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The Impossible Climb: A good read



I picked up _The Impossible Climb_ by Mark Synnott at the airport as we were leaving Las Vegas after Vegas Acro Cup/World Cup last week. In between competition days, the kids & I watched "Free Solo," totally mesmerized. With kids who are athletes (acrobatic gymnasts) and as northern Californians who love our outdoors, including Yosemite, it was a story that resonated in a lot of ways even though we're not climbers. Because we're not climbers, I was extra eager to pick up the book and learn more about this world. After seeing Synnott's Instagram posts excerpting the book, I could see I'd be learning much more than just about climbing. I'd be learning about the relationships among climbers and their families, with sponsors, and with the rock itself. Synnott starts with his own childhood and how he started to climb. It's almost comical how perfectly his description of his childhood comports with what I pictured, as a girl, what a white dude bro American's childhood would be. Dad in the front seat, swigging beer that Mom handed him, while sis and bro fight in the back seat. A boy who did dangerous things that were surely against the rules, who seemed to never worry about breaking the rules--and egging on others to do the same. Totally opposite to my childhood as a daughter of immigrant parents in CA.

And yet. And yet! The way he talks about his adventures feels like an old friend telling you stories by the campfire. His love of nature feels deeply familiar to me. His observations of others, and especially of himself, are raw and vulnerable and honest; Synnott doesn't shy away from conflict and contradictions. All this makes for a much richer story than just recounting Alex Honnold's remarkable free solo on El Capitan - although that's covered, too (as we readers would hope, since he's on the cover).

I'm so glad I picked this up and that it's got a place on the shelfie. Recommend.


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