Uncategorized

RunOut #7: Free Solo Film and the Sweaty Palm.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Dawn Wall seized the Mylar Throne as best climbing movie ever and thrust a misunderstood Kevin Jorgeson deeply into our hearts.   Incidentally, the Mylar Throne is made from melted down Masters of Stone VCR cassettes.

But like a resplendent child emperor, the Dawn Wall, though magnificent, has been cleanly eviscerated after its very brief reign by this week’s release of Free Solo.  Jimmy Chin, Chai Vasarhelyi, and Alex Honnold’s film of Honnold’s incredible free solo of the Free Rider on El Cap has delivered an awesome portrait of obsession, dedication, and accomplishment. And simply put, the most astounding climbing footage ever filmed.

Andrew Bisharat and I finally gave up on receiving our invitations to any of the premiers and bought tickets for a showing in Aspen, Colorado at the historic Wheeler Opera House. The raucous crowd (often too raucous for our tastes) was comprised mostly of outdoor enthusiasts likely very familiar with Alex Honnold and Jimmy Chin, and no doubt, the entire local climbing community was there.

On today’s show, we give you our thoughts on Free Solo, the climbing film that crushes all other climbing films like Alex crushed the Free Rider. And of course, spoiler alert. We all know that Alex free soloed the Free Rider without plummeting to his death, but we also reveal a few other twists and turns of the film, like the fact that Alex Honnold is the only one alive, and we’ve all been dead the whole time.

RunOut #5 Michael Kennedy and the North Ridge of Latok I

In July of 1978, after climbing all but a few hundred feet of the 8000-foot-tall North Ridge of Latok I in Pakistan, Michael Kennedy, Jim Donini, George Lowe, and a fatefully ill Jeff Lowe chose to descend shy of the unclimbed summit. What was subsequently dubbed the “magnificent failure” was soon held up as a futuristic alpine climb done in the best possible style. The mountain itself was climbed a year later via the south face in antiquated siege style.

The North Ridge repelled more than 30 attempts over the next 40 years by some of the best in the business.

This summer, 2018, two important developments – one tragic and one triumphant – may have left the quest for the North Ridge all but satiated.

Michael Kennedy joins us today to reflect on his ascent in 1978 and discuss the climbs this summer of both the North Ridge and the second ascent of the mountain. I’m Chris Kalous with Andrew Bisharat, and you are listening to the Runout.

And if because of technical problems, I sound like I’m stuck in a well, be assured that Michael Kennedy does most of the talking and the rumble of his baritone is like listening to the North Ridge itself speak from the heights.

RunOut #4: Wales, not Whales.

We all know about whales. Sperm whales. Humpback whales. Blue whales. Killer whales. Just kidding, those are dolphins. But what about Wales the country? What’s going on there? The Run Out had to go find out for itself.