Adam Ferro, 30, is on the rise.
The Glenville native-turned-alpine climber has built his life around climbing mountains and chasing his dreams.
“Climbing is so basic. We have been climbing since we were born,” he said. “Everyone is born a climber, most of us just lose it over the years. I eventually found that again.”
Ferro attended Niskayuna High School and attended SUNY-Cobleskill. He said he struggled his entire life with academics and for a long time could not find something he excelled at.
“I can excel at anything as long as I really give it all I got,” he said. “I didn’t know that growing up. I just failed my way through school. I went through 23 years and I never had any sort of success.”
Until he began to climb.
After graduating college, Ferro moved out to Colorado and took a job in landscaping. While he had done some hiking and camping growing up in the Capital Region, he had never climbed to the heights he does today. After a short time in Colorado a friend took him climbing and the rest was history.
“It was kind of this subconscious path that I was going to take no matter what,” he said. “I just needed someone to take me. I finally found something I had the ability to be really good at.”
At 24 years old, Ferro faced an internal battle. While his friends seemed to be settling down and taking permanent jobs, he found himself on a different path. He just wanted to climb. For him, climbing mountains is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle. He decided to give alpine climbing everything he had. “It was the best decision of my life,” he said. “It is just a different life.”
He now works about four months out of the year and spends the rest of the year climbing. At first, Ferro’s parents were concerned about their son making a life out of climbing. But he said now, his parents and sister are extremely supportive.
“They are in full support of my life,” he said. “And it means the world to me.”
Throughout the last six years, Ferro has made photo journals for his parents detailing his climbing adventures.
“It was just my way of showing them why I am doing this,” he said. “These positions you put yourself in as a climber are unbelievable. It is just a wild perspective on the world.”
He spent the first four years of his climbing career in America, especially in Colorado’s Black Canyon. He also spent time in California climbing the Sierras, Wyoming at Grand Teton National Park and in the Utah desert climbing sandstone towers. He joined a search and rescue team in Colorado to help rescue climbers who found themselves in dire situations and also took an EMT class to further his knowledge in helping people. But when it came down to it, Ferro wanted to climb even higher and his climbing tour in the United States was just a warm-up.
“Since the early days of my climbing career, I always dreamed of climbing in Southern Patagonia,” he said.
And last January that dream came true. During his two-month stay he and a friend climbed Cerro Fitz Roy, Aguja Saint Exupery, Aguja Guillaumet, El Mocho, and Aguja Bifida in Patagonia.
“Aguja Bifida was the last climb we did on that trip and that was definitely the highlight of my climbing career thus far,” he said. “Six years of dedication led to the success on that climb.”
Climbing in the southern part of South America involved massive approach hikes, mostly on glaciers, according to Ferro. The mountains were 1,000 to 4,000 feet tall, on top of a 3,000- to 6,000-foot vertical ascent just to get to the base of the actual mountain, all while carrying a large backpack. The climbing adventures took up to five days at a time, but Ferro said he loved every second of it.
“Southern Patagonia proved to be as rewarding as it was intimidating,” he said. “The approaches were huge. The walls are massive and the weather can change from good to terrible before you even realize it. Spending days at a time climbing these massive peaks is mentally and physically draining and is not for the faint of heart.”
Right after the New Year and a short visit to the Capital Region, Ferro left for another two-month trip to Patagonia.
“Everyone has that one thing, or two things, that they can excel at,” he said. “Whether they find them or not, that is the life journey.”
He lives by the creed that when you have found your calling you must pursue it despite the sacrifices and dangers you may face along the way.
“This quote has always been really meaningful to me,” he said: “If you spent your whole life searching for something and you finally found it, how much would you be willing to risk?”
Ferro is not sure where he will be 10 years from now, but he said he expects to continue excelling and propelling in alpine climbing for decades to come.
“I just know wherever I am going to be, I am going to be happy,” he said. “This is what I am supposed to be doing.”