Book Review:Alex Hannold – Alone on the Wall

One look at the cover is enough to give many people sweaty palms, and yes he really is standing on a ledge with no ropes or safety equipment.


A couple of weeks ago me and my beautiful wife went to the local cinema to see Free Solo, a documentary about Alex Hannold’s attempt to climb El Capitan in Yosemite without any ropes, i.e. free solo.

It was terrifying to watch because El Cap is one huge slab of near vertical granite. Most climbers take two days to climb it, using every piece of equipment available. With a free solo climb there are no second chances. One mistake and you die. I can highly recommend watching the film.

After watching the film I remembered that I had seen clips of a documentary about an earlier climb in Yosemite that Alex had completed. This time on Half Dome. I’ve been to Yosemite twice and absolutely loved it, even walking all the way to the top of Half Dome one time. Alone on the wall is more than Alex’s climb up Half Dome, it covers his whole life and most of his serious climbs, not just the scary free solo ones.

If you are a climber then you already know who Alex Hannold is, but even if you’re not you should check out either this book or one of the documentaries set in Yosemite. Absolutely terrifying, but yet totally gripping.

2 thoughts on “Book Review:Alex Hannold – Alone on the Wall

  1. My last real climb was in Yosemite almost a decade ago, though it was a wee one at 600 feet. I climbed the first 20 odd feet in sandals, but it was so impressive looking up at the climbers way above. Looking forward to seeing the film. Strange thing about the place was it feeling so familiar, despite never having been there before.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: John Lanchester – The Wall | Beards and Triathlons

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