On Episode 215 of the Enormocast, I connect with climber, writer, former YoSAR member, Lauren Delaunay Miller. Lauren found climbing in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, and quickly made a plan to climb El Cap in 5 years despite not having any idea what rock climbing actually entailed. She pursued her goal not quite relentlessly, but nevertheless ended up in Yosemite a few years later. She did, indeed, climb the Nose in just under 5 years and then quickly pulled off a NIAD and a one day ascent of the Triple Direct with Quinn Brett and Josie McKee. In that same season, climbing lost some of its glow with a near fatal accident of Lauren’s mentor and a series of other tragedies in her tight-knit scene. Helplessness in the face of these accidents made Lauren resolve to learn more and finally qualify to join the feted YoSAR. Her latest challenge is completing a 78,000 word manuscript on some of the somewhat forgotten female legends of climbing.
On Episode 214 of the Enormocast, I beam myself to Sheffield, England, the heart of British climbing, to talk to Pete Whittaker. Pete is one half of the infamous Wide Boyz but not just an offwidth climber. His prowess on cracks of all sizes is well known and has lead to his new definitive modern crack climbing instruction book cleverly called, Crack Climbing. But on top of that acumen, Pete is also a brilliant trad climber and Grit climber. Finally, his bigwall record in Yosemite is quite astounding with several free ascents of the Big Stone and even a one day rope solo ascent of the Free Rider. Known, too, for a cheeky sense of humor and his rolling real-life-buddy-movie with Tom Randall, it always seems like Pete is indeed Alex Lowe’s mythical Best-Climber-Having-the-Most-Fun.
On Episode 200 of the Enormocast, I sit down with Timmy O’Neill. Timmy made a name for himself as a speed demon on the walls of Yosemite, but also as a fast-talking wise ass in such films as Urban Ape and Paralellojams. Born on the mean streets of Philly as one member of an enormous Irish Catholic family, Timmy busted a move to the West as soon as he was able and lucked into a scene in Yosemite with such contemporaries as Dean Potter and Sean “Stanley” Leary. His brother, Sean O’Neill, lost the use of his legs as a youth, and Timmy pushed his brother to become a climber and finally climb big walls. The experience of seeing his brother thrive in the vertical world on El Cap led Timmy to help form and help run Paradox Sports for many years. He also became a trusted partner for blind climber, Erik Weihenmayer. Now at middle age, Timmy is able to reflect in a crazy life on the rocks and all the love he feels for the gifts the natural world has given him and for the community that surrounds.