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Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains [Paperback]

Jon Krakauer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From Amazon

No matter what the actual temperature may be, several pages into Eiger Dreams you will begin to shiver. Halfway through you will acquire a new appreciation for your fingers, toes, and the fact that you still have a nose. And by the end of this collection, you'll define some commonly used phrases in an entirely different way. The understated "catch some air" and the whimsical "log some flight time" are climbers' euphemisms for falling, while "crater" refers to what happens when you log some flight time all the way to the ground. "Summiting," the term for reaching the top of a mountain, seems almost colorless in comparison. The various heroes, risk-takers, incompetents, and individualists Krakauer captures are more than colorful, whether they summit or not. The author is more interested in exploring the addiction of risk--the intensity of effort--than mere triumph. There's the mythical minimalist climber, John Gill, whose fame "rests entirely on assents less than thirty feet high," and the Burgess brothers--freewheeling, free-floating English twins who seem to make all the right decisions when it counts, and hence most often fail to reach the top. Of course, they are alive. Over these and other talented climbers hangs a malignant, endlessly creative nature--its foehn winds can make people crazy and its avalanches do far worse. Eiger Dreams is an adrenaline fest for the weary, an overdue examination of a stylish, brave subculture. As one of the heroes Krakauer outlines says of his occupation, "It's sort of like having fun, only different." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Armchair adventurers can't ask for better entertainment than this tour of the legendary locations of mountaineering and the eccentric climbers who gather there.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Climber-turned-journalist Krakauer circles around the question of why a climber climbs by writing of various aspects of that culture. Revising pieces that appeared in Outside and Smithsonian magazines, he describes being tent-bound in a storm, and the competition among bush pilots flying climbers to Denali. Fresh material discusses related sports: frozen waterwall climbing and box canyon exploration. The obligatory chapters on particular climbs--an aborted attempt on the Eiger Nordwand, a lone ascent of the Devil's Thumb--are less successful in revealing to nonclimbers the emotions that drive a climber. Entertaining but not memorable.
- Paula M. Strain, M.L.S., Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The author of Into Thin Air "has taken the literature of mountains onto a higher ledge." --New York Times Book Review

 

"Armchair adventurers can't ask for better entertainment than this tour of the legendary locations of mountaineering and the eccentric climbers who gather there." --Publisher's Weekly

From the Publisher

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

No one writes about mountaineering and its attendant hardships and victories more brilliantly than critically acclaimed author Jon Krakauer. In this collection of his finest work from such magazines as Outside and Smithsonian, he explores the subject from the unique and memorable perspective of one who has battled peaks like K2, Denali, Everest, and, of course, the Eiger. Always with a keen eye, an open heart, and a hunger for the ultimate experience, he gives us unerring portraits of the mountaineering experience.

Yet Eiger Dreams is more about people than about rock and ice—people with that odd, sometimes maniacal obsession with mountain summits that sets them apart from other men and women. Here we meet John Gill, climber not of great mountains but of house-sized boulders so hard to surmount that even demanding alpine climbs seem easy by comparison, and many more compelling and colorful characters.

Eiger Dreams is stirring, vivid writing about one of the most enthralling and dangerous of all human pursuits.

About the Author

Jon Krakauer is the author of the best-selling Into the Wild, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Into Thin Air, and is the editor of the Modern Library Exploration series. His writings have been published in Outside, GEO, Architecture Digest, Rolling Stone, TIME, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the National Geographic.
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