Enormocast 285: Nico Favresse – Mad to Live

On Episode 285 of the Enormocast, after long last, I connect with Belgian rock-climber and alpinist, Nico Favresse. Nico is certainly a contender for the most experienced expedition rock-climber of all time. Perhaps only rivalled by his ubiquitous partner, Sean Villanueva-O’Driscoll? Nevertheless, Nico is an all-arounder who has tackled the biggest and most remote bigwalls on the planet. In addition, Favresse is a hot-shot single pitch trad climber, sport-climber, and (was) comp-climber. But maybe, just maybe, he is best known for pulling off acoustic jam sessions in the harshest conditions and faraway places. He brings his enthusiasm to the Enormocast with tails of his beginnings, stories from his biggest climbs, tributes to his partners, and finally, and original guitar tune to take us home.

Enormocast 277: Kurt Smith – The Iconoclast

Photos: Potrero Chico by Corey Rich, Independence Pass by Rick Lovelace, Donner Summit by John Bachar

On Episode 277 of the Enormocast, we connect with the inimitable Kurt Smith. Kurt grew up in the 70s in Tahoe and through friendships with local climbers like Rick Lovelace and encounters with Yosemite Climber, Kurt found himself in Joshua Tree amongst the Stonemasters in the early 80s. Soon, Kurt and his crew were making waves right behind John Bachar and Ron Kauk in the Valley and J-Tree. After a stint as Bachar’s sideman and eventually close friend, an injury forced Kurt to reckon with his tradster roots and become a true sport climber – developing such areas as Clear Creek Canyon and Rifle. But one or two world class areas weren’t enough for Kurt, and he went on to put Potrero Chico on the map before being run out under shady circumstances. Kurt ranks up amongst the best and most influential climbers of all time, and his career spanned more styles and decades than almost any body before or since. And boy, can he tell a story!

Kurt on Midnight Lightning circa 1984

Enormocast 272: Connor Herson – Deeds of Youth

All Photos Christian Adam

On Episode 272 of the Enormocast, I connect with young trad-phenom, Connor Herson. Connor first burst into climbing’s collective consciousness with the 6th free ascent of the Nose at the tender age of 15. Connor had already climbed 14 5.14s by the age of 14 (say that ten times fast), and he went on to collect 50 by the age of 18. His resume includes two youth national lead titles and a few 5.14 first ascents. Most recently, Connor swept into Squamish and nabbed repeats of some of the hardest routes in the area. Connor credits his family’s connection to climbing with much of his success – his dad Jim was a hot Yosemite climber in his day, his mom is a tireless supporter and belayer, and his sister Kara was a successful youth climber. Mix that pedigree with a boatload of talent and you get a singular climber: Connor Herson.