Nick Duttle: American Hero

… climbed a boulder with a V14 rating, it would be a fair assumption to think that his skill and success in this area is the most interesting and impressive thing about him. However, once you get to know Duttle’s story more fully, you realize that his success as a rock climber is really the pinnacle of a life of even greater challenges and triumphs.

Duttle says he his perseverant personality is why he likes climbing, and from the time of his birth in

Las Cruces,

New Mexico, in 1981, it was clear that he would need tremendous inner strength in order to just survive, let alone thrive as he has. He was born with Hypohydrotic Ecodermal Dysplasia, a genetic condition that affects the development of many bodily structures, such as skin and hair, and in Duttle’s case impeded the development of his sweat glands, which was especially dangerous because he grew up in the desert, and as a result experienced heat-induced seizures and other health problems. He faced social discrimination due to his sparse hair and other physical issues, but Nick never let such issues hold him back, instead choosing to focus on his positive attributes. Nick’s optimistic and driven personality and natural athleticism allowed him to overcome these difficulties and participate in activities like soccer, which allowed him to develop ways to get around his condition, such as dumping ice water over himself during games to simulate sweating.

Nick’s athletic skill and work ethic made him a standout competitive runner from 6th grade on, and he took part in Junior Olympic track events until he suffered a severe injury to his ACL at age 15 while playing soccer. He was unable to pay for the surgery or continue competitively participating in soccer and track, but still he did not give up. Instead, Duttle was amazingly able to rehabilitate himself through swimming, hiking, and cycling, and moved on to excel at a new sport: rock climbing.

Initially, it was hard for Duttle to even hold on to the rocks, because his lack of sweat meant it was impossible to achieve the necessary friction. But after attempting to climb immediately after swimming, he learned that if he applies moisture to his hands before climbing, it allows him to grip more easily, and, combined with his skill and strength, allowed him to succeed at boulder climbing. He was able to climb a V14 rated boulder, which is a world class level “only thought to be achievable by climbing

legends”. Despite these accomplishments, the “legend,” as he has been referred to, has not lost the desire to challenge himself, and has branched out even further into sport climbing,

Duttle is skilled in more than just the athletic world, having graduated from

New Mexico


University with a bachelors of science in Geography and a minor in Mathematics in 2006. He hopes to climb 5.15.c or harder despite his struggle to balance work and climbing and his ongoing health problems, including continuously deteriorating vision due to his Hypohydrotic Ecodermal Dysplasia. However, with all Duttle has overcome and accomplished so far, it is clear that nothing will hold him back if he can help it, and it is only a matter of time before he moves on to his next achievement. As he humorously puts it, "I hope to inspire but I just can't perspire," and he’s definitely an inspiration.

NOTE: Nick Duttle is represented by nationally prominent attorney David C. Grossack. To learn more about Nick, please contact Attorney Grossack at

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