S3:E4 Dierdre Wolownick

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Manage episode 247751195 series 1843603
By Afterglow, A Mountain Storytelling Podcast and A Mountain Storytelling Podcast. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
If the name Dierdre Wolownick doesn't sound familiar to you, you aren't alone. Wolownick is Dierdre's maiden name, but she is indeed the mother of Alex Honnold, the greatest rock climber to ever grace the sport. While we do talk about Alex and his motivations, Dierdre's story is much deeper than merely being his mother, and she also has a much different origin story than most of our guests. Having grown up in a post World War II Polish immigrant family in New York City, she struggled to break the mold of what children, and particularly girls, were allowed to do. In her mid 20's, Wolownick made the decision to move to California, where she married and began a family. But the struggle continued, and she tells us, in both our conversation and her book "The Sharp End," that she longed for connection her entire life. Dierdre and I talk about her ultimate redemption, which she discovered through rock climbing and running. It was through these sports that she experienced a rebirth, but not until her mid 50's. Dierdre's tale is a beautiful one in which the phoenix does indeed rise, in her case up the proverbial walls of Yosemite Valley as the oldest woman to ever summit famed El Cap.

25 episodes