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 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 142 of the Enormocast, I sit down in a wide open and relaxing space in SLC to talk to big wall legend, John Middendorf. John disappeared to Tasmania after single-handedly changing big wall climbing in the 1990s. Previously, porta-ledges afforded respite from the vertical, but could not hold any serious storm at bay. John’s designs at his company A5 lead the way to a ledge that could handle nearly anything the weather could throw at it. Armed with this shelter, climbers could cast off into the upward void for as log as it took come rain, shine, sleet, or snow. John himself took the ledge to the great ranges, putting up The Grand Voyage on Great Trango Tower with Xaver Bongard, perhaps still the hardest wall route in the world. Now he’s back in the designing game with the new D4 Ledges. And a shout-out to Rock Steady Body Works for the recording space.
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.