One afternoon in 1987, two renegade climbers in Berkeley, California, hatched an ambitious plan: under the cover of darkness, they would rappel down from a carefully scouted highway on-ramp, gluing artificial handholds onto the load-bearing concrete pillars underneath. Equipped with ingenuity, strong adhesive, and an urban guerilla attitude, Jim Thornburg and Scott Frye created a serviceable climbing wall. But what they were part of was a greater development: the expansion and reimagining of a sport now slated for a highly anticipated Olympic debut in 2020.
High Drama explores rock climbing's transformation from a pursuit of select anti-establishment vagabonds to a sport embraced by competitors of all ages, social classes, and backgrounds. Climbing magazine's John Burgman weaves a multi-layered story of traditionalists and opportunists, grassroots organizers and business-minded developers, free-spirited rebels and rigorously coached athletes. Deeply reported and compellingly told, this is a celebration of climbing and the pivotal figures who made its growth possible, from the rock faces of Yosemite to urban bouldering gyms and beyond.