The life and death-defying feats of Alex Honnold, a visionary climber of the sort that comes along only once in a generation.
Only a few years ago, Alex Honnold was little known beyond a small circle of hardcore climbers. Today, at the age of thirty, he is probably the most famous adventure athlete in the world. In that short time, he has proven his expertise in many styles of climbing and has shattered speed records, pioneered routes, and won awards within each discipline. More spectacularly still, he has pushed the most extreme and dangerous form of climbing far beyond the limits of what anyone thought was possible.
Free soloing, Honnold’s specialty, is a type of climbing performed without a rope, a partner, or hardware—such as pitons, nuts, or cams—for aid or protection. The results of climbing this way are breathtaking, but the stakes are ultimate: if you fall, you die.
In Alone on the Wall, Honnold recounts the seven most astonishing climbing achievements so far in his meteoric and still-evolving career. He narrates the drama of each climb, along with reflective passages that illuminate the inner workings of his highly perceptive and discerning mind. We share in the jitters and excitements he feels waking in his van (where he lives full time) before a climb; we see him self-criticize in his climbing journal (a veritable bible for students of the sport); and we learn his secrets to managing fear—his most enviable talent. Veteran climber and award-winning author David Roberts writes part of each chapter in his own voice, and he calls on other climbers and the sport’s storied past to put Alex's tremendous accomplishments in perspective.
Whenever Honnold speaks in public, he is asked the same two questions: "Aren't you afraid you're going to die?" and "Why do you do this?" Alone on the Wall takes us around the world and through the highs and lows in the life of a climbing superstar to answer those fascinating questions. Honnold's extraordinary life, and his idiosyncratic worldview, have much to teach us about risk, reward, and the ability to maintain a singular focus, even in the face of extreme danger.
About the Author
Alex Honnold is a world-class American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls.
David Roberts is a climber and mountaineer and the author of thirty books about mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology. His books have won the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Competition, and been shortlisted for the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He lives in Massachusetts.
Honnold is the biggest name in a group of adventure athletes engaging in high-risk live action-sports spectacles that seem to be pulled from the Evel Knievel playbook.
— Grayson Schaffer
Honnold has free-soloed the longest, most challenging climbs ever. Most peculiar of all, even to elite rock climbers, Honnold does this without apparent fear, as if falling were not possible.
— Daniel Duane
Alex is really the first climber to rise from the margins of this lonely fringe sport to become a kind of celebrity.
— Josh Dean