On Episode 183 of the Enormocast, I sit down with truly legendary alpinist, Jim Donini. Jim has been banging it out on big climbs since before most of you, dear listeners, were born. Jim cemented his reputation early on in Patagonia when it was still a truly wild frontier, but Donini went on to put up first ascents on all 7 continents. His career also depicts a long love affair with the Karakorum and Alaska. But for Jim, the quality of the person at the other end of his rope is far more important than the climbing objective, and Jim has passed through thick and thin with many of the greats. 55 years and not stopping yet, Jim Donini is barometer for what’s possible in climbing longevity.
On Episode 179 of the Enormocast, I sit down with Dierdre Wolownick, perhaps better known in the climbing world as Alex Honnold’s mom. Up until now, Dierdre has appeared to the climbing world as a talking head in Alex’s movies, and I believe, she’s a bit misunderstood. Dierdre has recently put her thoughts on raising Alex, her life as a mother, and her new climbing passion in a book titled The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story. In our interview, Dierdre talks about being the mother of perhaps the greatest climber ever to live, but she also relates being a beginner and dipping her own toes in the climbing life for the first time well into her 50s. Despite her son being a mentor of sorts, Dierdre had to overcome a life of the workaday straight-and-narrow to jump into the cliquey, jargon filled world of rock climbing. Initially she sought out climbing to simply understand her son Alex’s crazy life, but soon Dierdre found her own inspiration in climbing that lead all the way to an ascent of El Cap.