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 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.
On Episode 120, the Enormocast REBROADCASTS Kris Hampton’s interview with Miguel and Dario Ventura of the infamous and beloved Miguels Pizza in the Red River Gorge. Kris reached out with this interview because though he posted it over at his podcast, The Power Company Podcast, he thought it had just the right feel for an Enormocast. And since the holidays had made me fat and lazy, I said, “Sure!”. Besides, his access and friendship with Miguel resulted in an awesome, intimate interview that The Enormocast may not have been able to get. Miguel, and now his son Dario, have been slinging pizzas and offering a home away from home for climbers since before the Red was a thing. But the deeper conversation reveals and artist and a man whose satisfaction comes from his family, both immediate, and the climbing family that has surrounded Miguels from the very beginning. Please thank Kris by checking out his page, powercompanyclimbing.com, in return for sharing this fine interview with one of climbing’s pillars.