Nathan Hadley

Artist · Climber · Photographer · Routesetter

I was introduced to climbing at age seven in the suburban Midwest through competitive youth climbing. With some success at the national and international level, I was burnt out by the end of high school, and practically gave up climbing going into college. Climbing needed to be remade in my life. It took me several years to figure that out.

After graduating from undergrad in Chicago, I moved back to my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, and started making regular trips to the Red River Gorge again. I was getting back in shape, enjoying the community again, and loving the time spent in the forested hills of Kentucky. But climbing was too similar to what it had been—a simple chasing of grades within the one-dimensionality of sport climbing. I wanted something more, to expand.

I finally found what I was looking for when I moved to Seattle, Washington, in 2015. The wildness of the Cascade Range became the perfect canvas for me to pursue creative expression in the mountains, through climbing and photography. I also found Seattle to be an epicenter for the growth of the art of route setting, and feel lucky to be making a living from it. 

Climbing has enabled me to live a free and inspired life. I aspire to be a well-rounded climber, pushing my climbing in both directions -- from bouldering to alpine climbing -- but I know I will always love the free movement over rock the most. 

I am a contributor to the stock agency, Tandem Stills + Motion, one of the leading image providers in genres of nature, travel, culture, adventure, and active lifestyle. Click here to view my page on their site.

Notable Climbs


  • Pilar Rojo (5.12a, 600m), Mermoz, Patagonia

  • Dr. Evil (5.14a), Litle Si, WA

  • Lost Horizons (5.14b), Little Si, WA

  • Divine Punishment (5.13b), Red River Gorge, KY — onsight

  • Hagakure (V12), Index, WA

  • All of the Above (V12), Index, WA — in-a-day


  • Live Free or Die! (5.12d, 400m), Liberty Bell, Washington Pass, WA — FA

  • Liberty Crack (5.13b, 400m), Liberty Bell, Washington Pass, WA — 5th free-ascent

  • Westie Face (5.13a, 300m), Leaning Tower, Yosemite, CA — in-a-day

  • Final Frontier (5.13b, 300m), Fifi Buttress, Yosemite, CA

  • Eye of the Tiger (5.12d, 300m), Supercave Wall, Washington Pass, WA — onsight

  • Badman (5.14a), Smith Rock, OR

  • Pornification (5.14a), Little Si, WA

  • Aggro Monkey (5.13b), Smith Rock, OR — onsight

  • TPMV (5.13a trad), Index, WA — onsight


  • West Buttress (AK Grade 2, 50°, 4000m), Denali, AK — 2016

  • Amandla (5.13d), Index, WA


  • 16 Youth National Championships

    • Three 1st place finishes

    • Twelve U.S. Team qualifications (top-4 finishers)

    • Recipient of the North Face Young Gun Award, USA Climbing Youth Nationals

  • 5 Youth World Championships

    • One top-5 finish and four top-20 finishes