Tommy Caldwell has the best stories. The nine-fingered rock climber — perhaps the best all-round climber ever — has defined his generation’s accomplishments on rock, pushing climbers to ponder the preposterous.
He famously climbed the Dawn Wall route on Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan, the most difficult big-wall climb in the world, clinging to nearly invisible nubs and hairline slivers of granite after seven years of toiling on a face almost everyone considered unclimbable. In a single push he linked seven summits across Patagonia’s Fitz Roy skyline. He pushed an armed captor in Kyrgyzstan off a cliff.
All those tales and more are exquisitely detailed in Caldwell’s book “The Push.” But “The Push” isn’t a climbing book. It’s a genre-twisting read, that, while anchored in adventure, is really a lesson on how an introspective life of passion and optimistic purpose can enable anybody — even those who have never climbed a mountain — to push beyond their limits to find joy and peace.
The 38-year-old Caldwell’s “The Push,” achieves the rarest of adventure reads: it thrills with colorful details of courage and perseverance but it enriches readers with an absolutely captivating glimpse into how a simple yet unwavering resolve can turn adversity into reward.
His parents called him their “miracle baby” after he was born premature, fighting with all his three pounds.
“Not giving up seemed to come natural for me,” he writes.
He was climbing by age three, lured by his dad, Mike, to fly a Spiderman kite from atop Twin Owls outside Estes Park. He was on the granite at Wyoming’s Vedauwoo by 4 and scaling Devil’s Tower and Yosemite routes by 7. His family — Mike, mom Terry and sister Sandy — didn’t just hike on family trips “they summited mountains and slept in snow caves.”
At 12, the 98-pound Caldwell and his dad scaled Rocky Mountain National Park’s famed Diamond, the highest elevation big wall in the lower 48….