Episode 142: John Middendorf – Build It and They Will Go.

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.

John and D4’s Facebook Page

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Episode 141: Sam Lightner Jr. – Heavy Green.

On Episode 141, my friend and climbing advocate, Sam Lightner, returns for his sophomore appearance on the Enormocast after joining us way back on Episode 9.  Sam just recently published a book, Heavy Green, about a battle in the Vietnam War that involved a climbing twist as the NVA were faced with a climbing crux for a daring attack. Apropos, since Sam’s interest and admiration for Southeast Asia has been a decades long pursuit. We also talk climbing opportunities in Laos, the current scene in Thailand, and bolts. Sam’s been on the front line of bolting and climbing conservation for years, and knows the difference between a bomber bolt and rusty death-bomb.

Sam on his route, Lord of the Thais.


Info on Lima Site 85 on Phou Pha Thi.

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Episode 140: Nalle Hukkataival – Going Beyond.

Photo: Kevin Smith

On Episode 140 of the Enormocast, I sit down with World Citizen by way of Finland, Nalle Hukkataival. Much to my surprise, we found ourselves discussing at great length a single boulder problem, Burden of Dreams, something I never would have expected on the Enormocast. However, as we delve into Nalle’s send of what is currently the only problem rated V17 in the world, we found incredible terrain for examining motivation and resolve. Nalle explains the depth of reserves he had to call on to complete the project and the long fight with doubt. Nalle also talks about how he got into climbing in the flat land of Finland, and why bouldering is the way. Nalle is on top of his game, and it was a pleasure to talk to an absolute master.

Burden of Dreams film (The Lapnor Project). 

Nalle’s Website


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Episode 139: Joe Grant – Analyzing the Simple.

On Episode 139 of the Enormocast, I sit down with mountain runner, or running explorer, or climber runner, or just plain runner, Joe Grant. Joe and I connected at a fundraising event for the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance in Salt Lake City, and while Joe was telling me about his running passion and long distance jones, I said, “Stop! Do you want to do this on an Enormocast?!” Luckily, Joe said yes, and here we are. I try and mine Joe for the secrets of mile 80, when the legs are done, the joints hurt, the mind is cracking and the runner keeps going. How do you do it, Joe? I’m not sure we get the magic bullet, but Joe’s insights do illuminate the drive we have in the mountains, on long routes, and big days. Joe also tells the story of his human powered expedition to climb all the Colorado 14ers. Ironically, Joe remains in awe of hard climbing while we will remain in awe of him.

Joe’s Website.

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Episode 138: Heidi Wirtz – The Long Game.

On Episode 138 of the Enormocast, I sit down with my old friend, Heidi Wirtz. Heidi came up in climbing rock and ice in the hard-knocks backwater of Crested Butte, CO. She learned to take chances but never take money for climbing. After committing fully to the dirtbag lifestyle, Heidi nevertheless soon found herself wanting a way to pay for climbing in the greater ranges and tiptoeing into becoming a pro-climber. But her mentors in CB forgave her, and Heidi Wirtz has since become one of the most stick-with-it trad climbers and pros out there. Her love of Yoga has allowed Heidi to combine her passions in the company Earth Play Retreats offering guided climbing and Yoga adventures around the world. Trad and rad to the core, Heidi-Almighty is a lifer.

Trailer from a video Heidi and I were in.

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