Lighting Out: A Golden Year in Yosemite and the West

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Freshly graduated from Cornell, Berkeley native Daniel Duane rejects his classmates' East Coast intellectualism and Wall Street aspirations, instead returning West in the quintessential American quest for authenticity, unspoiled nature, and identity.  Setting his sight on climbing El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, he quickly immerses himself in the dirbag world of rock climbing, developing his physical abilities and revisiting familiar friendships.  The false starts, small successes, and sudden failures on his initial climbs mirror his awkward and earnest pursuit of a relationship with a free-spirited young woman.

Not only a coming-of-age memoir, Lighting Out is also a snapshot of the Yosemite climbing lifestyle of the late 1980s.  It evokes that remarkable time and place when new and old generations of climbers were challenging themselves on the Valley walls.  It captures the youthful sense of searching and desire for adventure and romance familiar to climbers and nonclimbers alike.  Told in loosely linked events and observations, and set in iconic Bay Area locations including Berkeley gear shops, Monterey Bay mountain bike trails, Santa Cruz beaches, and a Point Reyes organic dairy frm, this book ultimately illuminates the universal search for one's place in the world. 


  • Written by Daniel Duane
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