I just finished my written review of The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life by Mark Synnott and published by Dutton in March 2019. The “big” review won’t be published until sometime after May 8th. That’s okay. There is plenty of stuff to share that didn’t fit into the 800-word limit.
One thing I had to share from Synnott’s book was how Honnold views the risk of death from free soloing. (Synnott calls this Honnold’s “homegrown statistic.”) According to Honnold, Synnot writes, “no free soloist has ever fallen while pushing his limits.”
Synnott quotes Honnold: “It doesn’t seem to be the way that people die.”
Synnott considered these free soloists from The Impossible Climb:
- Dan Osman, d. 1998 — rope broke
- John Yablonski, d. 2014 — committed suicide
- Earl Wiggins, d. 2002 — committed suicide
- Charlie Fowler, d. 2006 — avalanche
- Michael Reardon, d. 2007 — drowned
- Dean Potter, d. 2015 — BASE jumping
- Henry Barber — still living
- Peter Croft — still living and still climbing
However, there are two that died free soloing
- John Bachar, d. 2009 — while free soloing moderate rock (Honnold and Synnott believe Bachar had health challenges that affected his fateful climb)
- Derek Hersey, d. 1993 — attempting to free solo Sentinel Rock in Yosemite
While this subject was morbid and covered only about a page, the book is still more about life and facing fear and the choices we make.
Go pick up a copy, I definitely recommend it.