On Episode 179 of the Enormocast, I sit down with Dierdre Wolownick, perhaps better known in the climbing world as Alex Honnold’s mom. Up until now, Dierdre has appeared to the climbing world as a talking head in Alex’s movies, and I believe, she’s a bit misunderstood. Dierdre has recently put her thoughts on raising Alex, her life as a mother, and her new climbing passion in a book titled The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story. In our interview, Dierdre talks about being the mother of perhaps the greatest climber ever to live, but she also relates being a beginner and dipping her own toes in the climbing life for the first time well into her 50s. Despite her son being a mentor of sorts, Dierdre had to overcome a life of the workaday straight-and-narrow to jump into the cliquey, jargon filled world of rock climbing. Initially she sought out climbing to simply understand her son Alex’s crazy life, but soon Dierdre found her own inspiration in climbing that lead all the way to an ascent of El Cap.
On Episode 175 of the Enormocast, I sit down in the Mobile Studio parked under a rainy Moab sky with Mark Hudon and Jordan Cannon. Mark and Jordan are on a great Western road trip and prepping for Mark’s attempt on the Freerider on El Cap. But here’s the thing, Mark is 63 and Jordan is 24 which makes them an odd generational couple. Hudon was a legend in the late 70s for attempting to free climb the Salathe Wall with Max Jones. If he pulls off the Freerider, Mark will certainly become the oldest climber to free El Cap and his story will come full circle to realize his ambition from 1979. And Jordan, almost as much as Mark, is determined to make that happen.
On this special Episode, I whip those stallions pulling the Free Solo bandwagon and rebroadcast Alex Honnold’s interview from 2017 – just a few weeks out from his free solo of the FreeRider on El Capitan in Yosemite. Not just a cynical grab at downloads, when I re-listened this interview for myself, I was newly fascinated by Alex Honnold after now having seen Free Solo the movie. Before the hype, before the Oscar, there was just an over-stoked climber on top of the world. Its quaint how naive we were about the mainstream not really noticing what Alex had done.