Looking for a new podcast to listen to while commuting, running errands, or training for your next trip or project? Here are five popular climbing podcasts, each unique in their style, format, and climbing world coverage. From interviews with pros and coaches, to accident reports, training protocols, and discussions on climbing history, every climber should find a podcast to binge on this list.
A list of climbing podcasts would not be complete without a nod to The Enormocast. Hosted by Chris Kalous, The Enormocast is the world of climbing’s oldest and most well-known podcast. The format is simple: Kalous holds relaxed, campfire-esque conversations with the many of the world’s best and most interesting climbers. The podcast has an old-school, indie vibe, and Kalous’ interview style is laid back, allowing his guests to feel comfortable and open up and tell their stories. With his nearly three decades of experience in the sport, he helps provide context and structure for the listener before, during, and after the interview.
The podcast started in 2011 and now has a catalogue of over 250 episodes. Most of climbing’s big names have been on The Enormocast over the years, although the show tends to focus most closely on the North American climbing scene, and in particular, trad climbing. This year has featured stars like Hazel Findlay, Janja Garnbret, Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold, and Pete Whittaker.
New episodes come out roughly every two weeks and they typically run between 60 and 90 minutes.
A relatively new podcast, Climbing Gold was started by hosts Alex Honnold and Fitz Cahall in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics. The podcast has high production value, making use well-edited host monologues and interviews and conversations with guests. The podcast is broken up into seasons. In its first season, Honnold and Cahall take listeners through an informative tour of climbing’s history, from the dirtbags fringe decades ago to today’s top athletes, many of whom spend little to no time on real rock.
Season two focuses primarily on climbing’s addition to the Olympics. Season three is a deeply interesting journey through the concept of risk in climbing, a topic in which Honnold is intimately familiar. Season 4 has thus far been more varied, covering a wide range of topics including how we find meaning in our lives and climbing, climbing photography and filmmaking, Honnold’s HURT, and the media frenzy that was the Dawn Wall. Overall, the podcast has tended to focus on climbing history in the United States, with an emphasis on Yosemite, although some episodes have featured histories and stories from other countries such as the U.K.
When a new season is active, new episodes are released weekly, and they typically run 45 minutes or less in length.
The Sharp End
Launched in 2015 by host and producer Ashley Saupe, The Sharp End is one of the most unique climbing podcasts out there. Supported by the American Alpine Club with the tagline “Play Hard and Be Smart”, the podcast aims to minimize future climbing accidents through storytelling. In each episode, Saupe invites a guest to tell their story of a recent, often horrific climbing accident. Saupe gives her guests lots of room to tell their difficult story, only jumping in to help clarify things for listeners. After the story is told, Saupe and her guest go through the lessons learned from the accident, including what exactly went right and wrong.
Over the years the podcast has featured some seriously eye-opening episodes. Each one serves important reminders such as the importance of choosing partners wisely, understanding the risks of the objectives being undertaken, and always having safety and rescue skills fresh and dialed. This podcast helps keep the ego in check, which is never a bad idea in a sport like climbing. More sensitive listeners should approach the podcast with caution as episodes often discuss injuries, surgeries, and recovery processes in detail, which can sometimes be graphic.
Episodes are released on the first of each month and usually run between 30 and 60 minutes.
The Nugget Climbing Podcast
Hosted by Steven Dimmitt, The Nugget features long-form interviews. Although it only started in early 2020, the podcast already has a catalogue of nearly 150 full-length episodes, as well as many shorter follow-up shows. The Nugget includes conversations with a wide variety of guests—pro climbers, coaches, doctors, authors, and media members. The episodes are long, ranging from one to three hours, but don’t let this scare you. You can tell Dimmitt does his homework, asking all the right questions and keeping the interviews continually interesting.
Some popular pro climbers featured on the podcast in 2022 include Jonathan Siegrist, Lynn Hill, Magnus Midtbo, Nina Caprez, Paul Robinson, and Tommy Caldwell. Standout non-pro climber guests include clinical psychologist and author of Climb Smarter, Dr. Rebecca Williams and physical therapist and author of Climb Injury-Free, Dr. Jared Vagy. New episodes are released every Monday.
If you’re looking to take your climbing training to the next level, then you should give a listen to the TrainingBeta Podcast. Hosted by Colorado-based Neely Quinn, the podcast brings on experts and pros to inform you about current best practices in climbing training, injury prevention, and nutrition. The show started in 2014 and now features nearly 220 episodes. Guest expertise is diverse, ranging from pro-climbers and coaches/trainers, to physical therapists and nutrition experts.
Interesting topics covered over the past year include continuing to climb hard as you age, finger injury protocols, nutrition and training mistakes, overcoming common climbing fears, and how much rest is too much. Hazel Findlay, Allison Vest, and Dr. Jared Vagy are some examples of recent well-known guests. New episodes are released a few times a month, typically running 30 to 90 minutes in length.