Enormocast 284: Emma Twyford – Getting on With It

Right Photo by Ray Wood

On Episode 284 of the Enormocast, we connect across the pond to North Wales in the U.K. and into the living room of Emma Twyford. Emma is a pioneering woman in that rarified air of hard, desperate trad that only the old country can serve up. She is the first British woman to climb 9a with her ascent of Big Bang (3rd ascent overall), has established 8b+ with Deux Mauvais Melons – the hardest FA ever by a British woman, and was the second woman to climb E9 with an ascent of Rare Lichen. We talk about the mentorship from her dad, moving through the hot bed of Sheffield but ending up in North Wales, and we even try to figure out the E grades to almost no avail. Emma also shares her struggles with fear and motivation after a close friend nearly loses her life in a car accident. Emma has made it to her late 30s despite some close calls and finds time to reflect on her current motivations including the daunting idea of starting a family.

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Enormocast 230: Paul Pritchard – The Tao of Paul

On Episode 230, I connect with Paul Pritchard all the way from Tasmania. Paul’s new book The Mountain Path: A Climbers Journey Through Life and Death examines his life of climbing and life-changing accident on the Totem Pole in Tasmania through the lens of his scholarship in Buddhism. Paul came of age in Wales climbing during the storied era of the dole climbers: living hand to mouth and climbing the hardest, scariest routes ever conceived. Pritchard went on to climb alpine and rock routes worldwide until he was hit by rockfall on a fateful day in 1998 while on the Totem Pole. Paul became hemiplegic, fought to regain speech, and looked into the abyss before realizing that he had a hell of a lot of living still left to do. In the 22 years since, Paul has climbed again, had many epic adventures all over the world, started a family, and learned to love that rock that clocked him in the skull and set him on the path towards an enlightened outlook.