It’s been less than two years since I decided on something of a whim to try climbing and ended up joining a climbing gym. It looked like fun, the gym also offered yoga, and I thought it would improve my grip strength. I still rarely venture outside (so far), but rock climbing has become one of my favorite things. So, as I often do with new obsessions or hobbies, I’ve picked up a few books on the subject.
Alex Honnold is a world famous climber, and I find him fascinating. If you didn’t know better, you’d think he’s just a skinny, dirty guy who lives in a van. His most recognized exploits are his free-solo climbs. He pulls himself up granite walls thousands of feet high with no partner and no rope. If a handhold breaks off or his foot slips, he could die. The simple drama of it has captured the attention of the public and made Alex Honnold a pretty famous professional climber.
I have zero interest in free solo climbing myself. Just looking at the picture below makes my stomach hurt, but I also can’t help but be impressed. I picked up Alone on the Wall (2016) by Alex Honnold with David Roberts because I was interested in learning more about both Honnold’s accomplishments and what drives him to keep pushing himself in this intense way.