On Episode 119 of the Enormocast, I sit down in Grand Junction, in the landing pad of Mayan Smith-Gobat, to interview young alpinist and free climber, Brette Harrington. Oft mistaken for a Canadian because of her ties to Squamish, this young American climber has been lighting up in climbing media with tales of audacious solos and big wall climbs. Brette explains that she has always gone her own way and found climbing after a path toward freeride skiing took her to New Hampshire. Now only 24, and already an experienced expedition and wall climber, the whole world is at her command. Oh, and she is not related to climber Emily Harrington, though she wouldn’t mind it if she was.
On Episode 118, I sit down with consummate mountain man, Conrad Anker. Recorded before his recent brush with the reaper (see below), Conrad was already all too familiar with tragedy in the mountains. A protégé of the late Mugs Stump, and goto partner of the fallen Alex Lowe, Conrad has been through the dark valley more than once in his climbing career. He has managed to emerge not just alive, but with a storied career as a climber, climbing mentor, and climbing professional. Somewhat reluctantly moving into middle age, Conrad will never stop pushing his limits in the mountains, even when they push back.
Conrad’s Early Inspiration: The SW Face of Everest 1975- Dougal Haston, Doug Scott.
On Episode 117, I sit down in a La Quinta Inn in Rifle, Colorado (the town, not the climbing area) with Heather Weidner. Heather and I nerd out on the process it took for her to do the first female ascent of China Doll (5.14R) sans bolts. Then we go deeper. After sending the multi-year mega-project that was China Doll, instead of lasting elation, Heather felt let-down and self-loathing. Heather had given up being a veterinarian to become a professional climber, and as she finally had space to reflect on that choice and her life before climbing, she’s had to reckon with sad memories and troubled times from the past. Climbing, though, still gives her the outlet she needs to be happy and move forward. Onward and upward, Heather hopes to graduate to “For-Lifer” and always find solace in climbing.
On Episode 116, I sit down with big wall badass ans speed climber, Dave Allfrey. His endless psyche and skills-to-pay-the-bills has made Dave one of the go-to guys in the Sierra and beyond when moving fast and safe is on the menu. Dave’s years on SAR and mentorships from some of the best has made him the kind of climber that will succeed no matter what the project. Dave has also forged partnerships with the best young climbers of his generation. In this episode, Dave gives his perspective on the discussion of Haywire that we started with Cheyne Lempe back in Episode 110. Too much stoke for just an hour, but it will have to do. Dave’s Website
On Episode 115 of the Enormocast, boulderer Paul Robinson sits down for a great talk about process. It turns out that puberty was all it took for Paul Robinson to become great. Well, that and 10,000 hours breathing BO and chalk dust in a gym. But more than that, Paul talks about relentless positivity, embracing suckitude, and loving to fail all being part the mental challenge to bouldering and climbing. For him, finding new lines is also the fire that feeds his stoke. Smart, funny, polite, and kind, Paul Robinson is much more than you might expect.