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The Squatch Nation Book Club: The Push By Tommy Caldwell

We’re back with another edition of Squatch Nation Book Club, and this time around, we’re going climbing. Just like last time around we’re going to share one of our favorite books, why we loved it, and a few key highlights. 

For this edition of The Book Club we’re digging into The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits by legendary mountain climber Tommy Caldwell. Part autobiography, part meditation on life and what pushing your limits is truly about, it’s a fantastic read whether you’re a climber, weekend outdoor warrior, or just looking for an amazing tale about an incredible individual.

The Background

You may recognize Tommy Caldwell as Free Solo climber Alex Honnold’s training partner and friend. He featured prominently in the astounding “Free Solo” documentary as he helped Honnold prepare for his insane free solo ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite. What you might not know is that Tommy is one of the world’s most elite climbers himself, having conquered some of the world’s toughest climbs. Among his range of incredible climbing accomplishments, is the first-ever free climb of the legendary Dawn Wall on El Capitan (also the subject of an amazing documentary). Outside of it’s sheer difficulty, the Dawn Wall ascent took 6 years to prepare for and 19 days of on-mountain living. But Caldwell’s story is far from just climbing feats. He’s a man who has persevered through incredible challenges, like escaping a harrowing hostage situation in Kyrgyzstan and overcoming a nearly career-ending finger injury to return to climbing. But The Push is about more than just Caldwell’s incredible life journey, it’s about his personal relationships, struggles, and the lessons he has learned along the way.

What We Loved About It

Caldwell has lived a life that’s defined by overcoming obstacles and we loved the way The Push combines action-packed climbing adventures with deeper thoughts and life lessons that Caldwell gained through triumphs and pain. It’s broadly divided into 4 parts built around key events in his life and the way it weaves together his different experiences with the insights he gained through these experiences is a pleasure to read. More than just a book about climbing, The Push is a deep read about human relationships and what living life on your own terms is all about. This mix of adventure and insight is perfectly balanced and never feels too over-the-top.

2 Key Takeaways

Details Matter – Whether it’s dedicating yourself to the meticulous planning and preparation that goes into potentially life-threatening climbs or taking a step back to consider the lessons that life’s experiences are teaching you, the details truly matter in whatever you’re doing.

Work Through The Pain – Whether it’s dealing with the pain of injuries and climbing preparation or persevering through painful life events like Caldwell’s estrangement from his father and divorce, The Push teaches us that we can push through whatever it is with perseverance, focus, and dedication. As we learn how to work through the pain on the journey of life we can come out the other side not only stronger but better for it.

As you can probably tell, we loved The Push, it was insightful, entertaining, and philosophical in just the right ways. So no matter what type of Squatch man you are, we highly recommend taking this inspiring journey with Tommy Caldwell. Have a book or two you love? Let us know! We’re always down for another great read. See you next time at the Squatch Book Club, keep Squatchin’ and reading!

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