Episode 44: Joshua Brandon alive and well in the mountains.

Veterans Dan Wiwczar, Derek Quintanilla, and Joshua Brandon on the summit of Mt. Olympus in Washington State.
Veterans Dan Wiwczar, Derek Quintanilla, and Joshua Brandon on the summit of Mt. Olympus in Washington State. Click to see trip report.

On Episode 44 of the Enormocast, a chance meeting leads to an enlightening interview with Iraq war vet Joshua Brandon. Josh explains how struggles with PTSD led him to finding solace in the mountains and climbing (turns out that mountaineering has many of the thrills of combat but without the guys shooting at you). He explains his mission with the Sierra Club to help his brothers and sisters in the military find an outlet in the mountains, and what its like to try to get the Department of Defense to hug a few trees.

Sierra Club: Mission Outdoors

Sierra Club: Military Families and Veterans Intitiative

Josh’s buddy Stacy Bare on the Dirtbag Diaries


9 Replies to “Episode 44: Joshua Brandon alive and well in the mountains.”

  1. This was a great show, Joshua is doing great work.
    As far as the climate change discussion, if this is NOT caused by humans is there anything we can do about? If it is natural should we do anything about it? just askin’! Seems this controversy has been all over the spectrum from global warming to global chilling, to simply climate change. Very confusing in my book!

    1. In my opinion, saying climate change is not at least heavily influenced by human activity is like saying cigarettes don’t cause cancer because there’s still one “scientist” working for Phillip Morris who says they don’t. Other than the thousands of peer reviewed studies confirming that adding Co2 and methane (agriculture) to the atmosphere while simultaneously destroying sequestration opportunities (deforestation) will cause the globe to warm in general and weather as we know it to become more severe and unpredictabl, it’s actually basic laws of thermodynamics. But, it is also my opinion that the ball will not be stopped because our lifestyle in the West is the envy of the developing world and no matter what we do, China and India will undo, despite some advances China is trying to make concerning renewables, etc.

      I think the problem really is the inability to really wrap our little brains around 7billion. There was a time when the world seemed so big and our influence so small that it was unimaginable that humans could change anything so big. But there are so many obvious ways in which we have: Ocean pollution, ground water drying up over hundreds of thousands square miles, massive deforestation, city and statewide dangerous air pollution. Just take those obvious localized problems we’ve dealt with for years and extrapolate them times 7billion. Then it’s pretty easy to believe that 7 billion people and the requisite industry and ag could start to change things on a global level.

      BUT #2, I have long argued that most of the things we try in the US and Europe to combat CO2 emissions and agricultural mismanagement are good for us in the long run anyway.

      1. Oil is bad- foreign dependency, pollution, destructive extraction, and it IS limited, so investing in and developing renewables will only do good in terms of the future, cleaner environment, economically, etc.

      And as Josh sort of points out, having a defense department that is dependent on foreign oil to operate is absurd. They realize it, but the Republicans have tried to tie their funding to oil.


      2. Protecting the environment is good. Do a little research on or go to a third world country where corruption and lack of regulation let an extraction company run wild. It ain’t pretty. People die, animals die, and they pull out and say “fuck you very much” when the resources are used up.

      3. So many things about agriculture in the US is a house of cards. The government promotes unhealthy and environmentally poor practices of single crop growth (corn) and meat meat meat. We eat too much meat. Throw in the genetic games, and pest control that promotes immunity to said controls, and things don’t look so good.

      4. Coal is gnarly for everyone involved.

      So, should we just move to higher ground and wait? Or hide in a hole and deny the overwhelming evidence that things are changing?

      Or do we look around and say “I’m not happy with this, let’s be smart and work on this problem.”

  2. This was an awesome episode—listened on the eve of Veteran’s day driving back from Bishop so it was especially apropos. I was so stoked you referenced Stacy Bare and the Dirtbag Diaries’ Home Front episode. The two really go together well as companion pieces. Required listening for climbers and folks beyond!

    Both of these podcasts are so important on many levels. I think something is quietly brewing and gathering momentum here. Toss in Paradox Sports and their good work and you see something very positive that’s developing in the climbing world. It may be that climbing is coming out of it’s adolescence. It’s not just about the “me” element so much anymore.

    Thanks for shining a light on these great organizations!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Josh does a great job of putting into words feelings that I have felt many times. As an active duty Army who sneaks into the mountains whenever possible, I can totally relate.

  4. I agree, definitely an awesome interview. The Fresh Air of the outdoor world! Thanks Chris.

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