This Tuesday, February 28th, Paul Piana, who is hailed as one of the world’s greatest big-wall free climbers, is speaking on at the Union Ballroom at 7:30pm.  The event is free and open to the public. He will be giving the third annual Todd Skinner Leadership Lecture at the University of Wyoming.  Piana has more than 600 first free ascents around the world to his name. Some of his most impressive feats include a free route ascent on “War and Poetry” (VI 5.13), which is on a 4000 foot tall wall called Ulamertorsaqu in Greenland and  his first ascent of the 5.13 pitch on the Salathe Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

Piana grew up in Newcastle, Wyoming near the shadow of Devil’s Tower.  He attended the University of Wyoming and graduated with a degree in English Literature.  His literary background help his write his first book, Big Walls: Breakthroughs on the Free-Climbing Frontier. The book is filled with gripping tales of his and his fellow climber, Todd Skinner, great ascents, as well as specular photographs taken by well-known outdoor photographers Galen Rowell, Bill Hatcher, and Beth Wald.

In addition to his book, Piana has appeared in many climbing videos, such as ESPN’s Amazon’s Journey to the Lost World and Outdoor Life’s Into the Dragon’s Teeth: Climbing in Viet Nam. For his contributions to the climbing community through his first ascents, as well as his dedication to the sport since the 1980’s, he and Skinner were awarded the American Alpine Club’s most revered award, the Underhill Award for Lifetime Climbing.  Don’t miss this great chance to meet a great climber and learn about leadership.