On Episode 28, I bag with one clean shot, a perfectly healthy free-range Honnold. Alex sits down in a clean, well-lit place to expound on his life in the glare of the klieg lights . He tells us what it was like to lock eyes with the beautiful and mysterious Lara Logan, what it was like to lock eyes with the happy-go-lucky Steve Denny on a lonely night on El Cap, and what its like to lock eyes with you, as he blows past on that hanging belay in Yosemite. From shy boy to pro-sesh hero, Alex lets us sit in on his world for an hour. Turns out, its pretty fun and chill in the Republic of Honnoldlandia.
On Episode 27, I chase down New Zealander Mayan Smith-Gobat in of all places, Grand Junction, Colorado. Mayan tells how she is holed up in the oddly frigid wasteland that is Colorado’s Western Slope to retool her mind and body into a killer android-like climbing machine. Who knew that GJ was such a hotbed of training fanatics? Mayan tells us about her beginnings in New Zealand, her move onto the world scene, and her obsessive no-excuses methods for getting it done. I manage to avoid even making a single sheep joke about NZ or referring to her namesake alien-seeded middle Americans whose lame apocalypse was such a letdown last month. I’m getting to be pretty pro-sesh if I do say so myself.
On Episode 26, we sit down in Denver, Colorado with young alpinist Keven Landolt. Kevin is facing down leukemia and still dreaming of the mountains. He fills us in on what goes through his mind as he fights to keep his dignity as his body fails him. From diagnosis through a bone marrow transplant and a failed remission, Kevin has used his experiences climbing as motivation and a bulwark against the void . This episode may begin to answer one of the ultimate alpine questions: does climbing really matter?