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The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and a Climber's Life

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A middle grade adaptation of the adult bestseller that chronicles what The New York Times deemed "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever": Alex Honnold's free-solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold achieved what most had written off as unattainable: a 3,000-foot vertical climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, wi A middle grade adaptation of the adult bestseller that chronicles what The New York Times deemed "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever": Alex Honnold's free-solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold achieved what most had written off as unattainable: a 3,000-foot vertical climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without a rope or harness. At the time, only a few knew what he was attempting to do, but after topping out at 9:28 am, having spent just under four hours on this historic feat, author Mark Synnott broke the story for National Geographic and the world watched in awe. Now adapted for a younger audience, The Impossible Climb tells the gripping story of how a quiet kid from Sacramento, California, grew up to capture the attention of the entire globe by redefining the limits of human potential through hard work, discipline, and a deep respect for the natural world.


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A middle grade adaptation of the adult bestseller that chronicles what The New York Times deemed "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever": Alex Honnold's free-solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold achieved what most had written off as unattainable: a 3,000-foot vertical climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, wi A middle grade adaptation of the adult bestseller that chronicles what The New York Times deemed "one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever": Alex Honnold's free-solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold achieved what most had written off as unattainable: a 3,000-foot vertical climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without a rope or harness. At the time, only a few knew what he was attempting to do, but after topping out at 9:28 am, having spent just under four hours on this historic feat, author Mark Synnott broke the story for National Geographic and the world watched in awe. Now adapted for a younger audience, The Impossible Climb tells the gripping story of how a quiet kid from Sacramento, California, grew up to capture the attention of the entire globe by redefining the limits of human potential through hard work, discipline, and a deep respect for the natural world.

32 review for The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and a Climber's Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Ashby

    I have read many, many books and watched just as many movies and documentaries on climbing Everest and climbing in general because I find it fascinating and terrifying. I wasn't sure I would be able to make it through "Free Solo" because of the fear I knew I'd feel, but I managed. So upon seeing this YA version of the story of Alex Honnold's free solo climb of El Capitan, I was on board right away! How disappointed was I then to find it full of so much climbing jargon that I found myself skimmin I have read many, many books and watched just as many movies and documentaries on climbing Everest and climbing in general because I find it fascinating and terrifying. I wasn't sure I would be able to make it through "Free Solo" because of the fear I knew I'd feel, but I managed. So upon seeing this YA version of the story of Alex Honnold's free solo climb of El Capitan, I was on board right away! How disappointed was I then to find it full of so much climbing jargon that I found myself skimming or outright skipping some sections because they were incomprehensible. And that's coming from someone who has a solid research background in climbing. I assume a real life climber wouldn't struggle so much but I also look at all my YA reading from the perspective of my students reading the title and I don't think this has enough scaffolding in the language to get them through it. A couple of examples: "He had rehearsed an intricate sequence at the crux, which required pinching the bottom of a flake as he carefully tick-tacked his feet along a series of barely perceptible nubs in the rock.....But when he got to the undercling, he locked off with his right hand and brought his feet up high." "A slotted hand or a sideways clenched fist will usually jam well in a crack up to four inches wide. Any wider and you have to get creative with moves like hand stacks, arm bars, and chicken wings." Those are just two passages I decided to highlight so I'd have concrete examples of the jargon-laden text, but so much of the book was like this. I enjoyed the more biographical sections of the book both for the author and Honnold and wish the rest of the story had followed that form of storytelling. Since I am not a climber personally, I am giving a slight benefit of a doubt that it might be impossible to tell the story of free soloing or even tethered climbing in layman's terms, but if that's the case then the audience for this book is very small.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  3. 4 out of 5

    George Dix

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

  6. 4 out of 5

    Renee Ting

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  8. 4 out of 5

    H Kew

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krista

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Reannen

  12. 4 out of 5

    bookcrush

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  15. 5 out of 5

    James

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Library

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura I.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Briano

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 5 out of 5

    Belmont Library

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joy Davenport

  27. 4 out of 5

    Knoxville High School

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sean R.

  29. 5 out of 5

    MCDS

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

  31. 5 out of 5

    JPLTeens

  32. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Allen

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