Audio Book (sort of…)

Professional audiobook narrators need not worry. I’m no threat. But during this coronavirus pandemic, when many climbers seem challenged by the social distancing directive (surprisingly enough to me—hell, I damn near invented social distancing), I figured this bizarre time makes a good time for storytime: I’m reading my book, The Tower, cover to cover, and releasing the readings for free, daily, no ads and no bullshit. Much gratitude to Patagonia Books for their support, and huge thanks to my long-suffering friend Jason Albert, who heroically endured as my first regular climbing partner back in my “Sketchy Kelly” days in Missoula. I was such a pain in the ass. Jason’s a great writer and an audio pro, and he walked me through the basics, tweaked the levels, and fixed my bigger mistakes. It would have been inhumane, however, to subject him to a full edit of these recordings, and so the many glitches are all mine.

We as climbers tend to be fortunate with the lives we lead. If you are able, please consider helping somebody in need during this crisis, whether it’s a friend, neighbor, your local food bank or another organization.

Episodes should be streamable and downloadable (unless I botch the tech), and will be posted below daily. They average 25 to 30 minutes each, but range from 20 to 50 minutes. Apologies for the hiccups, the sips from my marg, and the wind outside my window. And my pronunciations of foreign words are atrocious. Have mercy. You get what you pay for. I had to put on my blinders at times while recording, and let some things go, or I’d drive myself nuts. I’ve consolidated the 35 chapters (plus Epilogue and Postscript) into 16 readings, prefaced by a short intro. Enjoy, and stay healthy.

An off the Couch Audio Book (1)

Language: Some folks have asked if it’s kid-friendly for language. Well, might depend on your kids, but it’s probably not. I read the book as I wrote it, uncensored, which includes some cuss words from me, and plenty of f-bombs in the quotations and dialogue from the impassioned climbers themselves.


Click link to stream audio. To download, on Safari right-click the link; on Chrome click and then hit the download button in the player; on iPhone press and hold the link for options. That taxes my tech knowledge, sorry. The files are named sequentially, so once saved to wherever your device puts downloads, they should play in order. 

Introduction (5′) + Chapter 1 (Lost Time) & Chapter 2 (In the Beginning) (25′)

Chapter 3 (Toni, Toni, Toni) & Chapter 4 (January 2012) (24′)

• Chapter 5 (1959) & Chapter 6 (Aftermath 1959) (28’)

Chapter 7 (Doubt, Rage, and a Gas-Powered Compressor) & Chapter 8 (Ragni di Lecco) (37’)

Chapter 9 (Body of Evidence) (40′)

• Chapter 10 (Origins of Belief) & Chapter 11 (Poseidon and Zeus) (27’)

• Chapter 12: Cold Reality & Chapter 13: Blessed by Bridwell (39’)

Chapter 14: The Grandfather Clause, Ch15: Insight from Reinhold, Ch16: Examination of a Myth (22’)

• Chapter 17: New Patagonia & Chapter 18: El Arca de los Vientos (25’)

• Chapter 19: Aftermath 2005 & Chapter 20: Stop Making Sense (22’)

Chapter 21: Los Tiempos Perdidos (32′)

Chapter 22: A New Story, Ch23: The Democratic Republic of Cerro Torre, Ch24: Demystification of a Massif (48’)

Chapter 25: A Brief Commercial Interruption + Chapter 26: Contrast on the Southeast Ridge (29’)

• Chapter 27: Seven Days (54′)

Chapter 28: Aftermath 2012, Ch29: Everybody Has an Opinion, Ch30: Cesare’s Letter, Ch31: Growing Pains (48’)

• Chapter 32: Alone with the Truth, Ch33: The Man and the Mountains, Ch34: Fact-Checking Interlude, Ch35: My Truth (32’)

Epilogue + Postscript (29′)