Dierdre Wolownick, Oldest Woman to Climb El Capitan and Mother of Free-Soloist Alex Honnold
This week’s conversation is with Dierdre Wolownick, the mother of legendary adventure rock climber Alex Honnold.
You may recognize him from this year’s Academy Award Winning film, Free Solo, where he became the first person to ever free-solo El Capitan in Yosemite.
Alex was a previous guest on this podcast, episode 108.
I wanted to speak with his mother Dierdre for a couple of reasons.
First, Alex was one of the more challenging interviews I’ve ever had on this podcast.
Everything just seemed so matter of fact to him.
One thing I hope you’re noticing from listening to these conversations is how much one’s upbringing (their parenting structure and environment) dictate who they become and why they do what they do so I thought who better to have a follow up conversation with then Alex’s mother.
Second of all, Dierdre’s own story is quite incredible.
Inspired by her daughter, Stasia, Dierdre began long-distance running at the age of fifty-five, and she has since completed several marathons, as well as numerous half-marathons and other races.
At fifty-eight, she took up rock climbing with her son, Alex, and at the age of sixty-six, she became the oldest woman to climb El Capitan, the iconic 3,200-foot granite wall in Yosemite National Park.
Dierdre’s award-winning writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and books worldwide, and she created a publishing company that sells internationally.a
She just published her first book, The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story, where she shares her intimate journey, revealing how her climbing achievement reflects a broader story of courage and persistence.
I think you’ll be fascinated by this conversation.
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