Top mum! Daredevil's mother conquers 3,200ft rock in Yosemite National Park as she turns 70 


A chip off the old block! Mother of daredevil who climbed El Capitan with no ropes also conquers the peak as she turns 70 

  • Dierdre Wolownick, 70, celebrated her birthday by scaling a deadly 3,200ft rock
  • She is now the oldest woman to scale rock El Capitan in Yosemite National Park
  • Her son Alex was the first person to tackle it without ropes or safety equipment


You might expect the mother of a daredevil rock climber to be fearful of his exploits.

But not Dierdre Wolownick – who was instead inspired to scale a deadly 3,200ft (975m) rock face on her 70th birthday.

She is now the oldest woman to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It has claimed over 30 lives since 1905.

Dierdre Wolownick, 70, is now the oldest woman to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park

Dierdre Wolownick, 70, is now the oldest woman to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park

Ms Wolownick with her son Her son, Alex Honnold, who was the first person to tackle the rock face without ropes or safety equipment

Ms Wolownick with her son Her son, Alex Honnold, who was the first person to tackle the rock face without ropes or safety equipment

The west face of El Capitan, a deadly rock which has claimed more than 30 lives since 1905

The west face of El Capitan, a deadly rock which has claimed more than 30 lives since 1905

Her son, Alex Honnold, 36, was the first person to tackle the rock face without ropes or safety equipment, as seen in the 2018 Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo.

The American mother and son also scaled ‘El Cap’ together in 2017 after she began climbing at 58.

She said ‘I was just a lumpy old middle-age woman completely taken with jobs and chores. Climbing was like a key opening this lifelong door.’

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