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❀ [EPUB] ✸ Alone on the Wall By Alex Honnold ❤ –

I really like this endurance athlete genre and this one by the world s best free solo climber was interesting and inspiring but super technical climbing talk made it hard to follow Pretty funny to hear him talk about base jumpers like they re crazy when he climbs 2,000 foot walls without ropes I liked this quote referenced in the book National Geographic Adventure If you don t believe in God or an after life, doesn t that make this life all the precious Alex Honnold I suppose so, but just because something is precious doesn t mean you have to baby it Just like the suburbanites who have a shiny new SUV that they are afraid to dent What s the point of having an amazing vehicle if you re afraid to drive it I m trying to take my vehicle to new and interesting places And I try my very best not to crash, but at least I take it out. In case you have been living under a rock for the past decade, or maybe aptly for a book about the climbing world, in case you HAVEN T been living under a rock, Alex Honnold is a famous rock climber who free solos That is to say he climbs impossibly tall slabs of granite Without a rope For fun Alex literally takes his life into his hands each time he climbs, facing the ultimate consequences for even the tiniest mistake A climbing enthusiast myself, albeit of the sturdily anchored and heartily roped kind, I wasn t looking for a guide on how to improve my technique or learn about new climbing locals, but rather on the reflections and perspectives of a man who has spent untold hours in solitude, teetering on the edge of life and death, fully ensconced in all of the indescribable beauty and untold danger nature has to offer While the book does fall flat in this regard, Alex does reach some level of self realization regarding dedicating one s life to the betterment of mankind, a la Ralph Waldo Emerson, To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived This is to have succeeded Unfortunately against the backdrop of Alex s principally hedonistic pursuits, these thoughts fail to gain much traction Further, Alex s descriptions of nature s 10,000 foot granite cathedrals fail to truly capture the awe and majesty of the breath taking scenery he experiences on a daily basis Nonetheless, the book succeeds as a solid introduction into the personalities and exploits of those who dare to reach further and climb higher. Including Two New Chapters On Alex Honnold S Free Solo Ascent Of The Iconic , Foot El Capitan In Yosemite National ParkOn June Rd Alex Honnold Became The First Person To Free Solo Yosemite S El Capitan To Scale The Wall Without Rope, A Partner, Or Any Protective Gear Completing What Was Described As The Greatest Feat Of Pure Rock Climbing In The History Of The Sport National Geographic And One Of The Great Athletic Feats Of Any Kind, Ever New York Times Already One Of The Most Famous Adventure Athletes In The World, Honnold Has Now Been Hailed As The Greatest Climber Of All Time Vertical MagazineAlone On The Wall Recounts The Most Astonishing Achievements Of Honnold S Extraordinary Life And Career, Brimming With Lessons On Living Fearlessly, Taking Risks, And Maintaining Focus Even In The Face Of Extreme Danger Now Honnold Tells, For The First Time And In His Own Words, The Story Of His Hours And Minutes On The Sheer Face Of El Cap, Which Outside Called The Moon Landing Of Free Soloing A Generation Defining Climb Bad Ass And Beyond Words One Of The Pinnacle Sporting Moments Of All Time As a non climber this book didn t really add anything for me that I didn t already get from the film Free Solo Coming into the book, I thought Alex Honnold was a pretty amazing person not just for his climbing ability but for his storytelling, humor, modesty, philanthropy and indifference to fame but politeness to the enthusiastic fans who seek out selfies with him at events But this book made me feel differently The book spends quite a bit of time painting a picture of Alex s don t care attitude which after hours of hearing about it audiobook makes his seem cocky and irreverent I had hoped it would have spent time telling the story of his adventures And there s a bit of subtle sexism for the few women referenced, they were all referred to as a chick outside of his gf and a brief mention of Lynn Hill And their references were to really stupid things some chick asked him to sign her boobs His risk taking limits to impress chicks who wouldn t know the difference between a 5.10 and a 5.13 From live events, Alex in person is an extremely good storyteller and quite funny But, the book doesn t show it well and focuses primarily on his controversial decisions around free soloing which got old fast I d recommend people skipping the book and sticking to the documentaries like the ones produced by Cedar Wright. I have to admit that now I m impressed with his speed records, alpine climbing and the routes he linked than with his soloing weird, huh Honnold is well, Honnold Loved every page of it. I don t quite know how to rate this one properly I got mixed feelings upon mixed terrain and mixed writing Some bits of the book were definitely in the 5 stars range whereas some others just barely made it into the 2 s There are great portrayals of some of Alex s most extraordinary feats, quite a few interesting insights of his, quite a few quotes that you d want to keep close to your heart in your own private booklet for glimpses of truth, and all in all it s a pretty good bio of the young exceptional man But Maybe it s just me, that I was hoping for of that kind of stuff and less casual debris, but I d say there s a bit too much junk scattered throughout the book As much as Alex tends to skip pro tection in places when he s doing roped ascents, in this book every bolt and cam and anchor and old piece of gear is exactly where you d usually expect it to be, especially when it s David Roberts voicing it Don t get me wrong it s very well written, with good rhythm throughout, but it s just not very daring at all, though, and this is THE book that ought to have been, in my opinion You get your hands sweaty in the cruxes but, if we should stick to the theory that all climbing is either rad or boring, there are quite a few pitches that I d skip and a few others that I missed However, being a lousy climber myself, I don t feel that one is always a valid theory for climbing nor other aspects of life So I don t know, would it be somewhere around 3.5 overall, maybe not in the YDS, that is I m conflicted about this book It s written well and can be appreciated by both rock climbers and non climbers Honnold is both an astounding climber and a very thoughtful, philosophical person, and that shines through in the book s stories in much depth than in the interviews or videos of him I ve watched previously I like hearing what he has to say But I had to put the book down after reading about 2 3 of it, and come back to it later, because it was just making me anxious I guess I was hoping to be reassured about the risk level and his ability to prepare and take precautions, and I wasn t While his skill and his ability to keep a level head in extreme situations qualify him to be able to accomplish things that others wouldn t even attempt, it s clear that he s not always prepared Sometimes he decides not to go ahead, other times he goes anyways He has a lot of experience to make good decisions and immense ability to overcome bad ones, but it s still probably true that he ll either eventually lose interest in pushing limits in free soloing, or will die at it not because he tried something that was too hard for him, but just because there s no backup if something random and unexpected catches him.There s a lot about Alex Honnold to admire, but there s no way I would ever want my climbing enthusiast daughter to emulate him That saddens me, and I can t separate that feeling from my evaluation of the book itself. Ok, this may be sacrilegious in the climbing community of which, I am a part , but this book made me dislike a climber I thought I would actually like There is no doubt that Honnold is an extremely gifted athlete who dares to do things with rock that even the plates and all of their tectonics wouldn t have imagined, but the narrative makes him come off as a snooty, advantaged Cali brat with really problematic and limited perspectives of people not like him.There is a lot of sexism in the book hot chick can t even tell the difference between 5.10 and 5.13 and a diminutive look towards developing nations and people the Third World is not a phrase that is used in 2016 nor are ethnic clothes funny looking that borders on the pedantic and suffering from the white messiah syndrome So I started this foundation to help Africa because it would be bomber environment environment environment not direct quote The Cali pretension of vague environmental consciousness with Thoreauian disapproval of anyone s lifestyle but his why would people want to eat meat, drink beer, and get married Yuck was so off putting.The sad thing is, all this overshadows a book about some amazing outdoor adventures It s not written particularly well but I can forgive because Honnold isn t a writer And there is a chance that the book simply misrepresents the guy or that my interpretation does I just felt really gnarly and un stoked after a climbing guru of mine balayed off right when I was taking at the crux. 4.5 rounded down since there s no glossary of terms Alex uses like send the gnar, worked, beta, not to mention all the minute variations in rock like a smear But otherwise I flowed over these pages had them pretty much dialed couldn t put it down like Alex over a 3000 foot granite slab Read because I watched recently and loved Free Solo and Meru and The Dawn Wall, and although I had this one in my queue for months I didn t decide to fire it up until mid way through On the High Wire by Philippe Petit, a similar daredevil obsessive singular athlete who most famously walked a high wire between the Twin Towers in 1974 Petit s book is like an esoteric instruction manual and his sensibility seems so Euro slanted and enchanted, whereas Alex Honnold is in many ways the opposite yet equivalent force there s no reason to try to judge which insane act of expertise and athleticism and fearlessness and reduced to a perfect form sort of simplicity is radder, as Alex would say, but I had Petit s book in my head the whole time I read this one Alex, although fluent in French thanks to his language teacher mother, is so very Californian, a low key dude interested in chicks and gnarl adventuring, but than that he s so casual, so matter of fact, so sincere and down to earth yet intentionally and naturally simple that he makes Petit seem, in the best possible way, like a pretentious clown at times, an entertainer death defying magician than whatever Alex is, a California climber bro with good intentions and something gloriously wrong with his built in fear sensor his prose reflects this, straightforward compound sentences with some conversational inflection, unobtrusively integrated slang, exclamation points Tommy Caldwell excerpts make me want to read his memoir The Push soon If we read for worlds really than anything else the great Frank Conroy s assertion in a writing workshop I was in, fall 2004 Alex succeeded on a language level to immerse me in the sounds and sense of one of the world s elite dirtbag climbers, living in his van, flying all over the world, sponsored by well known outdoorsy namebrands, low key climbing steep shit solo, setting speed records, and every once in a while learning that another of their extended climber posse has died they re compared to gladiators but there s also something ninja ish about them, the respect for what they do, the art and science of it, but also an appreciation that an aspect of its awesomeness is the ever present underlying consequence of a freak accident, an avalanche, or really even just a split second of inattention There s a definite transcendent spiritual side to what Honnold and Petit do, demonstrating the far edge potential of our spirit s ability to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles with persistence, practice, concentration, focus, opportunity, full on commitment, and a little help from friends Alex in particular succeeds in doing what they say good writing should do he makes the strange seem familiar, freeing for readers the sense that what he s doing is even possible, climbing without ropes or any sort of protection straight up El Capitan in Yosemite, 3K feet of granite, perched on tiny smears, indentations, ripples, worming up vertical fissures, ALL WITHOUT A ROPE OR NET OR anything to make it anything less than a death sentence if he simply slips He s so good, such a master in terms of technique and temperament the Hendrix of climbing he makes it seem effortless, a sure sign of mastery, and yet when you watch videos or look at a picture or even read about it it induces vertigo and a sense of my god dude is gonna die When I watched the film, for days after I wondered if he just fell off some cliff in Chad or Patagonia or Nevada reading this I started worrying about him again Loved the interviews with his friends, expert climbers, the equivalents of Beck, Clapton, and Townsend acknowledging that Hendrix is on another level Very much liked the alternation between Alex s italicized testimony and David Roberts narration, which brought the reader to earth, put things in a perspective that Alex certainly does not seem to have Alex s environmental instinct, his charitable foundation etc, is interesting in terms of karma, that is the chance that his good deeds keep him from falling off the wall somehow, but felt tacked on in this although I suppose he does spend his life in National Parks and is glued to these rocks and experiences them in a way no one else on earth really does I liked also that the last few sections were written by Alex without David Roberts for the parts about his monumental soloing achievement, Alex had to push on alone to where only he could go There was something very Zen monk ish about his description toward the end of every move, the hand holds, each step, the tension in however many digits of his fingers like the way a monk spends an afternoon walking across the stones of a garden, focused on every single movement as though life and death hung in the balance Generally, I tend to rail against novels that simplify the complexity of existence but this memoir celebrates the simplicity side of the continuum, intentionally living with few possessions, doing all the time what he most wants to do, minimizing his impact, trying to come as close as he can possibly can to perfection Anyway, if you haven t seen it, I d definitely recommend Free Solo first or even a tour of the related YouTube before reading this, but those who do make it through this won t be disappointed.