Climbing Gold

By Duct Tape Then Beer

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Subscribers: 286
Reviews: 1

 Aug 16, 2021
Informative and entertaining. Great job!


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. In season three, we dive deep into the art of risk taking. How do we get better at it? Why do we accept risk we don’t have to take? Can you reconcile your dreams with the reality that they could kill you? Each of us must ask when is the right time to walk away.

Episode Date
Captain Safety
As humans, we sometimes prefer to ignore big risks that are lurking within our view. See climate change or storm clouds building over a ridge. Best-selling author Michele Wucker has dedicated her career to understanding how humans interact with risk in big and small systems. Her hypothesis: the risks we take create a unique fingerprint. Colin Haley, aka Captain Safety, has shaped his fingerprint through two decades of elite alpinism, soloing and identifying risk factors.
May 27, 2022
Faffing About
Hazel Findlay and Alex dive deeper into the intricacies of British trad climbing. Just don’t hit the ground.
May 20, 2022
Cheater Cheater
Far away from Yosemite’s spotlight on a crumbly backwater cliff, an unknown climber was about to change a sport by breaking some of its most sacred rules. Today, we are all very grateful he did. We talk with Alan Watts, pioneer of sport climbing in America, about the highs and lows of breaking the status quo. There’s an upside and a downside to every risk we take. 
May 13, 2022
The Stuff Of Nightmares
British trad climbing might be the most unique flavor of all. Is it an audacious game of risk or merely a fast track to a Darwin award? In 2000, while following in the footsteps of his heroes, a young James McHaffie booted up in front of the famed Masters Wall and launched upwards. What followed was a four hour fight for survival. Hazel Findlay helps supply perspective on the strange craft of British trad. 
May 06, 2022
Soviet Speed
This year's Olympic climbers weren’t the original USA climbing team. That honor actually goes to a rag-tag group of adventurous dirtbags including Beth Wald, Russ Clune and Todd Skinner, who managed to travel to the USSR at the tail end of the Cold War to compete in a one of a kind climbing competition.
Nov 19, 2021
Validate My Beta
Were the Olympics more a bust than a boom? If you had $20 million to grow the sport of climbing how would you spend it? Are we at the end of the era where we climb alongside the pros? The Climbing Gold Team takes a look back at the learnings from season 2 and looks into the future of our sport.
Oct 01, 2021
The Knife's Edge
These are the things in the shadows that no one wants to talk about. The open secrets elite athletes carry. The behaviors coaches would prefer not to see. The hard realities fans tend to ignore about the sport playing out in front of them. Today, Kai Lightner and Beth Rodden help us shine a light on disordered eating in climbing.
Sep 24, 2021
Show Me The Money
As climbing grows and enters into mainstream consciousness, we’d be naive to think that money won’t play a role. What does it take to “go pro” in climbing? How does the business of climbing evolve so that it doesn't fall into the same pitfalls that plague other sports? We dive into these questions with Rick Burton, a professor at Syracuse University Professor and Jonathan Retseck, founder of RXR Sports. 
Sep 17, 2021
The Competitor's Mind
What goes through a climber’s brain when the lights shine and the cameras go live at a world cup stop? Ashima Shiraishi takes us on a journey into the heart and mind of a true competitor. 
Sep 10, 2021
Risk, Intensity, Complexity
To move a sport forward, you have to take it apart and put it back together again. Today, we talk with two thought leaders in climbing’s next chapter -- routesetters Tondé Katiyo and Adam Pustelnik -- about the craft of creating movement and we introduce a concept every climber should know about.
Sep 03, 2021
Right now, the spotlight shines brightly on the newest generation of competition climbers, but the path they’re following was blazed by those before them. Today, we talk with Alex Johnson, or AJ, who has ridden the highs and lows of professional climbing over the last 20 years. She won her first bouldering national competition at age 12 before going on to win two golds at Bouldering World Cups. Her career charts a fascinating shift in climbing culture, the comp circuit and the hurdles to being a professional climber. 
Aug 27, 2021
Armando Menocal worked to save climbing in America and helped kickstart it in Cuba. While developing the international climbing destination of Viñales, Armando met the love of his life. They planned to get married, but the Cuban government had other ideas. 
Aug 20, 2021
Olympics Recap
After four days of alpine starts to watch climbing at the Olympics, Alex and Fitz catch up with producers John Burgman and Leici Hendrix for a laugh-filled breakdown of the good, the bad and the ugly. Ultimate fandom. Cable subscriptions. Math on the fly. 
Aug 09, 2021
Space Race
In 2019, The US Olympic Committee gave USA Climbing a one in 10,000 chance of winning a medal. Two years later, USA Climbing sent four climbers to Tokyo. Americans are winning World Cup competitions like never before. What happened? The sleeping giant woke up. 
Aug 05, 2021
Try Harder
When it comes to the Olympics, we will probably never see a climbing competitor like Kyra Condie again. While other competitors in Tokyo have had the benefit of robust, government-funded national programs or boutique climbing teams, 25-year-old Kyra has spent the better part of a decade as her own coach and trainer while navigating the highest levels of international competition. 
Aug 03, 2021
Olympics Viewing Guide
Alex and producer John Burgman walk us through the upcoming competition, make their picks for the gold and explain why the world’s best climber is probably the underdog.
Jul 30, 2021
You're Too X-Treme For Me
The decades long courtship between the Olympics and climbing reads like some bizarro script for a rom com. It seemed like a sure fire thing until curling got in the way. Alex and Fitz interview John Burgman, author of High Drama and an expert on competition climbing. We breakdown climbing’s journey to make its Olympic debut.
Jul 28, 2021
Chapter 10: Room For Growth
Is climbing defined by adventure or athleticism? How does a sport grow and evolve? Alex and Fitz discuss these questions and other nuggets as they reflect on the first part of the series. And we reveal one of Alex’s pet peeves. 
Jun 25, 2021
Chapter 9: Untelling The Story
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.
Jun 18, 2021
Bit of Gold Bonus: Fricking Stanley
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. 
Jun 11, 2021
Chapter 8: Give And Take
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. 
Jun 04, 2021
Intermission: The 50,000 Ft View
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."
May 28, 2021
Chapter 7: This Place Will Change Climbing
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.
May 21, 2021
Bit Of Gold Bonus: Pizza Party
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.”
May 14, 2021
Chapter 6: When Climbing Takes Flight
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. 
May 07, 2021
Chapter 5: A Magician Needs A Stage
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.
Apr 30, 2021
Bit Of Gold Bonus: He Doesn't Know Beans
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. 
Apr 23, 2021
Chapter 4: The Invisible Cord
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. 
Apr 16, 2021
Bit Of Gold Bonus: Crack Wars
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.
Apr 09, 2021
Chapter 3: This Is How You Spell Climbing
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.
Apr 02, 2021
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.
Mar 26, 2021
Chapter 1: More Bird Than Larry Bird
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.
Mar 26, 2021
Introducing Climbing Gold
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.
Mar 22, 2021
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
Mar 18, 2021