The White Spider and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The White Spider on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

White Spider [Paperback]

Heinrich Harrer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.95
Price: CDN$ 17.48 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
You Save: CDN$ 6.47 (27%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $17.48  
Audio, Cassette --  
Join Amazon Student in Canada

Book Description

Feb. 17 2005

A classic of mountaineering literature, The White Spider tells the story of the harrowing first ascent of the Eiger's North Wall, one of the most legendary and terrifying climbs in recorded history.

Heinrich Herrer, author of Seven Years in Tibet, was a member of the four-man party that scaled the previously untouchable North Wall of the Eiger in 1938. In The White Spider, Herrer tells the story of this harrowing first ascent, a gripping first-hand account of daring and resilience in the high Swiss Alps.

Moving from his own amazing experiences to the numerous later attempts to replicate his team's achievements (some tragic failures, others spectacular successes), Herrer writes as well as he climbs, drawing the reader into a beguiling story of courage, strength and a confidence always on the edge of hubris.

A new introduction by Joe Simpson, author of the acclaimed mountaineering epic Touching the Void, reminds us of the enduring relevance of this absolute classic.



Frequently Bought Together

Customers buy this book with Seven Years in Tibet CDN$ 16.08

White Spider + Seven Years in Tibet
Price For Both: CDN$ 33.56

One of these items ships sooner than the other. Show details

  • This item: White Spider

    Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.
    Ships from and sold by
    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details

  • Seven Years in Tibet

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by
    FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ CDN$ 25. Details

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

At 13,025 feet, the Swiss Eiger doesn't approach the height of Everest or Denali, but the sheer rise and difficulty of its 5900-foot north face keeps it in the company of the world's most celebrated peaks. At the time Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet, originally the sequel to this volume) became part of the first successful summit climb in 1938, the north face of the Eiger was considered the "last and greatest of Alpine problems" left in the world. Originally published in 1959 (with chapters added in 1964 and an index covering subsequent Eiger climbs), this riveting account of his ascent and the history of confronting the EigerAbeginning with the first fatal attempts to conquer the north face in 1935Ais a crisply written paean to the mountain where Harrer first earned recognition as a world-class climber. A simple narrative style brings to life the many obstacles faced by Eiger climbersAsnowstorms, avalanches and a continuous shower of falling rocks among them. Harrer has a Hemingwayesque appreciation of the codes, bravery and rules of conduct governing the closed world of "true mountaineers." And he reserves special contempt for the sensation-seekers who gather to watch deadly feats of climbing from the ground below. Sections that document the evolution of climbing gear (Harrer wore no crampons on his 1938 ascent) and national rivalries in the WWII-era climbing community help make this volume an important contribution to the emerging canon of mountaineering literature.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


'An outstanding book in the mountaineering library.' Guardian 'Even to look at the photographs of the terrible slopes of the Eiger chills the blood. Heinrich Harrer enables the reader to vicariously experience the cold and the terror of the climb.' Irish Press '"The White Spider" provides almost the classic statement of the weird and frequently misunderstood psychology of the modern rock-climber. Despite the grimness of much of what he is doing, Harrer communicates the irresistible joy of climbing as an antidote to the idea that climbers are masochistically trying to prove something to themselves.' Sunday Times 'A true classic from the early days of mountaineering...The terror and respect that the Eiger inspires is evoked superbly in Harrer's narrative.' Maxim

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
Writing a book about the North Face of the Eiger? Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In the 1930s the Eiger Nordwand (North Wall) was considered the last and greatest of Alpine problems left in the world. The White Spider is a portion of the upper face where snow-filled cracks radiate from an ice-field resembling the legs of a spider.

The book begins by describing the early attempts to climb the Nordwand, including the harrowing stories of Max Sedlmayer and Karl Mehringer who froze to death in 1935, and Toni Kurz, Andreas Hinterstoisser, Edi Rainer and Willy Angerer who died in 1936.

Harrer then tells his first-hand story of the first ascent. Harrer and Fritz Kasparek started their climb on July 21, 1938. A day later, Anderl Heckmair and Ludwig Vörg started their attempt and quickly caught up to them. They combined into one team of four, led by Heckmair. The four men were caught in an avalanche as they climbed the Spider, but all had enough strength to resist being swept off the face.

"We were all on a single rope. ... One hundred feet above me stood Vorg, safeguarding Heckmair, as he grappled with icy rock, treacherous ice gullies, and snowslides high above us in the mists and driving snow." Heckmair fell as he led the difficult Exit Cracks, but was caught by Vorg, his crampons piercing Vorg's hand in the process. On July 24, 1938 Heckmair, Vörg, Kasparek, and Harrar completed the first ascent of the Eiger Nordwand.

Harrer then continues the Eiger story, including the dramatic rescue of Claudio Corti trapped high on the face near the Exit Cracks in 1957. Harrer added a few more chapters in 1964, including the story of Adolf Mayr who fell to his death in 1961 trying for the first solo ascent. After reaching the Second Icefield in 1962 Barry Brewster was struck by a falling rock.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read March 13 2014
By author4
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Was a good book. interesting even though it was written years ago an in an older style of prose. Still enjoyed and would recommend it to all adventure and mountain climbing enthusiasts.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Climbing Enthousiasts Sept. 24 2013
By Davoies
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book and great writing style. It makes you feel like you were there with him. You won't be disappointed!
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read Feb. 2 2010
By R. Wood
White Spider I became curious about this book while reading Joe Simpson's "The Beckoning Silence" (great book). Joe mentions the book saying he read it as a teen and that's what got him interested in mountaineering, quoting much from the White Spider. Heinrich Harrer's book is still extremely relevant today and is bang on in describing why people climb and what happens on extreme climbs like the Eiger. It takes you deeply into the minds of mountaineers to give us a better understanding. A must read to understand both topics. It accounts for the first thirty years of the north face climbs. Of all the mountaineering books that I have read, the White Spider will be a standard for all others. Harrer's ethics are top notch and no nonsense.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Facing down the North Face of the Eiger Dec 3 2002
This book details Heinrich Harrer's participation in the first successful ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in the Alps. Harrer goes far beyond simply recounting the story of their 3-day ascent and describes the earlier unsuccessful and often fatal efforts that helped pave the way for their ultimate ascent and several of the subsequent successful and tragic ascents as well. Although written in a somewhat dispassionate manner that may be due to the translation from original German, this book is a very comprehensive description of the story behind the climbs of the Eiger. Worth reading.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Risk and rescue on the Eiger North Face July 3 2000
By A Customer
Heinrich Harrer's words of caution or chastising to those who made the climbing attempt unprepared in equipment, clothing, or experience sound a prophetic note. The disasters on Mount Everest in recent years were partly the result of attempts by climbers without sufficient experience and skill and taking a gamble on decent weather. I commend the author for his ability to relate the travails of the climb. He also recounts failed and successful rescue attempts and the advances made possible by better climbing and rescue equipment. I think few readers will be unmoved by the drawn out death of Toni Kurz in one incident or of an Italian climber in another.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been better! April 20 2000
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book, but I kept feeling something was missing. For one thing, I expected long treatment of the famous Lachenal-Terray second ascent in the immediate post-war era, and this was most disappointingly lacking.
Second, there was just .... something missing, somehow. The book seemed like a sterile recounting of history, not like something lived in the passion of the moment. Where were the great blow-by-blow descriptions of entire climbs, complete with pitches from hell, near-falls and miraculous saves, desperate bivouacs, all the great stuff ... ?
I have to agree with the earlier reviewer who said that climbing literature just ain't what it used to be. Sure, it's good to see this classic in English translation. Likewise, it's great to see Gaston Rebuffat's Starlight and Storm in bookstores. But there is so much better out there. Why isn't Lionel Terray's "Conquistadors of the Useless" (for my money the best climbing book of them all) still in print in the US? And why haven't Louis Lachenal's "Vertigo Notebooks" ever been translated into English? And what about Heckmair's own memoirs? Like the other reviewer said: kids today don't know what they're missing. Too bad for them.
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?

Look for similar items by category