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 134, I sit down with alpinist and filmmaker, Graham Zimmerman. Graham has found the magic mix of working in the outdoor industry and still getting to go on trip after trip to the high alpine. The secret is working both sides of the lens as a crack mountaineer and a dedicated film auteur. Despite his relatively young age, Graham imparts sage advice on how to get into making outdoor films and how to live, love, and learn in the big mountains, and he’s learned from the best, like recent Enormocast guest, Steve Swenson. And while he is as serious about climbing as an Olde E shortage in Camp 4, Graham can still laugh at our idiotic sport.
On Episode 129 of the Enormocast, I sit down with consummate alpinist, Steve Swensen. Steve’s career in the big mountains has spanned decades. As a kid, Steve dreamed of flying to the stars as an Apollo astronaut, but he chose to climb as close to space as possible instead. While he has climbed worldwide, his most memorable and mesmerizing locale is the Karakorum on the borders of Pakistan, China, and India. In his new book Karakorum: Climbing through the Kashmir Conflict, Steve recounts his years exploring the mountains of this formerly closed region and falling in love with its people but also watching the waves of conflict ebb and flow in the surrounding lands. Steve spent 40 years balancing on the three pillars of his radical life: climbing, career, and family, and somehow he is as stoked as ever to be in the mountains and pushing his mind and body to the highest reaches of the Earth.
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 107 of the Enormocast, I sit down in an office in Carbondale with expedition climber, explorer, and super-dad, Mike Libecki. Mike was once just a Yosemite climbing- bum like so many before him, but then he found expedition climbing and his fate was sealed. 60+ expeditions later and first ascents in far-flung locals such as Baffin Island, Greenland, Madagascar, and Afghanistan, Mike is still going strong and pulling his daughter along with him in his life of exploration. 100 expeditions are his goal, and after that? More trips, we suppose. “Never ration passion!” is Mike’s saying du jour, and he lives that every damn day.