By Cindy Welch 
Dierdre Wolownick, mother of the renowned climber Alex Honnold, has become the oldest woman to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. She broke her own record after scaling the rock face for a second time on her 70th birthday.
Dierdre Wolownick, our guest speaker, is a remarkable woman. She taught herself to swim in her 40’s, took up running in her 50’s, and at 60 she became a rock climber — and now a very famous rock climber.
To train for El Capitan, she went hiking and climbing in Yosemite three days a week for 18 weeks, and started doing pull-ups. “I learned how to suffer through all kinds of discomfort because what you get from it makes it worthwhile,” she told the newspaper. “It’s the same for anybody who wants to follow a path of bliss. There’s a lot of suffering. With climbing, you just have to deal.”
Wolownick undertook the climb with friends, spent the night on the summit, and they celebrated with champagne and cupcakes.
She started climbing at 60 to better relate to her son. Her son, Alex Honnold’s, own record-breaking climb up the 3,000ft granite rock face without ropes or safety gear was chronicled in the 2018.
Wolownick, previously worked as a language teacher and musician. She is also the author of The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story, where she shares her climbing achievement and let’s us all know that anything is possible.