Over 50s Lifestyle Vlogcast

Climbing into Life – Overcoming Fears – Dierdre Wolownick

May 15, 2023

If you’ve been thinking you are too old to try something new, or too old to do this or that, then my next guest on the Women Living Well After 50 Podcast is going to blow that theory out of the water.

In this episode, my guest is Dierdre Wolownick. During the interview we discussed:

  • Dierdre’s background
  • How Dierdre made history on her 70th birthday
  • Why Dierdre started climbing and how she overcame the fear
  • What stops women from moving out of their comfort zone
  • Dierdre’s new documentary Climbing into Life is coming soon – why she made the film
  • What drives her
  • How to face our fears
  • Dierdre’s book ‘The Sharp end of Life’

Listen to the Podcast

Watch on YouTube

Meet Dierdre

Dierdre Wolownick is the mother of Alex Honnold (have you seen the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo?), and the oldest woman to climb El Capitan, Yosemite’s 3,200-ft granite wall. And a few years after I did that, I scaled it again to celebrate my 70t birthday on the summit. I started climbing when I was 59. This year, the documentary about my life will  be out; you can see the trailer on YouTube:  Climbing Into Life.

At 55, I started running, and have done numerous marathons, half-marathons & other races. I’ve been an orchestra conductor, an independent publisher, airline personnel… and a professor & writer all my adult life. You can read about all of it in my book, The Sharp End of Life (Mountaineers Books).

Connect with Dierdre

• Blog: dierdrew.us IG: @DierdreWolownick
Movie Trailer
• CNN 
• The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story 

Sue Loncaric

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply leannelc May 15, 2023 at 10:38

    Wow! What a woman! Even her bio is super inspiring. It’s always good to be reminded that there’s still so much of life left to explore.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2023 at 11:30

      HI Leanne, so many inspirational women out there. I’m afraid of heights so probably won’t be climbing a mountain but Dierdre was so inspiring to chat to. xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections May 15, 2023 at 11:39

    Hi, Sue and Diedre – I just watched Climbing into Life on Youtube. What an inspirational story! Thank you so much for introducing me to it here.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2023 at 11:30

      Hi Donna, I’m not sure mountain climbing is my thing as I am afraid of heights but what an inspiration, Diedre is. xx

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt May 16, 2023 at 02:49

    Hi Sue! Deirdre is super-inspiring as a climber at her age! I am very familiar with Alex. My daughter went to high school with him in Sacramento. I also used Alex’s videos (especially 20/20’s clip) for some of my classroom lectures on leisure motivation. Now I see where he gets it from 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2023 at 11:29

      Wow, Terri! It is a small world isn’t it? Dierdre was one inspiring lady that’s for sure. xx

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