Mountaineers Books

All and Nothing

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Once considered a fringe activity, climbing without a rope has entered the mainstream consciousness, largely because of the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo featuring professional climber Alex Honnold. Yet climbers have been free soloing all along—motivated by reasons as varied as the climbers themselves.

All and Nothing delves into the cultural history of free soloing, ranging across the storied climbing cultures of the Alps, Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, the Gunks, Eldorado Canyon, and several other locales. Writer and climber Jeff Smoot explores the interplay of climbing and risk, as well as psychological theories, evolving ethics, the effect of media coverage (particularly the portrayal of extreme sports), and shares original interviews with dozens of free soloists. Smoot also recounts his personal experiences climbing without a rope in the same era as talented climbers like Mark Twight and Peter Croft.

From inside his complex connection to free soloing, he examines our relationship with risk, how we perceive our sense of control, and our perspective on mortality.


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