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.
On November 27th, 2019, climber, friend, and former guest of the Enormocast, Brad Gobright fell to his death in Potrero Chico, Mexico. I had known Brad for a decade, and he had appeared on the the Enormocast in 2016. This is a repost of that interview with an added intro. The original is here. Since this interview, Brad had been spending much of his time free climbing and speed climbing on El Cap with, among thousands of other pitches, a repeat of Pineapple Express, a one day free ascent of El Corazon, and holding the Nose speed record until it was taken by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in a protracted campaign. Brad represented a certain type of under-the-radar nonchalance that climbing has always held sacred, but cumulatively, he was one of the best and the boldest the sport has ever seen.
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.