On Episode 278 of the Enormocast, I connect with Thomas Bukowski from my home to his van sitting in Yosemite. Thomas had just completed three El Cap routes in three days, and was recovering. His next adventures in Patagonia were just on the horizon. Thomas is an American citizen, but is also half Chinese and grew up in Hong Kong. Decidedly a little too squirrelly for regimented Hong Kong schooling, Thomas eventually found himself in boarding school in Norway where he learned to climb. His climbing aspirations were interrupted for a time when one morning he woke up and realized he was gay. Like, for real gay, and he made the move to San Francisco to explore what that meant. But the path couldn’t diverge for long, and soon he was at the gym, then at Yosemite, and then living in his van pursuing a guiding career and climbing career. Now Thomas, AKA Neodude, spends his time pursuing his own goals, but also representing for the gay community and reaching out to bring the chance to climb to underserved communities.
On Episode 273 of the Enormocast, I reconnect with Brette Harrington who appeared on the Enormocast in 2016. Just after that first appearance, Brette and Mayan Smith-Gobat left for an audacious attempt on free climbing Riders on the Storm on Torre Central on the Torres de Paine massif. Even though they failed in their ultimate objective to free the route, that climb set the stage for Brette to burst onto the alpine climbing scene. Her partnership with Marc-André Leclerc introduced her to Canadian Rockies climbing and her fate was set. Then when Marc-André was lost on a climb in Alaska, Brette grieved by setting out on a two year tear through alpinism, establishing hard routes from Canada to Patagonia. Now, Brette has established herself as force in alpine climbing, rock climbing, and big mountain skiing. She won’t ever forget her love and learning from Marc-André, but Brette is going forward in a life of light and new goals.
On Episode 220 of the Enormocast, I sit down across the internet with Alex Honnold. A lot has happened to Alex Honnold since we last talked in 2017. Back then, he had just free soloed El Cap, but the Oscar winning film of that ascent was still year away from blowing our minds and moistening our palms. So I endeavored to discover if AH had changed much. If he had let the fame and fortune fortune and rubbing his elbows with rock stars go to his head. Turns out he’s same old Alex Honnold: still wants to climb, still has no time for your bullshit. And he also still wants to make the world a better, more equitable place. Good to know that some things never change.