On Episode 272 of the Enormocast, I connect with young trad-phenom, Connor Herson. Connor first burst into climbing’s collective consciousness with the 6th free ascent of the Nose at the tender age of 15. Connor had already climbed 14 5.14s by the age of 14 (say that ten times fast), and he went on to collect 50 by the age of 18. His resume includes two youth national lead titles and a few 5.14 first ascents. Most recently, Connor swept into Squamish and nabbed repeats of some of the hardest routes in the area. Connor credits his family’s connection to climbing with much of his success – his dad Jim was a hot Yosemite climber in his day, his mom is a tireless supporter and belayer, and his sister Kara was a successful youth climber. Mix that pedigree with a boatload of talent and you get a singular climber: Connor Herson.
On Episode 271, I am joined by climbing coach and former (maybe) competitor, Charlie Schreiber. Charlie coaches climbers of all ages, but the meat of this conversation is about youth climbing teams. Charlie has been a youth climbing coach since he was a youth himself. We discuss my own skepticism about the promise of youth sports, but Charlie allays my fears as best he can with his techniques for including ALL kids in the success of the program. By the end, I am not necessarily won over to the party-line on how good sports are for kids, but I am convinced that Charlie is one of the best youth coaches I’ve ever met.
On Episode 270 of the Enormocast, we are joined by Indigenous activist and climber, Briana Mazzolini-Blanchard. Though her path to accepting her heritage as a member of the CHamoru/Tugong Clan with origins in Guam was not without struggles, Briana has spent the last 6 years advocating for Indigenous peoples in Ohio and Eastern Kentucky. As a board-member of the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition, she has spearheaded that group’s outreach to under-served and under-represented communities. As Executive Director of the Urban Native Collective, she also strives to serve the Indigenous community outside of climbing. Finally, as a climber/advocate, Briana wants to rattle our cages and make us think about how we impact the land and what the climbing community is going to look like, value, and accept going forward.