Alex Honnold is probably the most interesting climber active in the world today.
Here’s “Free Spirit,” my review of Honnold’s new book Alone on the Wall (co-authored by David Roberts) in the November 28 & 29, 2015 edition of The Wall Street Journal.
To present my credentials to comment on climbing, here’s my alpine memoir, Enduring Patagonia (Random House, 2001), my attempt to crack open the world of cutting edge alpinism for a general readership.
If you were a native-born American in the 1840s and 1850s, you quite likely thought the massive wave of Catholics immigrating into the United States was an invasion by a foreign power whose values were incompatible with American principles and saw it as part of a vast Papal conspiracy to conquer and subdue American democracy. Fear the Catholics among you, for they have come to spread their superstitions, their theocracy, their idolatry, and their false God! And we all know how that played out…
In light of the terrible events in Paris over the weekend, and what I hope is our measured, forceful, intelligent, careful, well-targeted, and violent response to it, I hope that we don’t lose sight of that which will, I am sure, in the long run prove to be the decisive weapon in our war on terror–THE RULE OF LAW.
I just stumbled across this article about Patagonia in The New York Herald on September 19, 1848….
“Patagonia… is an almost unknown country, at the southern extremity of South America, and is famous for being the fabled land of giants. The aboriginals were reported to be of gigantic stature, but this idle tale has long since been exploded.
“Patagonia, we believe, forms a part of the Argentine Republic, but is unsettled, and destitute of ports, cities, or commerce…”
Here’s an excellent 20-minute CNAC video featuring four of the airline’s pilots I interviewed while writing China’s Wings: Moon Chin, Pete Goutiere, Fletcher Hanks, and Cedric Mah.
Wong How Man, founder of the China Exploration and Research Society (CERS), organized and produced the documentary. It’s very well done, with lots of film footage and photographs from CNAC’s days of Flying the Hump, 1942-1945, and it’s an excellent vehicle through which to “meet” these amazing men.
In the summer of 2011, I traveled to Iran with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez and spent a jaw-dropping month climbing some of the highest mountains in the Islamic Republic of Iran and doing some excellent rock climbing. We were members of a goodwill exchange between the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Iran intended to improve the strained relations between our two peoples. Besides having wild adventures in gorgeous mountains, we built excellent relationships with our Persian hosts, gained a better appreciation of the ancient culture of Iran, and experienced some of the tensions inherent in life in modern Iran, all at a time when the two captured American hikers were still languishing in a Tehran prison.
(Note: You do not need a Kindle or dedicated eReader to read digitally. You can download the free Kindle app to most any electronic device. It’s easy to do and easy to use.)