On Episode 144 of the Enormocast, I sit down at the Ouray ice festival with ice climbing dark horse, Rapheal Slawinski. While a total legend in his backyard of the Canadian Rockies, Raph is maybe not quite the household name of his compatriot, Will Gadd. Yet, he has been on the forefront of ice climbing, dry-tooling, and big mountain climbing for over 20 years, receiving a Piolet D’or in 2014 for his and Ian Welsted’s ascent of K6 West in the Karokorum of Pakistan. Part affable Polish Canadian, part precision machine, Raphael found his calling scraping away at ice on rock in the Canadian Rockies and beyond.
On Episode 142 of the Enormocast, I sit down in a wide open and relaxing space in SLC to talk to big wall legend, John Middendorf. John disappeared to Tasmania after single-handedly changing big wall climbing in the 1990s. Previously, porta-ledges afforded respite from the vertical, but could not hold any serious storm at bay. John’s designs at his company A5 lead the way to a ledge that could handle nearly anything the weather could throw at it. Armed with this shelter, climbers could cast off into the upward void for as log as it took come rain, shine, sleet, or snow. John himself took the ledge to the great ranges, putting up The Grand Voyage on Great Trango Tower with Xaver Bongard, perhaps still the hardest wall route in the world. Now he’s back in the designing game with the new D4 Ledges. And a shout-out to Rock Steady Body Works for the recording space.
On Episode 140 of the Enormocast, I sit down with World Citizen by way of Finland, Nalle Hukkataival. Much to my surprise, we found ourselves discussing at great length a single boulder problem, Burden of Dreams, something I never would have expected on the Enormocast. However, as we delve into Nalle’s send of what is currently the only problem rated V17 in the world, we found incredible terrain for examining motivation and resolve. Nalle explains the depth of reserves he had to call on to complete the project and the long fight with doubt. Nalle also talks about how he got into climbing in the flat land of Finland, and why bouldering is the way. Nalle is on top of his game, and it was a pleasure to talk to an absolute master.