Adam Taylor Climber Profile

By: Derek Vitiello | Last Updated on December 22, 2023

Adam Taylor is a climber from Greenville, South Carolina, who went to college at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina. He grew up mostly climbing trad at local areas like Rumbling Bald and Looking Glass in North Carolina, and his main accomplishments are in Red River Gorge in Virginia (which is also great for hiking and camping). He was one of the most accomplished local climbers for that area at the time and lived in Lexington, Kentucky.

His priority shifted to sport climbing and developing new routes, and he made headlines in 2009 and 2011 several times. He claimed the south’s toughest route, but since then he hasn’t been very active in the online climbing community – his profile doesn’t have any data or logged climbs since 2009. Even without over 10 years of updated information, the log still shows that he’s completed 102 ascents with an average grade of 7C and twelve onsights.

Notable Climbs

Southern Smoke Direct at the Bob Marley Boulder – 2011

In November of 2011, Adam claimed the first ascent of Southern Smoke Direct, which at the time was the hardest route in the South and the first to break the 5.15 barrier. The route had straightened out Southern Smoke (5.14c) as much as possible and added in a hard boulder problem (V13/14) that had a more direct start into the meat of the route. Adam Taylor proposed the route as 9a+/5.15a but Adam Ondra suggested 9a/5.14d after his flash in 2012.

Not long after this, Taylor would also climb The Tube (5.14a), which is one of the more popular routes in the Red.

Second Ascent of Pure Imagination – 2011

Located at the Chocolate Factory in Red River Gorge in Kentucky, Pure Imagination was bolted by Kenny Barker, first climbed by Jonathan Siegrist, and was originally called the Honeycomb Project. It was estimated to be 5.14d but has since then been downgraded to 5.14c. On April 3rd in 2011, Adam claimed the second ascent and was the only person to have sent both of the Red River Gorge’s 5.14d’s.

Golden Ticket (5.14d) – 2009

In the fall of 2009, Adam first made climbing news with his ascent of Golden Ticket, one of the hardest routes at the Red. It was originally bolted by Kenny Barker and has been attempted by legends like Chris Sharma. Adam estimated 5.14c but subsequent attempts graded it closer to 5.14d.

Here’s a video from Adam’s YouTube of him climbing a project in Red River Gorge.


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Derek, Co-Founder at Know Nothing Nomads

My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers.

Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me.

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