Notable as the first solo free climber of Yosemite National Park's Triple Crown, he is also famous for setting a speed record for his climb of Yosemite's Nose of El Capitan.
After briefly studying engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, he became a full-time rock climber.
To save on living expenses and facilitate his climbing career, he made his personal van his permanent home.
A native of Sacramento, California, he graduated at the top of his class from Mira Loma High School.
He and Joe Simpson are both famous as a result of their rock climbing feats.