Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer

Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer has summited some of the highest peaks in the world. He has a lot of stories of heroism and tragedy. This book is a compilation of articles that Krakauer has written about his experiences (mostly in Alaska) and the tales of others in the climbing world. Not all of these pieces are incredibly interesting, however there were two that I really enjoyed.

The first was about ice climbing and specifically climbing waterfalls in Alaska that have frozen for the winter. Putting your trust in ice to hold your weight and travelling a thousand feet straight up is something else. There is a yearly expedition in Alaska for ice climbers where they attempt to climb different frozen waterfalls. Krakauer participated in this and explains what it was like.

The other interesting article was about canyoneering in the south western states. This involves hiking, rock climbing, and wading through water. Krakauer's guide tells him that there are many places in the south western states that haven't been set foot on by people at all. It sounds like it would be an amazing experience.

That being said, I felt kind of ripped off by this book. Krakauer didn't take time out to write anything specifically for this book, but rather just took magazine articles that he's already written, put them into book format, and re-sold it to make more money. Sure it reaches a different market (like me, I don't buy the type of magazines that he writes in), but it would have been nice for some original content.

First Line: "In the early moments of The Eiger Sanction, Clint Eastwood saunters into the dimly lit headquarters of C-2 to find out who he is supposed to assassinate next."




Jeane said...

I remember in Into the Wild he included a whole chapter of a climbing experience he had, but now I can't remember which mountain. I wonder if it's included in this book as well?

I had no idea people climbed frozen waterfalls. That sounds very, very scary to me.

Lauren said...

He's climbed a whole bunch of mountains, including the Everest and I think McKinley (though I'm not sure about that one).