On Episode 154 of the Enormocast, I sit down back stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado with Senses Fail frontman and founding member, Buddy Nielsen. Buddy has been the lead singer and driving force behind this acclaimed hardcore band since 2002. Living the touring rock band life led him into many of the typical pitfalls of booze, drugs, and erratic behavior. But rock climbing, the birth of his daughter, and the care from and for his wife have brought him to a hard-won place of balance in the last 3 years. Buddy is a proud helmet-wearing, slab-climbing, dad-climber who, like us all, aspires to get a little better every time he climbs. He finds that the fear and challenge of rock climbing is a balm to his anxiety in normal life. All the tunes in this one come from Senses Fail’s 2018 recording, If There is Light, It Will Find You.
On Episode 152 of the Enormocast, I met up with ice-climber, rock-climber, guide, and gym-owner, Janet Wilkinson, in her breakfast nook in New Hampshire. Janet came up in climbing when female trad-climbers and guides were still few and far between and cut her teeth with the boys. But in search of lady partners, she made life long friends with the likes of Sarah Garlick. Janet does not consider herself an alpinist, but anybody else looking at her resume in Patagonia and beyond certainly would. For now, as a mother, she’s happy at her local crags in New Hampshire, but she is always threatening to be a threat again in the greater ranges.
On Episode 152 of the Enormocast, I realize a stated dream by sitting down in the Oasis Camper Trailer with Mark Hudon and Max Jones. Max and Mark quietly pushed the boundaries of free climbing in the late 70s in Yosemite. Operating under the shadows of the likes of Kauk and Bachar, Jones and Hudon were every bit as visionary on big routes as those superstars. They had a tremendous 5 year run in the Valley and beyond before Max Jones turned his talents to the budding sport of Mountain Biking, and Mark Hudon started searching for something new – eventually ending up with a coffee business in Hood River and then retiring to become a climbing bum again. But several years ago, the buddy movie that was their time together in Yosemite in the 70s got a reboot and they’ve been climbing walls as a team again to this day.
On Episode 151 of the Enormocast, you, dear listener, join the Enormocast for an ascent of Golden Gate on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. Golden Gate is a variation off the Salathe Wall, and as a free climb, the next step up from FreeRider. On May 18th, 2018, Steve Dilk and I blasted off up the Heart Highway for what would become a 7 day ascent of the wall- Steve’s first big wall, and my return to the Captain after 12 years. We encountered rain, pain, and scary climbing, but in the end, eked out an ascent that was not nearly in the style we had planned in terms of free climbing, but hell, we summitted.
On Episode 150 of the Enormocast, we tape a live one in front of an audience at for the 5Point Film Festival. I invited old friend Brendan Leonard of semi-rad.com to moderate a discussion between myself and Fitz Cahall of The Dirtbag Diaries and Duct Tape Then Beer. Fitz was well into his podcast career when I started, and we’ve both proven to have longevity in the genre, though our approaches and philosophies are quite different. Episode 50 was an interview of myself by Brendan Leonard and 100 episodes later, Brendan returns to talk to both Fitz and I about podcasting, creativity, and of course, climbing.