Embracing a Worry of Falling

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Leonard wanted to face his fears and put them in their place. But then he was involved in an accident while climbing near Moab, Utah, that forced him to reckon with his identity once again. (Photo: Courtesy Matthew Van Biene)

Leonard wanted to face his fears and put them in their place. But then he was involved in an accident while climbing near Moab, Utah, that forced him to reckon with his identity once again.

If you’re a climber, the risk of falling is always there—it’s an essential fact about the sport. And for a lot of climbers, this is actually part of the appeal. That was definitely how Brendan Leonard saw it. Today Leonard is best known as a trail runner and the creator of Semi-Rad, where he publishes essays and illustrations about life as a nonprofessional athlete. But back in his twenties, climber was the identity Leonard latched on to while he was recovering from alcohol addiction and trying to figure out what kind of person he was going to be, despite the fact that climbing scared him. Leonard wanted to face his fears and put them in their place. But then he was involved in an accident while climbing near Moab, Utah, that forced him to reckon with his identity once again. In this first episode of our new series, The Wild Files, we look at what happens when you decide that you’ve had enough of being afraid.


This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, a 4×4 SUV with seven available G.O.A.T. modes that enable it to go over any type of terrain. Learn more at ford.com/bronco



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