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 197 of the Enormocast, I sit down with former champion comp climber, Katie Brown. Katie Brown inhabited a place in competition climbing in the 90s when the kids took over the sport. Her cohort, the likes of Chris Sharma, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, were the first wave of young competitors to put the adults on notice that the comps were about to change drastically. Katie was also a visionary onsight climber bagging an a vue ascent of Omaha Beach in the Red (.13d) and Hydrophobia in Montsant, Catalunya (.14a). But the untold story of Katie’s comp years is the family strife and eating disorders and confusion that plagued her short, meteoric career. Now a mom, wife, and just finding climbing again, Katie is ready to reveal her trauma in the hopes that the current generation of comp climbers can learn from her difficult path.
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.