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Sixty Meters to Anywhere Paperback – March 22, 2016
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"Brendan Leonard's writing resonates with the luminous, hard-rock clarity and the elusive sense of grace that can only be encountered at the sharp end of one's rope. A deeply honest, courageously wrought, searingly original testament to the austere rewards of climbing, the transcendent power of wild spaces, and the redemptive radiance of the American West." --Kevin Fedarko, author of The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon
"Nothing is off limits for Leonard in this shocking memoir about recovery from addiction and redemption in the mountains." --Grayson Schaffer, senior editor, Outside
"Brendan Leonard has earned his sensitivity to the human condition the hard way: by tearing himself apart until the pain could no longer be ignored. Brendan's online satirical pieces have always been a surefire laugh for me, but Sixty Meters to Anywhere reveals the darker path from where those quips and jabs emanate. Brendan's voice is at once crass, funny, heart-wrenching, and life-affirming. The heavy irony of Brendan's journey from the gutter to the mountaintop is that his personal perception of the pitfalls of being human, and the possibility of redemption, would make him just the type of bartender that the lonely and lost sometimes need in the long night before the dawn." --Chris Kalous, The Enormocast
"Sixty Meters to Anywhere takes us on a transformative personal journey, showing the power of climbing and the courage that lies within. Brendan writes with his usual blend of purpose, love and honesty, which reflect the person he's become and the life that he lives."
--Kelly Cordes, author of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre
"Brendan Leonard's prose has the clarity of crisp granite ridges and flashes of light on summer snow, of moonlight sifting through pine branches and footfalls on silent trails--of all those times when, near the top of a mountain as the air spreads out and the world expands below, you feel as though the simple, yet mysterious act of ascent could actually change your life."
--Katie Ives, Editor-in-Chief, Alpinist
"Since climbing's earliest days, non-climbers have asked 'Why?' In Sixty Meters to Anywhere, Brendan Leonard gives the best answer I've ever heard."
--Shannon Davis, former editor, Climbing magazine
"Honest as a trad lead, committed as a free solo, this is the story of how a rope becomes life's gift of redemption--and inspiration."
--Steve Casimiro, founder, Adventure Journal
"Don't read this book unless you enjoy laughing, adventure, honesty, humility, and excellent storytelling"--Peter Brown, author of Graphic the Valley and The End of Boys
About the Author
Brendan Leonard's writing has appeared in Alpinist, Climbing, Outside, Men's Journal, High Country News, Adventure Cyclist, National Geographic Adventure, and dozens of other publications. He is a contributing editor at Climbing, Adventure Journal, and the podcast The Dirtbag Diaries. He divides his time between Denver and a roaming 2005 Chevy Astrovan. You can find him at semi-rad.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not that book. Brendan tells his story with a sense of reluctance - as if he finally acquiesced to million requests to share. A story that isn't a cautionary tale full of heavy handed lessons that dwell on obvious metaphors.
I believe this book is about how life is the constant act of balancing the books - joy and pain, giving and taking, and the fundamental difference between saying I'm sorry and showing that you are.
I found myself rooting so hard for his parents Joe and Kathy, Midwestern parents that many of us will relate to, and how they never turned their back on their son.
It's also a nuanced endorsement of how cathartic it can be to go outside, somewhere remote, and let the magnitude of nature make us feel small and exposed.
Any book that makes you cry and laugh without feeling like the author was using literary tricks is worth reading. While recovery may drive the story it's hope for redemption that drives most of us.
I hope he continues to use his voice to tell the story of other people that are too humble to take over a conversation but have a story that inspires.
My favorite passage in the book is this one:
"There is nothing else when you're climbing. There isn't room for the mind to wander. No bills, no angry boss, no girlfriend, no debt, no depression, no heartbreak, no expectations, no questioning your life choices or career, no success and no failure; there is just staying on that rock and concentrating on safe upward movement" (page 109). It's true - climbing is meditation in motion.
I know that everyone takes a different path towards recovery. I do know for me that climbing would never be enough to keep me sober. For all that it does give me (which in some ways is indescribable) it doesn't give me all the tools I need to deal with myself, to like myself & to deal with life's difficulties. That is an inside job.. My hope for Brendan is that he finds that within himself, so that if the external (i.e. climbing) is taken away, he can still feel happiness and peace in recovery. I look forward tor reading more of his work, and it's so nice to see that there are other climbers in recovery out there.
Over the years I've been incredibly lucky to have Brendan become a friend, and it's been incredible to see how he's grown as a creative person - but I definitely have never been as proud as I was after reading this, as moved by anything he put out, and as psyched to see what he has next after opening himself up like this. Do yourself a favor and get this book as soon as you can and read it with a headlamp somewhere - you definitely will not be disappointed.