Hans Florine embodies the genius of "and"—collaborative and competitive, fast and safe, audacious and disciplined, visionary and quantitative. The themes that run through Florine's 101 ascents of Yosemite's most iconic route can benefit people who will never climb a rock, indeed anyone inspired by the idea of a passionate, lifelong quest of any type. —Jim Collins, author of Good to Great
Hans Florine is a big-wall climbing legend in his own time. He holds the speed record on the Nose route of El Capitan, a 3,000-foot granite cliff in Yosemite Valley that’s considered the Everest of the rock-climbing world. Ascending the Nose takes most climbers anywhere from 12 to 96 hours. Florine, along with climbing partner Alex Honnold, does it in an astounding 2.5 hours.
But Florine’s story is not one of super-human athletic prowess; it’s one of persistence and dogged determination. In 30 years of climbing, he's ascended the Nose a mind-blowing, death-defying 100 times, more than anyone else ever has, and most likely ever will. In On the Nose, Florine describes the most dangerous, pivotal, and inspirational of those climbs, providing a rare look inside the adrenaline-charged world of competitive climbing in Yosemite Valley. He tells of his very first attempt on the Nose, which ended in failure after 14 hours, his friendships (and rivalries) with climbing’s most colorful personalities, and his battle with Dean Potter to secure the definitive speed record on the Nose—an endeavor that’s been called the wildest competition known to man.
Perhaps most interestingly, Florine attempts to answer the question why. Why would anyone undertake one of the greatest adventure epics on earth 100 times? His answers provide unique insights on how to live a satisfying life, how to achieve big goals, and how an otherwise ordinary guy can become a rock star.
In Mrs. McClellan's eighth-grade homeroom, Bart Wagram sizes up potential teammates for the coming season through a mood as dark as the inside of his battered locker in the field house. For the second time, he flunked a grade - this time eighth. So his teammates from last year have moved on to high school, leaving Bart, a man-boy at age 15, to play with a bunch of 12- and 13-year-old kids who were in seventh grade last year.
Bart's mood darkens further. He can't complain to anyone. His parents are divorced and his father, a preacher, is never at home anyway. He misses his mother desperately and hates his step-mother. And he has a hole in his heart the size of California.
On the same row of desks, a couple of seats in front of him sits Franklin Gibson. Bart despises Franklin Gibson. The son of a banker and an overly protective mother, Franklin played little league football as a kid. But by seventh grade he weighed too much to be on a little league team. So he played with the mill village kids last year. And he got his ass kicked every day. What Bart doesn't know is that Franklin has his own demons. He's fed up with the humiliating cracks about his weight, he's fed up with being accused of getting special treatment because of his family, and he's really sick of being afraid of Bart Wagram's abuse.
Throw Bart and Franklin onto the same team, then mix in the exhaustion of two-a-day practices in late summer. Stir in a dose of rivalry, a generous portion of surging testosterone and the chance for their team to go undefeated for the first time in a generation. Combine with vicious hits, foul mouths, and more dirty plays than you can count and you've got Life on the Line: Football Rage and Redemption, a story about hatred and revenge, of loss and longing, and, ultimately, redemption and love and new beginnings.