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Climbing Gold

Author: Duct Tape Then Beer

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Alex Honnold and co-host Fitz Cahall share stories from the people who define the sport of climbing by pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo of the previous generation. Athletes. Risk takers. Dirtbags. Pioneers. Community builders. Outsiders. Leaders.

16 Episodes
Coming Soon

Coming Soon


It is coming. Climbing Gold. Stories from the past, present and future of climbing. Alex Honnold and co-host Fitz Cahall share stories from the people who define the sport of climbing by pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo of the previous generation. Episodes drop March 26th. Learn more at
What connects the past, present and future of rock climbing?  In season one of Climbing Gold, the sport’s biggest star Alex Honnold and co-host Fitz Cahall take you on a tour through climbing, from the early days of the lunatic fringe where dirtbag climbers gambled with their lives to chase the edge of human imagination, to today’s new generation of athletes who have risen to the top of their sport without ever having touched the world’s most famous summits. Pushing the boundaries of climbing has always meant challenging the assumptions and status quo of the previous generation.  Athletes. Risk takers. Dirtbags. Pioneers. Community builders. Outsiders. Leaders. Please join us to hear the voices and stories of climbing’s past and future.
Climbing doesn’t have a rule book. So who decides how climbing changes and evolves? Peter Croft and Alex talk about their climbing heroes and pushing the mentality of possible. Discover how 1940’s bebop jazz connects to free-soloing Yosemite's famed Astroman.
Chapter 2: Tap-Tap-Twist

Chapter 2: Tap-Tap-Twist


The online climbing route database Mountain Project lists more than 200,000 routes in the U. S. alone. Behind each route is a person who took the time and energy to create something for their community. How do they do it? Why do they do it? We talk with prolific first ascensionist Joanne Urioste who pioneered some of the most popular routes in the world and helped bring climbing into the future.
Cultural trends, new gear and community have powered the growth of climbing rather than individual athletes. Occasionally though, a generational talent comes along and blows the whole sport wide open. Chris Sharma was climbing’s first bonafide phenom and ushered in a new chapter of athleticism. Watch Sharma climb Es Pontàs.
In the 1980’s, a Wells Fargo parking garage in the San Fernando Valley became a clandestine climbing laboratory and pre-runner to climbing gyms. We talk with the legendary Randy Leavitt about how he and Tony Yaniro invented a climbing move that’s withstood the test of time.
A physical and intellectual anomaly, John Gill’s vision for climbing would ultimately drive the sport’s athletic progression and help bring it to a larger audience. It would just take the sport decades to catch up to him and acknowledge Gill’s contribution to modern bouldering that began in an intro to gymnastics class his freshman year. Also in this chapter, Alex and Nina Williams break down their shared respect for Bishop’s world class highballs.
In the summer of 1954, John Gill took his first climbing trip to Colorado. Tired of trudging up the steep mountain peaks and without a partner, Gill hitched a ride with a milkman to solo the east face of Longs Peak, a remarkable feat for a 17-year-old beginner climber from Georgia.
El Cap. Free. In a day. Putting those words on your resume puts you in the league of legends. How did that become the bar? Lynn Hill. A singular athlete who stepped up to the biggest stage in climbing, Lynn redefined what was athletically possible for not just her generation, but generations to come. Emily Harrington and Beth Rodden add their perspective on the momentous achievement.
By the mid 2000’s climbing was growing, but the ephemeral first ascents were harder to find. Enter BASE jumping. The leaders of our sport stepped to the edge and jumped into the golden age of human flight. With it, a whole new element of risk arrived in climbing. We talk with Randy Leavitt, Chris McNamara and Steph Davis, who helped pioneer the movement.
Beth Rodden inspired a generation of climbers with her incredible free ascents of El Cap and hard trad climbs. Her leap into that realm began at an impromptu pizza party hosted by Lynn Hill. When a living legend asks you to ditch university and come to Madagascar, the only answer is “Yes.”
As climbing gyms become a global crag of sorts, how do we welcome people in? Do climbing gyms become a country club or the mechanism for broadening the community and unleashing a wave of new talent into climbing? Memphis Rox has redrawn the model for what a climbing gym can do. Designed to be more than just a state of the art climbing gym, it is a not-for-profit community center located in the heart of Memphis, TN. Photographer Malik Martin and industry veteran Jon Hawk bring us ideas on the future of our sport with a little help from Conrad Anker.
From our co-creators at the Dirtbag Diaries, we're sharing a story about a type of climbing that we haven’t touched on in this series: Alpinism. In the summer of 2019, Steve Swenson, Mark Richey, Graham Zimmerman, and Chris Wright, made the first ascent of Link Sar, a 7,041 meter peak in the Karakoram. Steve, who’s been climbing for over 50 years, had attempted the peak two other times. This time, he returned with a multi-generational team, continuing to break a different kind of trail for younger climbers to follow. "When I think about it, I'm not happy because I got to the top of some point on the planet," says Steve. "I'm happy because of all the things we had to do to get there."
After a protracted battle over bolts and sport climbing, American climbers nearly lost the ability to climb on public lands in the early 1990s. It would have completely altered the course of our sport. Fortunately, lawyer and climber Armando Menocal rose to the challenge of protecting climbing for generations to come, despite the fact that many climbers hoped he would fail. We take a peek into the early days of the Access Fund and Leici Hendrix adds perspective on the importance of local climbing organizations.
Sean “Stanley” Leary never got a lot of media attention, but he was a driving force in the progression of the sport and beloved by the climbing community. He held numerous speed records in Yosemite, pioneered new routes on Baffin Island and was on the leading edge of wingsuit flying. Alex shares some of his memories of climbing with Stanley.
Ship Rock. The Totem Pole. Spider Rock. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean we should climb it. We dive into the troubled relationship between climbers and tribes and take apart the inaccurate story the climbing community has been telling itself for decades. Climbers Aaron Mike, Len Necefer and Tara Kerzhner help brush away the chalk to reveal a deeper story.
Comments (4)


Loving the podcast!

May 29th

Rachel Hamilton

Climbing has experienced tremendous growth in our time. I think, instead of growth or the next "big dream" (which, as a finite thing, isn't always and shouldn't always be the goal) we will see a shift in expansion and diversity in the next era of climbing.

Apr 10th

Filippo Bena

overproduced!! really interesting but too much backround music ecc

Mar 31st

Thomas Griffith

Great Podcast!!!!!

Mar 31st
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