Book Reviews

Tower of Lies

Tower of Lies

Alpinist Kelly Cordes examines the dramatic history of Cerro Torre By Matt Niswonger Cerro Torre from the southeast. (Kelly Cordes) Most California climbers are familiar with Cerro Torre, an iconic spire of rock in southern Patagonia. The spire is part of the massif depicted on the logo for one of the most well respected brands in America – you guessed it, California-based Patagonia clothing. Besides being one of the most spectacular looking and dangerous mountains on earth, Cerro Torre has been shrouded in controversy for over fifty years, and is the subject of the most infamous lie in climbing history.  In his new book The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre (published by Patagonia), Colorado based alpinist Kelly Cordes puts together a fantastically researched presentation of the entire sordid history – starting with the fraudulent first ascent by Cesare Maestri. In 1959 Maestri claimed that...
Everyday Kid Phil Gaimon Rides Off the Couch into a Pro Contract

Everyday Kid Phil Gaimon Rides Off the Couch into a Pro Contract

From Fat Kid to Euro Pro Professional cyclist Phil Gaimon has written a book telling the true story of his unlikely transformation from fat kid to professional bike racer. Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro, is now available in bookstores, bike shops, and online. Preview Gaimon’s debut book at www.velopress.com/phil. Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon begin riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. A few hardscrabble seasons later, Gaimon was offered a contract to race in 2014 for Team Garmin-Sharp, an elite cycling team that competes at the sport’s highest level. Pro Cycling...
Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale

The story of Sierra Nevada’s maverick founding father By Derrick Peterman When compiling a list of notable California entrepreneurs, people like David Packard, Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk usually spring to mind. Given the national obsession with Sierra Nevada Brewing’s signature pale ale, founder Ken Grossman’s name should also appear on any such list. In Grossman’s long awaited autobiography Beyond the Pale, readers learn the story of Sierra Nevada Brewing, from humble beginnings in Chico to current status as a national craft brewing institution. The book is a fascinating self-portrait of someone who over thirty years ago hand built a brewery out of little more than discarded scraps salvaged from junk yards. Back in those days, distribution meant Grossman driving his old pickup truck to the few stores that would actually sell his beer. His typical twelve-plus hour days were mainly spent returning antique bottling lines to functionality,...
McConkey

McConkey

Photo courtesy of Hank de Vré When Shane McConkey combined wingsuit BASE with freeskiing, the results were inspiring, beautiful and ultimately tragic. Four years after his death we are still in awe… By Trish Medalen ——————————————————————————————————————————– Shane McConkey gives an interview in New Zealand on February 6, 2009. Photo: Graeme Murray/Red Bull Content Pool October 5, 2013 was another beautiful Saturday night in Squaw Valley. As the sun dropped behind the towering Eagle’s Nest summit dubbed “McConkey’s,” something special was in the air. Nearly 5,000 people gathered in front of a movie screen set up at the base of the mountain – blankets, sleeping bags, and lawn chairs staked a claim on the grass while everyone waited for the film to start. The mood was anticipatory: old friends and neighbors greeted each other, kids ran in circles, and the overall happy murmur was punctuated by laughter. Smartphone cameras flashed into...
Shaun Tomson: The Code

Shaun Tomson: The Code

A legendary surfer shares the secret to living life powerfully in his new book “The Code” Words by Neil Pearlberg • Photos courtesy of Shaun Tomson The famous beach at Rincon just south of Santa Barbara is composed of aged cobblestones piled loosely at the water’s edge. The ocean has effectively shaped each rock, shell, and coral fragment. It can be said that one of Rincon’s most recognized surfers has been shaped in a similar manner. He is Shaun Tomson, surfing icon, and a former world champion. Shaped by the world’s oceans, Tomson has become a man of faith, courage, creativity, and dogged determination. Listed as one of the 25 most influential surfers of the century by Surfer magazine, he is the author of Surfer’s Code, published in 2006. In this influential book, Tomson shared 12 simple lessons for riding through life from the collective wisdom of the...
Book Review: Eat & Run

Book Review: Eat & Run

Scott Jurek’s Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness Scott Jurek is a combination of fierce competitor, Zen master racer and boy-next-door. Having dominated the renowned Western States 100 trail race for many years on a plant-based diet, his new book, Eat & Run tells the story of his success. I recall chatting with Scott several years ago concerning his desire to write a book about his diet. This story of his running life is the result of that need to share, and any reader with an interest in running and healthy eating will be glad he did. Part deeply honest memoir and part vegan cookbook, Scott warms us up with the challenges of his childhood in the Midwest amidst the world of ski racing. He then embraces running and ultra running while delving into his complete diet metamorphosis. As Scott’s story matures so does his book—he lets us in slowly...
Eric Orton’s “The Cool Impossible”

Eric Orton’s “The Cool Impossible”

In a new book by the running coach from Born To Run, Erik Orton divulges his training philosophy and techniques By Derrick Peterman Eric Orton knows a thing or two about helping runners accomplish big goals. He transformed author Christopher McDougall from an injury prone runner who could only handle runs of a few miles into an ultra-marathoner. Born to Run, McDougall’s book about his journey in the land of the reclusive Tarahumara Indians, became the bible of the minimalist running movement. Declaring, “Running shoes may be the most destructive force ever to hit the human foot,” McDougall inspired runners to toss off their heavily padded shoes for ones with thinner, lightweight soles. Some ditched their shoes altogether and started running barefoot. Fans of the book will remember McDougall’s running coach Eric Orton, an iconoclast who brought a heavy dose of sports psychology to his methods. For this reason, I...
Adventurous Women

Adventurous Women

Three Noted Authors Face their Fears and Overcome Personal Challenges By Tim Hauserman Looking for a good read about adventurous women overcoming their fears and striking out into the wilderness? You can’t go wrong with one of these books: Wild by Cheryl Strayed; Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts; and Learning to Fly by Steph Davis. They all focus on how the physical challenge of doing something exciting helped them work through the personal issues they were facing in their lives. And more importantly, they are all entertaining reads. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed I’ve read memoirs about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail before. They talk about the hardship of hiking the trail and how overcoming that hardship brought them peace and a powerful feeling of accomplishment. Wild does all that, but it’s really more of a story about how a woman attempts to use the rigors of a PCT...
Dale Bard: “In The Dead Of Winter”

Dale Bard: “In The Dead Of Winter”

A selection from the new book, Yosemite Epics: Tales of Adventure from America’s Greatest Playground, compiled by ASJ contributor Matt Johanson. In the mid-70s, renowned “dirtbag” climber Dale Bard decided to take his first backcountry ski trip — a big one, some 250 miles along the Sierra Crest, in mid-winter with friend and wilderness ranger Nadim Melkonian. Over the next 44 days, they were pummeled by heavy snowstorms, narrowly escaped avalanche burial and courted starvation. But it was all part of a grand adventure, according Bard. …………………………………………………………………………. A fixture of Yosemite in the 1970s, Dale Bard became famous for both his bold climbing and his frugal lifestyle. Bard lived in a converted bakery van and sustained himself on peanut butter and potatoes for weeks at a time, earning kudos from Climbing Magazine for perfecting the “dirtbag” lifestyle. Though with first ascents of Half Dome’s Bushido and El Capitan’s...
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