70 Years ‘Young’ Mother Makes Record by Climbing El Capitan in Yosemite

For mountaineering enthusiasts, Alex Honnold is not an uncommon name. The Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo has successfully spread the name of this daredevil climber to a wider audience. The documentary captures Alex’s historic climb of El Capitan in Yosemite in 2018, with little more gear than a T-shirt and hand chalk. This time, it was his mother, who just made a record by conquering the famous granite peak, having reached the summit the morning of her 70th birthday. She is now officially the oldest woman to ascend El Capitan. Like son, like mother!

The Decision

Language teacher and writer Diedre Wolownick is the proud mother of Alex Honnold, who made history by becoming the first man to ascend El Capitan without ropes or safety gears. But she didn’t stop there! The fearless woman decided to take up climbing as a means to connect with her son more deeply. In her blog, she wrote that she is well aware of the physical, emotional, and mental toll this journey will take, especially at 70. But, these odds couldn’t dampen her spirit.

The Starting

In 2008, while home nursing an injury, Alex accompanied his mother in Sacramento on her first visit to the climbing gym Pipeworks. With her son’s help, Diedre completed 12 routes on that very first day! But she worked up the courage to return on her own months later. And when she did, she became committed to the sports. Diedre started to meet climber friends, professionals and continued sharpening her skills. When most people of her age around her were choosing retirement, Diedre went on to scale parts of Half Dome and Cathedral Peak.

The Experience

In a memoir titled The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story, Diedre has written about her experiences of climbing with her son Alex. She referred to the lead climber as the one, who essentially bears the lion’s share of responsibility for securing the rope and guiding the route for the other following climbers. She acknowledged that motherhood made her marvel at this process, especially when she swapped the leads with her son, during their climb together.

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Launching Holiday Drive in Honor of Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera

This Christmas will be the first after Glee actress Naya Rivera drowned in a lake in California in early July. Famous not only for her roles but her big heart and dedication to charity, Rivera’s death left a hole in the hearts of everyone who knew her. To keep her spirit alive, her Glee co-stars decided to continue Naya’s toy drive tradition at Christmas and carry it out in her honor.

Naya Rivera’s Snixxmas Annual Drive

The star’s annual Christmas party and toy drive, which she called Snixxmas, aims to help children in need. Rivera’s co-stars including, Jane Lynch, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, and Dianna Agron, are hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser to donate money to the actress’s favorite charity, Alexandria House.

Alexandria House featured on 'Keeping up with the Kardashians'

Alexandria House is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that provides safe and supportive housing for children and women who are transitioning from emergency shelters to permanent housing. Naya Rivera has previously spoken highly of this charity, stating that it was dear to her heart and has had a positive impact on her and her son. Naya was involved not only in fundraisers but also in volunteering work at Alexandria House.

Glee Stars Looking to Raise $50,000

Rivera’s co-stars are looking to raise $50,000 to donate to the charity in Naya’s name. Given that they have raised more than $43,000 so far, it’s likely that they’ll meet their goal. Heather Morris, whose character Brittany was in a relationship with Rivera’s character, Santana, said that Naya was a huge inspiration to her as she never let a holiday season go by without finding a way to give back to those in need.

In a tragic circumstance, Naya Rivera was found dead in a lake where she had rented a boat with her 4-year-old son. The actress’s humanitarian efforts and positive impact on people’s lives will forever live on.