The Impossible Climb to the Whitney Center

One slip, one false move, one missed toehold and you’re dead.

Today is a big day! Our own Mark Synnott’s new book, The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and the Climbing Life is released. Early reviews are fantastic. Amazon has it ranked #1 in Outdoor Recreation and Mountain Climbing books. By all accounts it is going to be a smashing success. Congratulations, Mark!

Our copy has not arrived yet, but I am looking for it this afternoon or tomorrow. The hold list is growing so get your name on it early! We are also waiting for the DVD of Oscar winning documentary Free Solo which follows the same incredible climb. And finally, if you can’t wait for those, listen to Mark interviewed by neighbor Will White on his podcast: Stories from the Field.

After you have read it, watched it, and listened to it, I hope you will join the Friends of the Jackson Public Library at the Whitney Center (venue change to accommodate a larger crowd) on March 20th at 7pm for an author talk with local , Mark Synnott, and his book The Impossible Climb. White Birch Books will be there to offer copies for purchase and Mark will be happy to sign.

On June 3rd 2017 veteran adventure journalist and professional climber Mark Synnott was in Yosemite to witness something that only a handful of people knew was about to occur: the most famous climber in the world, Alex Honnold, was going to attempt to summit one of the world’s most challenging ascents, a route called Freerider on the notorious rock formation El Capitan. It is a climb extraordinarily dangerous and difficult, and yet Honnold was going to do it ‘free solo’. Meaning no help. No climbing partner. No equipment. No rope. Where a single small mistake would mean certain death. To most, it would be an insane proposition. But most are not Alex Honnold, and few know this better than Mark Synnott, which is why National Geographic sent him there to cover the story.
Indeed, to summit El Cap free solo was a feat likened to Neil Armstrong first walking on the moon.

In The Impossible Climb, Mark Synnott uses his own career as a professional climber, its intersection with that of Alex Honnold and the lead-up to Honnold’s historic ascent, to paint a insider portrait of the elite climbing community, exploring what motivates them, the paradoxical drive to keep the sport pure and at the same time to fund climbs, and the role that awareness of mortality plays in the endeavour. We watch through Mark’s eyes as Alex plots, trains and attempts his heart-stopping free-solo ascent. Ultimately this is a story not only about climbing but about what makes us human, how we respond to fear and our drive to transcend the inevitability of death.

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.