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Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains [Kindle Edition]

Jon Krakauer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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."

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1896 KB
  • Print Length: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot; Reprint edition (May 19, 1997)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00368CAVU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,968 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read for those at sea level and rising June 12, 2000
By Trixie
Format:Paperback
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.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Collection of Stories July 28, 2002
Format:Paperback
"Eiger Dreams" is a compelling collection of twelve stories by mountaineering writer Jon Krakauer. Included are several first person accounts of his own adventures, including his life-defining attempt to climb the Devil's Thimb in Alaska as a young man and his later failed attempt to scale the Eiger face. Krakauer also failed in his attempt to climb Mount McKinley, but manages to say more with one of his defeats than other climbers do with their success.
Krakauer also proves himself to be a first rate reporter with his accounts of other mountaineering stories. Particularly good is his tale of John Gill, the man who practically invented "bouldering." Krakauer goes on to describe waterfall climbing, canyoneering and the horrors of being tent bound with his deft narrative touch. At 186 pages, and featuring his easily readable prose, the book is a delightful experience for those who like good adventure stories of the kind featured in Outside Magazine.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I got vertigo reading this November 9, 2003
Format:Paperback
I've read three of Krakauer's books including this one. Into Thin Air is eclipsed by Kenneth Kamler's Doctor On Everest, but Krakauer's own Under The Banner Of Heaven and Eiger Dreams are in a class by themselves. I have never had a fear of heights, but the stories in this book, particularly the one of his climb of the Devil's Thumb, a volcanic chimney in Alaska, lifting hundreds of feet into thin air is perhaps one of the most evocative pieces of writing I've ever read. If you are fascinated by mountins and the madmen and crazy women who climb them, this is your book. Either it will make you drop everything and head for the high remote places of the world, or render you at least sane enough to say, "I think I'll take my adventure in another way." Say in some weird polygamous community in southern Utah or northern Arizona. Krakauer knows mountains, and he knows how to take us with him, shaking, sweating and not daring look down, up a shear, icy face. This is great outdoor adventure writing. Highly recommended. wfh
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Collection of Stories......... October 25, 2000
Format:Paperback
I've read Into Thin Air and Into the Wild so when I picked up this book in the Seattle airport after getting off Mt. Rainier I was hoping it would be as good. I wasn't disappointed.
An excellent mix of both adventure and mountaineering stories, I finished this book in no time at all. What really strikes me is the life that Krakauer has been able to lead. I only wish I had had the time and direction to attempt half of what this guy has done and then be able to write so candidly about it.
This book is first rate. From the stories about canyons in the Southwest to excellent climbing stories that focus not only on the terrain, but the personalities along the way, make this book enjoyable cover to cover. The fact that climbers are such an interesting cross section of society is vividly expounded on in this book. You finish feeling you know these folks intimately or at least relate to just about everyone as a friend or contemporary.
Buy it.....read it. Then give it to a friend like I did. The Burgess Boys are worth the cost alone!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger October 6, 2000
By Willis
Format:Paperback
"I have fallen. I am dying. Please send help. Quickly!" Mountain climbing is on of the most dangerous sports in the world. This quote shows why in the book Eiger Dreams by Jon krakauer. This collection of memoirs is about adventures on mountains and the tragedies that occur on them everyday. This is a great collection of memoirs that are descriptive and very interesting. For instance, when he talks about he climbs, you actually feel like you're on the mountaiwith those brave sole. Even though there are one or two stories that are just boring, the rest of the stories are entertaining and keep you on the edge of your seat. For me, this book was a big page-turner. I wanted to read on from the first sentence to the last word. I occasionally drifted off, but I definitely wanted to figure what would happen next. If you like climbing, you will like this book. Another aspect this book excelled in was that it finished very strong. On every memoir that was recited, there was a good ending. They never left me hanging, and they connect to the memoir. The endings make a huge exclamation mark on an already great book. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. Even if you don't climb. It can have philosophical and physical significance for everyone. Like I said, there are some definite weak spots, but its worth reading through them. This book is typical Jon Krakauer, wonderful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... have read most of Jon Krakauer's books and have enjoyed them. This...
I have read most of Jon Krakauer's books and have enjoyed them. This was probably my least favorite however with that being said, I am always interested in reading books about... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars only one strong article
Only one good feature. The rest is fairly dissappointing.
Published 25 days ago by tune hein
5.0 out of 5 stars great writing, great stories
outstanding writing, gripping stories
Published 1 month ago by Ruta Sevo
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & haunting
Although I will never ever set foot or even toe on a mountain, those for whom climbing them is a compulsion fascinate me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vtyaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of his early writings on climbing
I'm a fan of the mountains and the mountains sports. The articles span the spectrum of climbing (various forms of rock climbing, ice climbing, alpine climbing) and his style of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike W
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable book for climbers
This is a fantastic book for anyone interested in climbing or trekking.
Published 1 month ago by Roger B. Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Krakauer's writing is excellent! I like the short story format
As in his other works, Krakauer's writing is excellent! I like the short story format, where you cannot get lost in a lengthy details. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eric Held
3.0 out of 5 stars Multiple stories of mountaineering victories and defeats.
Jon mixed some of his own experiences with a lot of other climbers and previously written articles to write a somewhat ragtag book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Susan Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another great read from Krakauer!
After reading Into Thin Air I needed more from Krakauer and Eiger Dreams did not disappoint.

Although it does not have the same intensity as Into Thin Air, with the one... Read more
Published 2 months ago by amont
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories about people who put their lives in peril
We read everything by Krakauer that we can get our hands on. We're always waiting for his next one. Great stories about people who put their lives in peril.
Published 3 months ago by Jane Austen
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More About the Author

Jon Krakauer grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, where his father introduced him to mountaineering as an 8-year-old. In 1999, upon presenting him with an Academy Award in Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters declared, "Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer. His account of an ascent of Mount Everest has led to a general reevaluation of climbing and of the commercialization of what was once a romantic, solitary sport; while his account of the life and death of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation after challenging the Alaskan wilderness, delves even more deeply and disturbingly into the fascination of nature and the devastating effects of its lure on a young and curious mind."

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