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

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INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER
NEW YORK TIMES MONTHLY BESTSELLER
One of the 10 Best Books of March, Paste Magazine

A deeply reported insider perspective of Alex Honnold’s historic achievement and the culture and history of climbing.

“One of the most compelling accounts of a climb and the climbing ethos that I've ever read.”—Sebastian Junger

In Mark Synnott’s unique window on the ethos of climbing, his friend Alex Honnold’s astonishing free solo ascent of El Capitan’s 3,000 feet of sheer granite is the central act. When Honnold topped out at 9:28 A.M. on June 3, 2017, having spent fewer than four hours on his historic ascent, the world gave a collective gasp. The New York Times described it as “one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever.” Synnott’s personal history of his own obsession with climbing since he was a teenager—through professional climbing triumphs and defeats, and the dilemmas they render—makes this a deeply reported, enchanting revelation about living life to the fullest. What are we doing if not an impossible climb?

Synnott delves into a raggedy culture that emerged decades earlier during Yosemite’s Golden Age, when pioneering climbers like Royal Robbins and Warren Harding invented the sport that Honnold would turn on its ear. Painting an authentic, wry portrait of climbing history and profiling Yosemite heroes and the harlequin tribes of climbers known as the Stonemasters and the Stone Monkeys, Synnott weaves in his own experiences with poignant insight and wit: tensions burst on the mile-high northwest face of Pakistan’s Great Trango Tower; fellow climber Jimmy Chin miraculously persuades an official in the Borneo jungle to allow Honnold’s first foreign expedition, led by Synnott, to continue; armed bandits accost the same trio at the foot of a tower in the Chad desert . . . 

The Impossible Climb is an emotional drama driven by people exploring the limits of human potential and seeking a perfect, choreographed dance with nature. Honnold dared far beyond the ordinary, beyond any climber in history. But this story of sublime heights is really about all of us. Who doesn’t need to face down fear and make the most of the time we have?

About the Author


Mark Synnott is a twenty-year member of the North Face Global Athlete team. He is a frequent contributor to National Geographic magazine and has written for Outside, Men's Journal, Rock and Ice, and Climbing. He is also an internationally certified mountain guide and a trainer for the Pararescuemen of the United States Air Force. He lives in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire.

Praise For…


Praise for The Impossible Climb
“Enthralling . . . gripping . . . Much more than just an account of Honnold's mind-bending climb: it is a story of the complex friendship between the two men. . . .  This compelling book reads like a thriller as it ranges over the rarefied world of extreme climbing. It is a portrait of fascinating people and of an extraordinary place, the Yosemite Valley.”
The Daily Mail

“Fast-paced and enjoyable.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“With the possible exception of the lunar landings, free-soloing El Capitan may rank as one of the most audacious—and terrifying—things a human being has ever done. Synnott’s narrative plasters you on a 3,000-foot granite cliff and doesn’t let you go until the climb is done. It is one of the most compelling accounts of a climb and the climbing ethos that I’ve ever read.”
Sebastian Junger, author of TribeWar, and The Perfect Storm

“The fascinating story behind an unprecedented feat. Mark Synnott has built something thoughtful and tense by leaning on his keenly observant presence in the moment and his decades of high-level experience. It’s a compelling narrative confidently told, one that will resonate no matter whether you’re a hardcore climber or someone who climbs nothing but stairs.”
—The Maine Edge

“An engaging read cover to cover—delightful, shocking, thrilling, saddening, and motivating. Each chapter deepens the larger story of struggle and awe within the adventurer’s life.” 
—New Hampshire Magazine

“Synnott adds depth, intimacy, and a hint of fear to Honnold’s climb; more importantly, he adds context to the historical feat. . . . Through firsthand accounts and thorough reporting, Synnott provides a vertiginous window into the world of climbers at the top of the sport.”
—Paste Magazine

“Bracing . . . brings Honnold’s epic, rope-free ascent to vivid life.”
—Harper's Bazaar

“A thrills-and-chills—and occasional spills—view of the mad heroes of free climbing . . . Fans of mountaineering will find this a winner.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will pick up this for Honnold but will be equally engrossed by Synnott’s own adventures and writing.” 
Library Journal

“Yes, The Impossible Climb is the gripping story of the most perilous rock ascent of all time—but it’s much more than that. In seamlessly fusing memoir, reporting, social history, climbing lore, technical expertise, and intimate glimpses of his tribe, Mark Synnott has given us a kind of epic of life on the edge. Even readers who have never set toe to rock are going to find themselves glued to this insanely brilliant account of extreme athletic ambition and endurance.” 
David Laskin, author of The Children’s Blizzard

“Mark Synnott's The Impossible Climb is to climbing what William Finnegan's Barbarian Days is to surfing.”
—John Long, founder of the Stonemasters

“Immensely enjoyable. Tapping his own impressive mountaineering resume, Mark Synnott dives deep into the rebellious counterculture of extreme climbing to get inside the head of Alex Honnold, the planet's foremost rock climber. What motivated Honnold to free climb El Capitan without a rope? 'Because it's there' doesn't come close to explaining it. Synnott's The Impossible Climb does.” 
—Andy Hall, author of Denali's Howl
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101986660
ISBN-10: 1101986662
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: March 10th, 2020
Pages: 416
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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