The List: Adventure Siblings

What’s more intriguing in celebrity culture than someone with an equally, or more talented, sibling? Especially when they do the

The Mahres.

What’s more intriguing in celebrity culture than someone with an equally, or more talented, sibling? Especially when they do the same thing: acting, singing, playing the same sport. Like Venus and Serena Williams, Eli and Peyton Manning, Owen and Luke Wilson, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, The Jonas Brothers. OK, not the Jonas Brothers.

Our favorite adventure sports are full of these characters, too:

Dan, Gee, and Rachel Atherton
In 2008, the women’s and men’s downhill world championships were won by racers with the same last name: the U.K.’s Rachel and Gee Atherton. Rachel and her older brother, Gee, have won dozens of World Cup downhill races and both have been national champions, and oh, their brother Dan isn’t half-bad either, competing in enduro downhill and downhill, and taking podium finishes and a U.K. national championship himself. The three have stayed together since 2007, first on the Red Bull-sponsored Animal Commençal racing team, and now on the GT factory team. Atherton Racing.

C.J. and Damien Hobgood
Florida-born Twins C.J. and Damien Hobgood have surfed competitively since they were 10 years old, and done well — they were sponsored by Rusty during high school, and dominated the East Coast surf circuit. C.J. has won two world championships, and each brother has taken home titles at World Championship Tour events around the world. They own and operate The Goods Surf and Skate in Satellite Beach, Florida. @Hobgoods

Alexander and Thomas Huber
Both of these German-born climbers are badasses of their own accord, and, climbing together, they crush. Their most impressive team ascents include first-ascent rock climbs in Antarctica, speed records of El Capitan routes (sub-two hours on Zodiac, sub-three hours The Nose), and other first ascents and first free ascents all over the world — Patagonia, Pakistan, Europe. Thomas has famously free-soloed routes up to 5.14a.

Andy and Bruce Irons
Andy Irons and his younger brother Bruce could high-five over one incredibly uncommon commonality: They both beat 11-time world champion Kelly Slater during their surfing careers. Growing up on Kauai’s tough North Shore, the brothers were both pro stars, with Andy having the more successful career, winning three world titles in a row from 2002 to 2004. Andy tragically died at age 32 in 2010, from a heart attack that may have been caused by a mix of drugs. After his death, the Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 “Andy Irons Day.” Irons Brothers Productions.

Greg and Jeff Lowe
Pick just one thing Jeff Lowe did that changed climbing: Invented mixed climbing. Brought modern ice technique from Europe to the U.S. First climbed the sheer walls in Zion Canyon. Bridalveil Falls. Moonlight Buttress. The yet-to-be-repeated Metanoia on the Eiger Nordwand. More than a thousand first ascents. As Jeff was beginning his climbing career, his brother Greg was starting Lowe Alpine in his work shed in Colorado, beginning with packs and rock climbing gear (including some of the first cams) starting in 1967. Lowe Alpine begat LowePro, makers of camera-carrying systems. Interesting fact: Same last name, but late renowned climber Alex Lowe is no relation to Jeff and Greg, and neither is George Lowe, the New Zealand mountaineer who was a member of the 1953 Everest expedition. The Incredible Lowe Brothers.

Phil and Steve Mahre
Phil and Steve Mahre, America’s most famous skiing brothers and maybe some of its most famous twins, grew up on the slopes: When they were seven years old, their father Dave became the manager at White Pass ski area in Washington, where the twins learned and grew into dominant skiers. In the 1984 Winter Olympics, Phil took the gold in the slalom and Steve took the silver. In their eight-year World Cup career, they had 36 victories in slalom, giant slalom, and combined — Steve had nine and Phil had 27. Phil had podium finishes in 69 events and Steve had 21 podiums. After retiring from skiing, the Mahres turned their attention to auto racing and part-time ski coaching, operating Mahre Training Centers camps. Mahre Training Center.

Chris, Dan, and Keith Malloy
They were pro surfers, then they made surf films, then they helped Patagonia design its environmentally-responsible surf gear. If you watch surfing movies, you’ve probably gotten stoked by their work at some point: Thicker Than Water, Shelter, Brokedown Melody, The Duke, and others. Dan, Keith, and Chris, six years apart, were raised by a surfing father in Ojai, California, and they caught the bug in the water 15 miles away. Since then, they’ve figured out how to make a living while doing what they love. They’re also longtime bros with surfer/singer/songwriter Jack Johnson — the brothers, their cousin Emmett Malloy and Johnson formed their film company Moonshine Conspiracy in 1998 (now Woodshed Films). Malloy Brothers.

Steve and Tamara McKinney
Steve McKinney is best remembered for how fast he could go on skis: He set seven different world speed skiing records between 1974 and 1987, and was the first person to break the 200 km/hr barrier (or 124 mph) on skis. He was an accomplished ski mountaineer, skiing Denali in 1984 with Jim Bridwell — and he was the first person to fly a hang-glider off of Mount Everest, from a spot on the West Ridge at about 22,000 feet. Know who else in his family wasn’t a half-bad skier? His half-sister Tamara, who had her first World Cup podium finish at age 16 in the slalom. She went on to win 18 World Cup events and have 45 podium finishes in a 10-year career. Wikipedia (Steve), Wikipedia (Tamara).

Andy and Frank Schleck
Cyclists Andy and Frank Schleck race as a package deal — they have in the past insisted on riding together, and change teams together. Of course, the brothers from Luxembourg can’t always finish together, and sometimes, apparently, their strategies differ: Frank has been troubled more than once by doping allegations and tested positive during the 2012 Tour de France for Xipamide. Andy, on the other hand, retroactively won the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title in 2012 for doping. Both brothers have been at the forefront of cycling, winning or finishing on the podium at the Tour de France, the Tour de Suisse, Tour de Luxembourg, Critérium International, Giro d’Italia, and other races. Wikipedia (Andy), Wikipedia (Frank).

Jim and Lou Whittaker
In 1950, 21-year-old twin brothers Jim and Lou Whittaker began guiding on Mount Rainier, just outside their hometown of Seattle, beginning careers that helped establish two institutions in the outdoors: Rainier Mountaineering Inc. and Recreation Equipment Inc., aka REI. Starting in 1967, Lou built Rainier Mountaineering Inc. into one of the most successful guide businesses in the world, bringing in $1.8 million in revenue in 2007, and guiding more than 75,000 people to the summit of Rainier. Jim became one of America’s most famous mountaineers – he was the first American to summit Mount Everest in 1963, as well as the first full-time employee of REI. He went on to become the company’s first president and CEO, beginning its expansion from a single retail outlet in Seattle to what it is today. Wikipedia (Jim), Wikipedia (Lou).

Brendan Leonard is a contributing editor to Adventure Journal. Follow him at his blog, Semi-Rad.
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Showing 6 comments
  • Louis Zuhr

    Tango and Cash?

  • Fielding Miller

    What about Steve, Todd and Jeremy Jones?

  • dana

    Arne and Ingred Backstrom….

  • Ian

    Burgess Brothers

  • Ben

    Richard and Adrian Crane from Running the Himalayas.

  • Riley

    You forgot Buddy, Skeeter and Loris Werner of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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