Episode 60: Building a Better Climber w/ Topher Donahue and Chris Van Leuven

High above Boulder

On Episode 60, we record a live one on Climbing Lawyer Dan Markoff’s deck overlooking Boulder, Colorado. Climbers Topher Donahue and Chris Van Leuven join me for a discussion of what it takes to lose that new climber smell, and replace it with old trad-climber stink. The sometimes contentious discussion ranges from toothbrush shaving, to where to store your nuts, and, luckily, a few pearls of wisdom get dropped by my guests. I’m pretty sure we don’t mention the Black, Indian Creek, or Rifle: perhaps a first on the Enormocast. As a bonus, stick around to the end for a moment of slam poetry created at the event by Jena Kirkpatrick.

Jena Kirkpatrick: Poet for Hire.

Trad with Topher class from the Colorado Mountain School.




5 Replies to “Episode 60: Building a Better Climber w/ Topher Donahue and Chris Van Leuven”

  1. I absolutely love this episode, it touches base on various points that I myself went through and continue to go through. I started climbing outside, I led the very first climb I ever did and while it was only a 5.6 sport route in American Fork canyon, it was plenty scary. I also didn’t have any kind of official mentor other than my friends I was climbing with. I was immediately drawn to gear climbing as it seemed more adventurous and more natural. Along with the plethora of books by John Long, Peter Croft and other greats, I was drawn in and hooked on gear, I bought a rack and without any instruction, other than books and YouTube began to tick off as many easy gear climbs I could. The learning curve was steep and I went some time before falling on gear. This whole episode brought back wave after wave of memories from the early climbs I had done. This along with numerous other profound reasons is why I love the enormecast. I’ve listened to every episode at least twice, some more and will continue to do so. Thanks for starting this amazing new age journalistic virtual jukebox of memories from yourself and the greats.

  2. Superb episode… the virtual campfire at it’s best. You never know where the next turn of conversation is going to take you, but you know it’s going to highly entertaining.

    The Jena Kirkpatrick poem at the end was one of the best Easter Eggs ever. That needs to be preserved for eternity some kind of indestructible archive. Made my day!

  3. I think the goal of the topic was achieved. Lots of excellent food for thought for the aspiring climber, no matter what level that climber’s ability is. I think what might be perceived as conflicting advice from Topher is normal for a person who has achieved a very high level of competence in his discipline. The advice from Chris Van Lueven for approaching climbing (and all aspects of our lives) with “beginner eyes” is a wonderful mindset and challenging practice. Thanks much for the excellent work!

    1. Glad you found some inspiration. Topher has a tendency to be contrarian at all costs. And Chris’ philosophy is a bit more amicable. So it was probably a good mix.

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