From Deep Wild Contributor, Jeffrey S. Markovitz is a new nonfiction book, The Sharpest End: A Climb from Cancer to El Capitan about his friend’s journey with cancer and climbing. Jeffrey contributed to Deep Wild 2021 with his essay, “Freezing to Death in Jersey.”

Jeffrey shares his heart behind this book,

“The Sharpest End started as a way for me to honor my friend. I’d never written long-form non-fiction before and was interested in the challenge. When Alex was diagnosed with cancer, it seemed so many people came out of the woodwork to offer him what they could: artists drew his image to be silk-screened on T-shirts for his benefit, his nutritionist friend send him special smoothies to enhance his immune system, climbers offered items for a raffle. I didn’t know what I had to offer other than writing, so I pitched this idea to him. My original concept was that I would correlate his cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment with rock climbing, an easy metaphor where the chemo cycles were pitches and the peril was mortal. But also, the strength and ingenuity to survive proliferated in both.

“Graciously, Alex agreed; and when Conrad Anker offered an even greater benevolence: to climb El Cap with Alex when he was healthy again, I thought it was the universe sending me the perfect conclusion to my book project.

“In the five years since that original idea, Alex and I met countless times to discuss the project and the process of his treatment. I became a journalist: I learned as much as I could about cancer and climbing to be able to accurately correlate the two. I then wrote and revised the manuscript seemingly endlessly. Our goal was to offer the world what climbing meant to us, and perhaps ease the pain of people who were suffering from chronic illness. Ultimately, for me, The Sharpest End was my gift to him, to let him know through my only aptitude, that he was important to me.

“From there, as the book finds its ways into the hands and onto the shelves of others, all Alex and I want is for it to be important to the readers, too.”

To purchase the book visit,

Read more from Jeffrey S. Markovitz at his website,

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