Who Is Alex Honnold’s Mom? Oldest Woman to Summit El Cap Pens Moving Memoir, Gear Junkie, May 2, 2019

Moving… Dierdre Wolownick is every bit the adventure badass her world-famous son is. In her new autobiography, “The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story,” Wolownick recounts not only her role as matriarch to the climbing world’s king but also as a daughter and wife who struggled to find her own idea of happiness.

Alex Honnold’s Mom, Dierdre Wolownick, is a Badass Too, Adventure Journal, May 1, 2019

At times, [Dierdre Wolownick’s] story is one of pain and loneliness…of putting the needs of others first to such an unfathomable degree that she was nearly friendless well into adulthood, sacrificing her sense of self in the process. But then—and this is the best part—there was liberation, reached through a deep and abiding resilience brought to the surface when Wolownick…starts following Alex up the walls of Yosemite.

Author Dierdre Wolownick Summits 'The Sharp End Of Life', Insight With Beth Ruyak, Capitol Public Radio, April 29, 2019

Are Mountain Climbers Selfish? The New York Times, April 27, 2019

Dierdre Wolownick, whose son Alex Honnold recently starred in “Free Solo,” the documentary about his ropeless ascent of Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan, said she balked at the idea of telling Alex to stop free soloing. She cited her unwillingness to take something away from her son that gives him so much joy. Most mothers surely thought she was crazy, but I thought her love was brave.

Alex Honnold's Mom Wrote a Memoir: Dierdre Wolownick gives us an inside look at what it was like to raise the 'Free Solo' climber in 'The Sharp End of Life', Outside, April 23, 2019

{A] memoir about her metamorphosis from a self-effacing wife in an unhappy marriage to a confident athletic role model for her generation…Wolownick fights her way through…to find a place to breathe, as both a woman and mother. The challenges she overcame seem to me as challenging as any rock wall.

Talking With Alex Honnold’s Mom: The Oldest Woman to Climb El Capitan, Adventure Sports Network, April 16, 2019

To prepare for Lurking Fear, she jumared to Heart Ledges located 1,000 feet up El Cap. When she first tried going up the climbing ropes (often) fixed in place, she found herself 20 feet off the ground and remembers thinking, "what would I do if something happened?”

“I talked myself through the next 5 feet, and then the next 5,” she tells ASN. “I shut off my fears. If you want it badly enough you can talk yourself through anything.”

Alex Honnold, A Soul Freed in ‘Free Solo,’ The New York Times, October 25, 2018

He’s a perfectionist who understands that the achievement of one supreme thing depends on the mastery of a thousand small things. Much of the perfectionism seems to come from his mother, Dierdre Wolownick, a retired French professor for whom, as Honnold puts it, “good enough, isn’t.”

But it’s his mother who also best understands why her son constantly puts his life at risk — and why she doesn’t quarrel with the choice. “When he’s free soloing is when he feels the most alive, the most everything,” she says. “How can you even think about taking that away from somebody?”

Climbing Into Old Age: 7 Senior Climbers Share Their Experience and Advice, Climbing, July 11, 2018

Mother's Day Special: An Interview With 6 Pro Climber Moms, Climbing, May 11, 2017

Learning to Love the Planet, Mountaineer Magazine, Summer 2016