On Episode 217 of the Enormocast, I connect after some internet trouble with the indomitable Michaela Kiersch. Michaela grew up a Chicago girl – loving baseball and the White Sox- but when she found the climbing gym, her baseball goals were supplanted. The climbing community embraced Michaela at just the right time as her mother’s long battle with cancer ended in her death when Michaela was just a girl. Michaela cites the embrace of her climbing community in Chicago as a major help in her grief. Michaela’s mother lived long enough to instill Michaela with ambition and drive that brought her to the top of competition and sport climbing with national championships and multiple 5.14c ascents. Those same traits are seeing her through a PhD program in occupational therapy. Truly someone who sees more to life than climbing, Michaela may just have the energy to have it all.
On Episode 216 for the Enormocast, I luck into an interview with the elusive Jim Reynolds. Jim popped onto most of our radars with a really fast ascent of the Nose with the late great Brad Gobright followed by some truly audacious solos in Patagonia including an onsight solo up and down of Fitzroy. Finally, his sort of comic appearance in the Real Rock 14 film about Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold breaking 2 hours on the Nose made a lot of people wonder, “Who’s that guy with Brad Gobright?” But of course, there is way more to Jim than that guy. This episode brings to light the stories that made him renown and also the details of his soloing life and life in Yosemite. Jim loves to disappear into the mountains, but he is also starting to love to tell the tales when he returns.
On Episode 215 of the Enormocast, I connect with climber, writer, former YoSAR member, Lauren Delaunay Miller. Lauren found climbing in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, and quickly made a plan to climb El Cap in 5 years despite not having any idea what rock climbing actually entailed. She pursued her goal not quite relentlessly, but nevertheless ended up in Yosemite a few years later. She did, indeed, climb the Nose in just under 5 years and then quickly pulled off a NIAD and a one day ascent of the Triple Direct with Quinn Brett and Josie McKee. In that same season, climbing lost some of its glow with a near fatal accident of Lauren’s mentor and a series of other tragedies in her tight-knit scene. Helplessness in the face of these accidents made Lauren resolve to learn more and finally qualify to join the feted YoSAR. Her latest challenge is completing a 78,000 word manuscript on some of the somewhat forgotten female legends of climbing.