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 274 of the Enormocast, I connect over the Atlantic with Swiss alpinist, guide, and Eiger North Face aficionado, Roger Schaeli. Roger was born directly in the Swiss alps and learned to climb at an early age with his father. Surrounded by deep Swiss climbing culture, an early accident did not deter Roger, rather it inspired him to be humble and careful in the mountains. The European media calls him “Mr. Eiger”, and though he finds that annoying, the nickname is not without its merit. Roger has climbed the North Face of the Eiger well-over 50 times, and he and his partners have opened some of the most difficult, committing, and best free climbs on the face. But Roger’s career encompasses much more than just the Eiger North Face. His exploits in Patagonia are legendary, and his expeditions span the globe. But whether in the big mountains or at the sport crag, good partners and having “fun” still reigns supreme.
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.