Dierdre Wolownick, age 70, has made history twice, most recently as the oldest woman to summit Yosemite National Park’s daunting mountain, El Capitan. The grueling climbs were a departure from the first half of Ms. Wolownick’s sedentary and cerebral life; She taught five languages, wrote books, and founded and conducted an orchestra. Learning to rock climb at age 60 was an attempt to connect with her son, Alex Honhold, who is one of the world’s top rock climbers. Then she fell in love with the sport. When asked what advice she has for people who want to make changes in their lives, but are afraid, she said, “You first have to ask yourself why you think you can’t do something and ask yourself if that’s a valid point…You can decide for yourself what you think you’re capable of. It’s just so sad when people say, oh, I’m 50, I can’t…fill in the blank. Try it anyway! Who Cares! You might be surprised!”

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