Impossible Climb

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The Impossible Climb

Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life

By: Mark Synnott

The story of the greatest climbing feat ever undertaken - Alex Honnold's 2017 solo, rope-less free climb of the legendary 3000-foot vertical cliff, El Capitan.

One slip, one false move, one missed toehold and you're dead.

On 3 June 2017 Mark Synnott, veteran adventure journalist and professional big wall climber and alpinist, was in Yosemite to witness something that only a handful of people knew was about to occur: the most famous climber in the world, Alex Honnold, was going to attempt to summit one of the world's most challenging ascents: a route called Freerider on the notorious rock formation, El Capitan.

It is a climb extraordinarily dangerous and difficult - one that few climbers are able to do - and yet Honnold was going to do it 'free-solo'. Meaning a 3000-foot vertical climb with no help. No climbing partner. No equipment. No rope. Where a single small mistake would mean certain death. To most, it would be seen as an insane proposition. But most are not Alex Honnold, and few know this better than Mark Synnott, which is why National Geographic sent him there to cover the story. In The Impossible Climb, Mark Synnott uses his own career as a professional climber, its intersection with that of Alex Honnold, and the lead-up to Honnold's historic climb, to paint a insider portrait of the elite climbing community; what motivates climbers; the paradoxical drive to keep climbing pure and to fund climbs; and the role that awareness of mortality plays in the endeavor.

Told as a chronological narrative, The Impossible Climb draws readers in through its characters, vibrant settings, and gripping adventure, ultimately following along through Mark's eyes as Alex plots, trains, and attempts his heart-stopping, free solo ascent. Under it all is a story not only about climbing but about what makes us human, how we respond to fear, and our drive to transcend the inevitability of our own death.


Published: 1st April 2019
ISBN: 9781760633226
Number Of Pages: 416
Format: Paperback