Alone on the Wall (Paperback)

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Alone on the Wall By Alex Honnold, David Roberts (With) Cover Image

Alone on the Wall (Paperback)


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Staff Reviews

Alone on the Wall is an oldie but a goodie, for me! This is an interesting book that falls into a made up genre I’ve dubbed “adventure nonfiction”. Told in two parts the story pans between Alex Honnold, professional rock climber extraordinaire, and David Roberts, a journalist, mountaineer, and renowned rock climber in his own right. The story is an overview of Honnold’s career as a whole; his successes and failures as a rock climber, how he got into the sport, what drives him, and what rock climbing means to him. All of which builds around his greatest feat as an athlete; free soloing El Capitan. Now you may have a few questions, mainly "What is free soloing?" and "What is El Capitan?". The first would be rock climbing in its most intense format. In other words climbing without any safety gear. The climber is not harnessed to a rope or to the wall they are climbing. It is just them and their skill as a climber, and in Honnold’s case all he allowed himself was his climbing shoes and a bag of chalk (and a whole lotta grit). Now, El Capitan is one of the most popular and largest sport climbing walls in the United States. Found in Yosemite, El Capitan (or El Cap if you’re longtime buddies or a certified cool kid) is a 7,569 foot granite wall that faces one of the most beautiful and celebrated landscapes in our dazzling country. The longest climbing route on the wall is known as “Free Rider” and is approximately 2,900 feet. The granite is exceptionally popular among rock climbers as it is both a challenging stone to climb and relatively unique to have such a large sheet of predominantly granite to climb. What kind of crazy person decides their life goal is to climb 2,900 feet into the air with the very real risk of falling to their death just to say they did? Alex Honnold. To put that height into perspective if you fell from Free Rider it would take the average human male between 13 and 15 seconds to hit the ground. I don’t know about you but that is 13 to 15 seconds too long if you ask me. Definitely long enough to think “Why did I do this?” You don’t have to be a rock climbing enthusiast to appreciate that this is a pretty rare and unique story.

— Katie

Including two new chapters on Alex Honnold’s free solo ascent of the iconic 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

On June 3rd, 2017, 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 magazine).

Alone 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 3 hours and 56 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."

Alex Honnold is a world-class American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls.

David Roberts (1943–2021) is the author of thirty books on mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology. His books have won the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature and the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Competition.
Alex Honnold spends his life cheating death.
— New York Times Magazine

Honnold here recounts his ascents on some of the world's most dangerous rock walls. You'll come away questioning his sanity for choosing this controversial sport…but it's also impossible not to feel awe.
— People

Honnold blows wide open any conventional understanding of the term 'comfort zone.'…He engagingly conveys his love of climbing.
— Barbara J. King - NPR

[Honnold] is the foremost practitioner of the dark art of free solo rock climbing—ascending extremely difficult cliffs hundreds, sometimes thousands, of feet tall without ropes or protection hardware of any kind. That is every bit as stupefying as it sounds.
— Wall Street Journal

Alone on the Wall is set to inspire multitudes [of climbers]. With his off-the-charts abilities and laconic, whip-smart, no-B.S. persona, Honnold has made climbing cool.

— Men's Health

[Honnold's] ability to connect with a larger audience and bring a humble perspective to his many accomplishments makes him a great ambassador to the sport…[R]eading the vivid descriptions captured by Honnold and Roberts will surely cover the book's pages in a fine layer of palm sweat.
— Gripped Magazine