Lighting Out by Daniel Duane is a coming-of-age memoir, first and foremost. But it’s also about the Yosemite climbing lifestyle in the early 1990s and the author’s effort to immerse himself in that dirtbag world, while figuring out what to do with his life. It beautifully evokes a specific time and place, as well as captures that post-college searching and desire for adventure and romance that resonates for so many. From the Grateful Dead to an awkward tumble into a relationship, and from California surf towns to the sheer wall of El Cap, Duane’s story meanders through loosely linked events and observations that, taken together, convey a tangible sense of freedom and the search for fulfillment.
Duane climbed actively in the Yosemite Valley from 1987 to 1992, then went on to get a Ph.D. in American Literature at UC–Santa Cruz. Lighting Out was his first book, published two years before his seminal cult-favorite, Caught Inside: A Surfer’s Year on the Calfiornia Coast.
“The contrast between the slacker-climbing crowd and the New Age poseurs is enhanced by a wonderfully deadpan writing style that is rarely too technical for those unfamiliar with the sport. Highly recommended.”
— Library Journal
“[Duane] explores with fine irony and rare depth his awakening into manhood, love, and conquest…”
— Isabel Allende