Graham is an alpinist focused on climbing big hard routes in the great ranges and crags of the world. He has run over 30 expeditions and assignments to areas including Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Alaska, and Argentina. For his climbing exploits, Graham won the 2010 New Zealand Alpinist of the Year and was a finalist for the 2014 Piolet d’Or (alpine climbing’s equivalent to an Olympic gold medal) and won the 2017 Cutting Edge Award from the American Alpine Club.
Ice climbing is a core component of these pursuits and one of Graham’s favorite types of climbing.
In 2020 Graham, along with his team, Graham was honored for his 2019 ascent of Link Sar in the Pakistani Karakoram.
“The climb was a momentous effort that represents the hardest I have been forced to try on a climb in terms of both mental and physical exertion,” Graham says. “It’s also one of the prettiest routes I’ve ever climbed.”
The Piolets d’Or are much like Olympic gold medals for alpine climbing. They’re presented each year by the French magazine Montagnes and The Groupe de Haute Mantagne. The recipients are climbers who have completed ascents with a high technical ability and commitment level, and in alpine-style (small climbing team moving light and fast with no outside support and leaving the terrain unmarred). Graham was previously nominated for a Piolet d’Or in 2014 for his ascent of Mount Laurens (3,052m) in the Alaska Range with Mark Allen.
Several attempts had been made previously on Link Sar ,but from July 31st to August 8th, 2019, Graham—along with Steve Swenson, Chris Wright and Mark Richey—made the first ascent via its 3400m Southeast Face.