The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life

Dutton. Mar. 2019. 416p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781101986646. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101986653. SPORTS
Accomplished climber Synnott (Baffin Island) presents an insider's look at acclaimed climber Alex Honnold's historic first free solo ascent (climbing without the safety of ropes) of Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan, stories of his own expeditions, and a history of climbing's biggest names and feats. With the help of YouTube videos, Honnold has made himself into climbing's most recognizable name owing to his ability to set aside fear while scaling staggering cliffs without the use of ropes. Synnott, who has been one of Honnold's climbing partners for years, delves into his friend's life with unparalleled access to identify how Honnold accomplishes what he does, including details of their harrowing climbing experiences in places such as Borneo and Oman as well as Yosemite and other national parks.
VERDICT Coinciding with the wide-release documentary, Free Solo, about Honnold's historic climb. Readers will pick this up for Honnold but will be equally engrossed by Synnott's own adventures and writing. A worthy companion to Honnold's memoir Alone on the Wall and Tommy Caldwell's The Push.
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