way to honor them.

Watch Kate’s climbing adventure in Armenia:

When she isn’t meandering up crack systems on beautiful rock, Kate creates jewelry inspired by the places she travels to climb. She views both rock climbing and jewelry-making as artistic pursuits that help her lead a creative life.

We’re inspired by Kate’s artistic approach to climbing and life, and we wish her all the best in 2015!

Kate Rutherford is sponsored by Clif Bar, La Sportiva, Patagonia, and Black Diamond. Make sure to check out her beautiful jewelry and explore her website to learn more.