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Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  408 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
From the age of thirteen when she began climbing, it was clear Lynn Hill had an unusual gift. Before long she was arguably the best rock climber in the world, establishing routes so bold and difficult that few others could follow. And in 1994, Lynn succeeded on a climb that no one—man or woman—has been able to repeat: the first "free ascent" of the Nose on Yosemite's El Ca ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 13, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
I bought this book at a presentation by Lynn Hill at a bookstore in Marin County, back in 2002. I remembering shaking Lynn's hand and getting her signature on the book, but somehow I never got motivated to read it until now ... 12 years later. When I finally got started on it, I thought, "Wow, this is GREAT! What took me so long to read this?"

The best part of the book turned out to be Chapter 1 ... Lynn's chilling story of her 72-foot fall in Buoux, southern France (1989) ... which was because
Dec 30, 2007 Anja rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: rock climbers!
Lynn Hill is a personal hero of mine, and not just because she is one of the best female rock climbers the world has ever known. She has faced much discrimination based on her gender and size to do something she loves; she never let any of that hold her back. If I could award this book -and it's author- an award it would be a humbleness award. In her extensive climbing career she has performed feats that have yet to be replicated and in the process shown the world that women can climb -competiti ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Gen rated it really liked it
This was just wonderful, and so inspiring. Lynn Hill's early days in Yosemite (and with the Stonemasters in Joshua Tree) as many of today's classic routes were climbed or "freed"for the first time, were just a joyous romp to read about. I'll never forget the description of her leading a climb on the Nose in the pitch black, navigating upwards by the flash of a Bic lighter. She's a once in a generation athlete, and yet incredibly modest and humble about her achievements. Great read for any climbe ...more
Emily McKinney
Jan 17, 2016 Emily McKinney rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Lynn Hill is a huge inspiration, to women and to all climbers. She comes off as having such a profound sense of self reflection and honesty. Reading her book was a joy.
Feb 12, 2008 Andraea rated it really liked it
Awesome climbing book! Makes you want to drop everything and go climb around the world!
Mar 26, 2014 mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: woman, adventurers,
Do you ever wonder why a particular person seems so perfectly fitted to the life they lead, congruent with who and what they are? How they seem to flow with the events that surround them, be they “good” or “bad” with an intuitive harmony that appears effortless—and come out the other side for the better? In Climbing Free, Lynn Hill tells the story of her life in such a fashion that the reader gets a sense that tey were the objective observing witness, validating Lynn’s interpretation of events t ...more
May 19, 2015 Evo rated it it was amazing
an interesting read into the life of Lynn Hill and her climbing life to date. a bit of self analysis as to why she made certain choices in life, along with describing the product of her choices. really enjoyed every page, it was quite the page turner.

in addition to discussing all the right moves, she describes her missteps and why. and also her thought process when overcoming. reading her story, you get to share in the dejections of her past failures. the mental toughness needed to accomplish w
Oct 02, 2016 Marion rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Lynn Hill is a climbing legend and, overall, I enjoyed this book.
Jun 20, 2011 Justin rated it liked it
If your checking this book out then your probably already a climber, or someone interested in the sport. Your likely already aware of Hill's reputation as one of the greatest climbers of our time and are interested in getting some insight into her ferocious talent and life. 'Climbing Free' is written in a breezy conversational style as Hill recalls the events and relationships spanning her life.

At the top of the climbing game from the mid 80's to 90's, Hill climbed with the second wave of Yosem
Laura Westmeyer
Mar 31, 2010 Laura Westmeyer rated it really liked it
Captivating and inspiring book written by Lynn Hill - one of the greatest climbers of all time. After every chapter I wanted to do something great with my life and train harder for climbing. She wrote this in her 40s, so its sort of a biographical account of her experiences and lessons learned in life. Super interesting and a great read.
Highlights of the book are: her experience with other famous climber friends of hers, a failed Aconcagua summit, freeing The nose, and of course the marijuana pl
Jan 10, 2016 Angela rated it liked it
I liked this a lot more than I expected to. Though I love climbing and most outdoorsy stuff, I've never really felt the pull to be a professional outdoorsy person, and I'm not really interested in the pros as a result - it just seems like a lifestyle that doesn't do much for anything beyond the person involved. But Lynn Hill is one of the best climbers in history and I enjoyed reading her perspective on climbing as meditation, and her experiences as a woman in a male dominated field.

I feel like
Jul 20, 2009 Kelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars
A woman who climbs up a 3,000 ft rock face in 23 1/2 hours...incredible and this is only one of her accomplishments.I really enjoyed this book..and I thought thru the beginning that it would be perfectly fine for non climbers...but as the book went on there was a lot of describing the rock formations and sequences of the climbs and I think people would get bored. However the things that Lynn has accomplished are just amazing....and super inspiring! I also thought it was awesome that she persued ...more
May 15, 2012 Theresa rated it did not like it
I don't often say this about a book I've spent the time to read cover-to-cover, but this one was downright awful. I kept waiting for it to get better. It didn't. As a woman climber, I thought I might find a little inspiration or wisdom in Hill's biography. She has, after all, carved out a place for women in this male-dominated sport. Instead, I was irritated by her self-righteousness and completely bored by the artless description of her climbing experiences. It reads like a high-school Freshman ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Renee rated it it was amazing
Wondering why I didn't read this before! Excellent book. Lynn is a female pioneer of my sport, but her book was surprisingly humble and captures the feelings and connections from climbing that keep me hooked. The fact that she's my height also is inspiring. She doesn't make excuses and works hard for her success. I had the pleasure of climbing with her once in Colorado and her movement is art. Also loved all the history I learned from this of other early groundbreaking climbers.
Patagonia  Books
Dec 21, 2012 Patagonia Books rated it really liked it
In Climbing Free Hill describes her famous climb and meditates on how she harnesses the strength and the courage to push herself to such extremes. She tells of her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her youth as a stunt artist for Hollywood, her friendships with climbing's most colorful personalities, and the tragedies and triumphs of her life in the vertical world.
Dec 01, 2011 Betsey rated it it was ok
The reason why I gave this book only two stars is because I don't think it would be worth reading unless you are into climbing. This is not a book about technique. The one annoying thing about the book was how many times she mentioned her ability as a gymnast and how it has helped her be a better climber. I can't even touch my toes, so it got a little irritating.
Dec 01, 2014 Renee rated it liked it
Truthfully, I didn't finish the book. I think Lynn Hill is an amazing climber and worked hard to get there, paving the way for female climbers. And I love Greg Child, but I struggled getting into it - probably because I'm used to his style and not him tailoring his style to someone else. I think I was expecting his voice.
Mar 11, 2009 Sheri rated it liked it
If you climb or enjoy any mountain sport this book is a rewarding read. It doesn't really solve the mystery behind the motivation, of athletes who take part in extreme sports. Being a gym climber, it made me REALLY want to get outside. Great insight to focusing on the task at hand (Literally) and the mind of a premier athlete. Plus I always double or triple check my knot now!
Anh Pham
Feb 06, 2015 Anh Pham rated it liked it
being a short female climber, Lynn Hill is my hero. written in a very casual style with climbing jargon neatly explained, this is a first hand account of the birth of modern climbing. but yeah it's a history book not a be a better climber book. she just attributes her success to a background in gymnastics and living in j tree.
Bettina Oswald
Mar 15, 2010 Bettina Oswald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lynn Hill wrote a great book with many adventurous life stories of herself and other courageous friends. Her writing is inspiring and transmits love to nature and climbing. The book portraits a very humble person yet being one of the most impressive climbers of the 80s!
Jan 27, 2016 Dacky2 rated it liked it
We should stick to what we do best. Example: Be the worlds best rock climber. That's compelling enough all by itself. It doesn't have to be literature to be a good story, so we readers can forgive the mediocre writing for the outrageous story.
Feb 15, 2013 Rob rated it liked it
Best part by far was the chapter on free climbing the Nose on El Capitan. Simply amazing. It was fascinating to read Lynn Hills life story and discover how she reached the heights of the climbing world. It is too bad the writing is sub par.
Feb 11, 2008 Young rated it really liked it
What a great book about climbing and the life of true climbers. How adventurous, courageous, and brilliant. Lynn Hill is personal hero of mine, when it comes to climbing. Her humbleness and her sheer talent are revealed through her passion and true love of the sport. So inspiring.
Jan 20, 2009 Kristi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Wow!! What an inspirational book. This book reminded me to push my percieved limits everyday, and not to let gender roles hold me back. I was very inspired by Lynn and I will read this book again I'm sure!
Brett Jackson
Good book about an incredible person. Skip the chapter on competition climbing and it a good read for any climber.
Jun 19, 2010 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another climbing memoir. Some of the stories I have read/heard before, but Lynn Hill's viewpoint is often interesting and different. Worth reading if you are into climbing.
Linda D
Feb 08, 2016 Linda D rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, well written account of lynn hills life and devotion to rock climbing. She is not just a climber but a top athlete as well.
Tiffany Stoneman
Mar 20, 2014 Tiffany Stoneman rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and motivational. A truly remarkable story about the woman who changed the history and future of climbing.
She is an amazing women, leading the way for women climbers, too bad i don't live near mountains,
Lynn Hill is one of my personal heroines. I enjoyed this book. This is the second time I've read it.
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