2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning memoirist of Barbarian Days William Finnegan had devoted his days to chasing waves as a lifelong surfer. When his adolescent daughter, Mollie, proves to be a natural-born climber, Finnegan follows his newfound passion toward rock climbing. It’s an arduous apprenticeship, and it turns the parent-child dynamic on its head, as Mollie slips into the role of coach and mentor, while her father has to push his limits to keep pace.
Finnegan takes listeners deep into the world of climbing–indoors and out, from climbing gyms to rock faces in Central Park, Mexico and Canada. Mollie, a wry and gentle soul who had shown no previous interest in sports, grows into a ferociously gifted climber, and she leads the way. What begins as a hobby for the father-daughter duo becomes an obsession, as they start taking every opportunity to slip on their climbing shoes, chalk up their hands, and attack problems, climber-speak for routes. They learn a new language of specialized moves and rock types, they seek tougher climbs and forge new memories–not just muscle memories. Through it all, they add a new dimension to their relationship.
As he and Mollie start climbing outdoors, tackling harder and higher climbs, the endeavor increasingly takes on another aspect: danger, which climbers call exposure. Finnegan offers a candid and gripping look at risk, fear, and humility in the pursuit of a perilous hobby. While he navigates the boundaries of trust and adventure, as well as the far edge of his physical limits, he reminds listeners that to fall is to be human.
This Audible Original includes an additional interview Finnegan did with his daughter, Mollie, for the story.
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