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 204, I connect across state lines with climber, doctor, athlete, ninja, cancer survivor, and last but not least, president of the Southern Maryland Youth Foreign Film and Cuisine Club, Favia Dubyk. Favia grew up “below the Mason-Dixon line” but ended up attending Harvard and Columbia and ended up living in Cleveland and now New Mexico. Finding climbing along the way, Favia now fancies herself a “roof boulderer” that dabbles in sport climbing. Also along the way, Favia was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma at 24 and very nearly lost her life to the disease. With the help of her then boyfriend, now husband, and a host of other friends, family members, and health professionals, Favia returned to a life of normalcy and CLIMBING. Now a pathologist in New Mexico and mom to 5 cats and a dog, Favia lives a life of seemingly unbounded energy and joy and truly lives to climb.
On Episode 194, I sit down in Denver, Colorado with Louisville, KY native and Red River Gorge climber, Dru Mack. Dru is a youngish climber and coach who dropped roots in the Red as a kid, and now uses the base he gained there to tick hard sport pitches and boulders worldwide. At an early age, Dru experienced therapy for clinical anxiety, and he now can bring that experience to bear coaching kids not just in climbing, but finding their way in the complicated world of adolescence. Also, Dru is one of those seemingly rare climbers with a love of a ball sport, namely basketball, and apparently he has some actual skill? He uses the inspiration from that sport to drive his goals in climbing.