That's the Sharp End of Life

Dierdre Wolownick, author of  "The Sharp End of Life", shares her stories and introduces us to her son, Alex Honnold, who not only taught her to climb but is also the central figure in the recent award-winnig movie "Free Solo".  This show will give you a feel for what modern climbing is like and help you know more about this fascinating woman.  Dierdre climbed Yosemite's El Capitan when she was over 60; and is still going strong.

The phrase "the sharp end of the rope" is used in climbing to describe when a person is climbing up ahead of their safety gear -- that is, the lead climber has to GET THERE before s/he can set in the next carabiner and hook the line into it. During that part, a fall could be more serious.  Doerdre describes a time of leaving safety and GETTING to the next safe place as the "sharp end of life" -- a place she knows firsthand and has been in many times.  According to her, you can accomplish very large movements by making small incremental changes.  Like when she came back from walking their dog (who always goes faster than 'walk') and told her son -- in some amazement -- that she had just run a mile!  His response of "If you can go a mile, you could do a mile and a half," got her inspired to run more and go longer. Eventually she was running marathons.  

Then Alex got her involved in his passion, climbing.  Dierdre now hold the record as the oldest woman to climb El Capitan.  I hope you enjoy listening to these stories of expansion and overcoming hard times. -- Lois

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