Honest Huber


In his autobiographical The Mountain Within: The True Story of the World’s Most Extreme Free-Ascent Climber ($27, skyhorsepublishing.com), Alex Huber, 41, makes a pretty good case for his subtitle. Huber’s impressive exploits are well known, including several first free ascents on El Capitan and a 5.14 free solo in Austria. The Mountain Within is a book about achieved goals, recounted with precise and unsentimental reflection. A small but unique part of the book deals with Huber’s nervous breakdown following a failed expedition to the Ogre and a finger injury. The topic of sibling rivalry—Alex’s brother and frequent partner, Thomas, is also a superb, famous climber—comes up repeatedly in the insightful supplementary interviews contributed by Karin Steinbach, including one with Huber’s mom. Few epics are imparted in the book, just hardship, beauty, commitment, and persistence, but if you’re looking for a glimpse into the psyche of one of the world’s “most extreme free-ascent climbers,” you will find it here. —Jeff Achey