Book recommendation: Alone in the Wall

Big Walls in Yosemite. You can see El Capitan with the famous route "The Nose"

On grey and wet November days I really enjoy reading a book. Preferably in front of our fireplace and accompanied by a glass of red wine. By the end of autumn, when the fog has taken the place of the sun and the snow is still a no-show we don’t spend as much time in the mountains as we would like. Our outdoor sport is minimized to (trail) running and nothing else for a while. As I don’t want to go without mountains too long, I enjoy reading books about famous climbers and mountaineers. Such books come with a great amount of inspiration to me and after finishing them I am eager to start my own new mountain adventure.

Not for the faint-hearted

Today I’m gonna introduce you to “Alone in the Wall” from Alex Honnold, who for me is the face to free-soloing. If you haven’t heard from him yet, please go and find a video on Youtube. Watching him climbing takes my breath away, more so when he climbs without a rope – free-solo. And Alex Honnold does it a lot. Every time I see a climb of Alex on video I get sweaty hands and often I can’t even look at the screen. Even the thought of climbing without a rope is utterly horrifying for me. And I’m sure I am not alone. You need good nerves watching him.

What I admire the most about Alex is his approach to climbing. He loves what he does and he isn’t scared. But he has the right amount of respect for the walls and nature in general.

The book: Alone in the Wall

With the book you learn about Alex’s seven biggest achievements until 2016 when the book was released. His free-solo climbs and his speed climbing records. You also learn about his childhood and how he got in touch with climbing. You get a bit of an insight into the world of a climber. What are the upsides? Is there a downside on the private life as a famous climber? How is the life in a van?Because Alex lives in his van most of the time which made me realise how little we need for a happy and content life.

Free-Solo: If you fall, you die.

The book „Alone in the Wall“ from Alex Honnold and David Roberts also gives us a glimpse of Alex’s inner thoughts before climbing a route free-solo. How does he prepare? How does he start the day when he is about to free-solo, say, the route „Freerider“ on El Capitan?

Alex is known among this friends as Alex “No Big Deal” Honnold. Some would say he is the master of understatement when it comes to his achievements. Alex appears tobe shy and he definitely is modest. He doesn’t make a fuss about his climbs even when he sets another record.

His preferred climbing area is Yosemite National Park in California with big walls and routes of around 100 metres. An Eldorado for climbers.

Speed climbing

Alex is also well-known for speed climbing. He set a record on the Nose – a route normally done in two to four days – of 5 hours 49 minutes, only to beat it with Hans Florin in 2012 with 2:23:46.  Alex and his friend Tommy Caldwell, also a famous climber himself, are currently holding the record of climbing the Nose in 1:58:07! How sick is that?? I mean, two to four days compared to not even two hours? Unbelievable! But still, they did it.

If you need an inspiration – read Alone in theWall   

Alex Honnold is an inspirational guy. Not only for his climbing but for his attitude and his environmental commitment. His Honnold Foundation aims for a world with equal access to solar energy which is in their belief the solution to global energy poverty. As mentioned above Alex lives in his van, more so he lives his life in an environmental friendly way and owns only the essentials.

We all canlearn a lot from Alex “No Big Deal” Honnold and this book is a nice way to doso. You might get hooked and start climbing or you want to live an environmental-friendly life. Either way, this book is a win.


Alone in the Wall by Alex Honnold and David Roberts; 
2016;  Macmillan Publishers International

Related Post:

Inspiring Stuff from Alex Honnold


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