No one writes about mountaineering and its attendant victories and hardships more brilliantly than Jon Krakauer. In this collection of his finest essays and reporting, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devils Thumb. In Pakistan, the fearsome K2 ...
No one writes about mountaineering and its attendant victories and hardships more brilliantly than Jon Krakauer. In this collection of his finest essays and reporting, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devils Thumb. In Pakistan, the fearsome K2 kills thirteen of the world's most experienced mountain climbers in one horrific summer. In Valdez, Alaska, two men scale a frozen waterfall over a four-hundred-foot drop. In France, a hip international crowd of rock climbers, bungee jumpers, and paragliders figure out new ways to risk their lives on the towering peaks of Mont Blanc. Why do they do it? How do they do it? In this extraordinary book, Krakauer presents an unusual fraternity of daredevils, athletes, and misfits stretching the limits of the possible. From the paranoid confines of a snowbound tent, to the thunderous, suffocating terror of a white-out on Mount McKinley, "Eiger Dreams" spins tales of driven lives, sudden deaths, and incredible victories. This is a stirring, vivid book about one of the most compelling and dangerous of all human pursuits.
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How to do justice to a writer like Krakauer....well, he's such a good writer that I feel any review I write would suffer compared to the source. Nevertheless, here I go. This is Krakauer's first book. It's a collection of his previously published articles on mountaineering (save the last one about Devil's Thumb which was written for the book.) What a gread read too whether you are an afficionado of the sport or, like me, you've never seen a pair of crampons in your life (by the way, those are a set of spikes climbers strap to their boots to support themselves and prevent slipping on icy slopes.) Some of the famous peaks that make an appearance here include K2, Mt McKinley, and the titular Eiger. Throughout you will read about some of the eccentric personalities in the international climbing community, personal triumph and inspiration, offshoots like bouldering and waterfall climbing, and horrific tragedy.
If you read Into Thin Air, you'll be surprised at how funny this book is. Krakauer displays a wry, self-deprecating wit in several of these stories-something the somber subject matter of the latter book didn't permit. The last one, about his decision to solo the Devil's Thumb in Alaska in his early twenties is hysterical.
Anyone who can make a story about being tentbound or the inventor of the perfect ice axe riveting deserves attention. If you are on the fence, just go ahead and get this book. It's definitely worth it.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-07-06 Armchair adventurers can't ask for better entertainment than this tour of the legendary locations of mountaineering and the eccentric climbers who gather there. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1990-02-02 In the closed community of mountaineering there are legendary figures unknown to those outside. Krakauer, who writes about climbing for Smithsonian magazine, introduces some eccentrics and the places they gather. John Gill's reputation rests on ascents less than 30 feet high--he climbs boulders. The hard-drinking, pugnacious Burgess twins from Yorkshire are first-rate climbers and con men; they haven't held a job since 1975, yet manage to wander the globe bagging difficult peaks. Others climb frozen waterfalls in Valdez, Alaska, or attempt hazardous hang-gliding and bungee-jumping in Chamonix, where nearly 6000 people climb Mont Blanc every year. After taking us to Mt. McKinley (Denali), which has claimed more lives than the Eiger, Krakauer also describes canyoneering in the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and recounts his own nearly fatal solo climb of the Devil's Thumb in Alaska. Armchair adventurers can't ask for better entertainment. (Apr.)
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