New & Notable – Rock Star: Trailblazing climber shares ‘Lessons from the Edge’ in new book

Yvon Chouinard in the Black Dihedral, North America Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite. Photo by Tom Frost/Aurora
Yvon Chouinard in the Black Dihedral, North America Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite.
Photo by Tom Frost/Aurora
Yvon Chouinard is a pioneering rock climber who helped revolutionize the sport, an environmental activist and a writer who has shared his love of open spaces, oceans and interesting places via books and magazines. He’s also founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., an outdoor sports apparel and equipment company that’s known for its pro-environmental business practices.

Now Chouinard explores his passions in “Some Stories: Lessons from the Edge of Business and Sport” (Patagonia, $45), described as “a personally curated collection of Chouinard’s favorite writings.”

The book includes magazine articles, personal correspondence and even poetry and recipes. It also contains 250 photographs, many of which are amazing, and are being published for the first time.

Chouinard, 80, doesn’t consider himself much of a writer but more of a storyteller. “I’ve had a pretty rich, adventurous, and, so far, lucky life in which I’ve amassed quite a few stories that would be of interest to some people. That’s the reason for this book.”

Chouinard’s writing is straightforward but vivid. Even a reader with no knowledge of rock climbing can detect the menace in his 1963 account of climbing Yosemite’s Sentinel Rock: “I could tell at once that we were in trouble. The overhang was formed by layers of flakes three- to five- inches thick, which resounded with hollow Afro-Cuban sounds under hammer blows.”

The book has pieces of a more personal nature, including a letter to his daughter as she left for high school.

Chouinard writes of other passions, too — surfing and falconry among them — and the principles he adopted for his business, the benefits of which are summed up in his observation that “every time I do something good for the planet, my business grows.

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PHOTOS BY TONYA HARVEY
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