On Episode 275 of the Enormocast, I sit down face to face with Finnish climber Anna Laitenin. After a youth in gymnastics, Anna found climbing and then almost accidentally found herself one of the best climbers in Finland. A life of competitions and pursuing hard climbs at home and beyond followed, as did becoming a professional climber. But it hasn’t been a free ride for Anna. A discouraging and relentless string of injuries ensued, and Anna had to learn to let go of expectations from others and even from her own mind. Now the former Finnish wunderkind loves climbing even more than the day she started, though a career in competitive boot throwing is not out of the question.
On Episode 274 of the Enormocast, I connect over the Atlantic with Swiss alpinist, guide, and Eiger North Face aficionado, Roger Schaeli. Roger was born directly in the Swiss alps and learned to climb at an early age with his father. Surrounded by deep Swiss climbing culture, an early accident did not deter Roger, rather it inspired him to be humble and careful in the mountains. The European media calls him “Mr. Eiger”, and though he finds that annoying, the nickname is not without its merit. Roger has climbed the North Face of the Eiger well-over 50 times, and he and his partners have opened some of the most difficult, committing, and best free climbs on the face. But Roger’s career encompasses much more than just the Eiger North Face. His exploits in Patagonia are legendary, and his expeditions span the globe. But whether in the big mountains or at the sport crag, good partners and having “fun” still reigns supreme.
On Episode 273 of the Enormocast, I reconnect with Brette Harrington who appeared on the Enormocast in 2016. Just after that first appearance, Brette and Mayan Smith-Gobat left for an audacious attempt on free climbing Riders on the Storm on Torre Central on the Torres de Paine massif. Even though they failed in their ultimate objective to free the route, that climb set the stage for Brette to burst onto the alpine climbing scene. Her partnership with Marc-André Leclerc introduced her to Canadian Rockies climbing and her fate was set. Then when Marc-André was lost on a climb in Alaska, Brette grieved by setting out on a two year tear through alpinism, establishing hard routes from Canada to Patagonia. Now, Brette has established herself as force in alpine climbing, rock climbing, and big mountain skiing. She won’t ever forget her love and learning from Marc-André, but Brette is going forward in a life of light and new goals.