Jonathan Wachtel Ice Climbing


Despite growing up in the “Mountain State” of West Virginia, Jonathan didn’t start climbing until he hit college at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  He promptly developed a passion for climbing along with an deep appreciation for the people and landscapes climbing brings. Since then, he’s climbed rock and ice and mud in 8 countries, 22 states and 86 uniquely different areas.

Jonathan is an active duty Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy which has allowed him to live and climb all over the country.  He started his path to becoming a guide in 2009 and is now an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor.  He became very involved with the American Alpine Club years ago which led to him founding the AAC’s San Diego Chapter and serving as one of its leaders and guides for 3 years.  He taught himself the ways of traditional climbing long before the days of YouTube and still prefers plugging gear but much enjoys pulling moderately hard over bolts or working cardio on long alpine routes.

Jonathan is currently living and exploring the crags around in Naples, Italy with his wife, Rebecca, and son (future ropegun), Sutton, while stationed at the Navy’s U.S. Sixth Fleet.  He continues to work the balance between being a Father, Husband, Naval Officer and Adventurer.  His stoke is high for climbing and adventure as well as bringing people together, promoting outdoor education and protecting climbing landscapes.  


Career Highlights

  • Ecstasy (5.7+) Seneca Rocks, WV (pinkpoint)   
  • War Paint (5.12a, 5 pitches) Corte Madera, CA (onsight)
  • Cleopatra’s Needle (WI 5) Hyalite Canyon, MT (onsight)
  • Estrellita (5.11b, 12 pitches) El Potrero Chico, MX (onsight, sub-2.5hrs)
  • The Waterfall Route (Grade III, 5.4) on Mt. Emerson (13,210’) Sierras, CA (onsight solo)
  • Mountaineer’s Route on Mt. Whitney (14,505’) Sierras, CA
  • First ascents in the Needles (CA), Table Mountain (South Africa) and West Virginia.