The Remy Brothers: Rock Climbing Legends You’ve Never Heard Of

Yves and Claude Remy have been shaping rock climbing for longer than most rock climbers have been alive. If you don’t know who they are, it’s OK — they don’t care.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, two Swiss brothers reveled in the golden age of climbing. The first ascensionists’ fingerprints are all over crags like the Verdon Gorge, Sanetsch, and Schlossberg. In fact, they’ve cranked an estimated 15,000 pitches’ worth of first ascents.

In contrast to the Remy brothers’ massive output, their reputation is minuscule. Why? Maybe they were just having too much fun climbing.

Sponsored by Mammut in their heyday, Claude said he and Yves had “the total freedom to do what we wanted to do” (translated).

Watching the two talk about an adventure into the unknown feels somehow grounding. Their worry-free but intentional approach to first ascent methodology is obviously well-ingrained.

“It’s just the spirit!” Claude says in French, making me instantly realize how much better the concept of “spirit” translates in that language. “Back then, we didn’t have to say ‘we’re going there, or maybe there,’ and discuss for hours. We just took the gear and went off climbing, then returned. Basta.”

For non-Italian speakers, “basta” means “enough.”

For the Remy brothers, a lifetime of adventure has been plenty.

Runtime: 3.5 minutes

Climbing Community Remembers Mountaineering Legend Fred Beckey
Climbing Community Remembers Mountaineering Legend Fred Beckey
Fred Beckey, a prolific North American climber, author, and mountaineer, passed away Monday at 94. He left behind hundreds of first ascents and legions of admirers among the rock climbing community. Read more…
Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

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