On the Nose: A Lifelong Obsession with Yosemite's Most Iconic Climb
On the Nose is a fun, interesting look into not only possibly the most famous climbing route in the world, The Nose, but into Hans’ life and the worlds of “Trad” and sport climbing.
I was introduced to climbing in the late 1980’s and fell in love with it, spending Saturday’s on the granite cliffs of Little Cottonwood Canyon south of Salt Lake City, UT. Despite my fear of heights, the adrenaline rush and feeling of accomplishment after ascending a route kept me coming back. It is difficult to explain to those who haven’t experienced it, the feelings during and after a climb, and something I have not had from many other activities.
It has been decades since the last time I was on the rock, but when I saw this book I thought I had to give it a try. I was not disappointed.
Warren Harding, Wayne Merry, Rich Calderwood, and George Whitmore first climbed the Nose in 1958. The Nose route is 2,900′ long, 31 pitches, and took them 45 days. The first ascent of the Nose in a Day (NIAD) was completed in 1975 by John Long, Jim Bridwell, and Billy Westbay. In 2018 climbers Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell broke the two hour barrier, ascending the Nose in 1:58:07.
On the Nose is the story of Hans “Hollywood” Florine and his love affair with the route. From his first attempt which ended when he and his partner bailed out after 14 hours, to his many record setting times with different climbing partners, Hans takes you on a journey through his personal and climbing life. He has ascended the Nose more over 100 times, more than anyone else ever has. His story is entertaining and insightful. Even for those that know nothing of the world of climbing, he explains well what is taking place so the reader is not lost.
If you decide to listen to the audio book instead of reading, you will be treated to Hans himself doing the reading which takes it to a different level as you hear the inflections and cadence of his voice along with background sound overlays of gear clinking on his climbing rack. Enjoy the read, I did!