Author of the week
You might think that Tommy Caldwell hasn’t ever met an obstacle he couldn’t surmount, said Seth Heller in MensJournal.com. Regarded as perhaps the best big-wall free climber ever, the 38-yearold Coloradan has been scaling peaks since he was a 3-year-old tethered to his mountainguide father. He was just 16 when he became a national champion in competitive climbing, and two years ago he became the first person to free climb the Dawn Wall, a nearly vertical 3,000- foot rock face on Yosemite’s El Capitan. But though Caldwell says he started writing a memoir thinking it should be “a traditional adventure book,” he realized quickly he had to include some troubling memories— including the night 17 years ago when he pushed a Kyrgyzstan militant off a cliff.
At the time, Caldwell was a captive of Taliban-linked rebels, having been kidnapped several days before with three other climbers, said Johnny Dodd in People. Spotting a chance to escape while he and his peers were being led up a mountain by one young guard, Caldwell grabbed the 19-year-old by his gun strap and threw him. “I heard him hit the ledge below,” he says, “and watched him bounce into the darkness.” Caldwell broke down, sure he’d killed the young man. But though he learned later that the soldier had survived, the incident changed him in ways he never stopped to understand until he started the memoir, which he’s titled The Push. He says the process was cathartic. “Reflecting on my most painful moments rounded out how I view the world,” he says. “Nothing is black-orwhite for me anymore.”