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The White Spider: The story of the North Face of the Eiger (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 17. Januar 2005

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

'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

Synopsis

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.

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Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Heinrich Harrer, author of 'Seven Years in Tibet' and one of the twentieth century's greatest mountaineers, was part of the team that finally conquered the Eiger's fearsome North Face in 1938. It was a landmark expedition that pitted the explorers against treacherous conditions and the limits of human endurance, and which many have since tried - and failed - to emulate. Armed with an intimate knowledge that comes only from first-hand experience of climbing the Eiger, Harrer gives a gripping account of physical daring and mental resilience. A new introduction by Joe Simpson, author of 'Touching the Void', confirms the lasting relevance of this true adventure classic.
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Format: Taschenbuch
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.
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Format: Taschenbuch
If you want to get drawn in by an incredible story, and at the same time get a history lesson about the world's most infamous North Face, this is the book for you.
Harrer's ability to put you on the mountain and suffer with bold climbers is incredible. Several attempts and a glorious first ascent make for a superb climax early in the book.
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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.
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Format: Taschenbuch
A book which I found fascinating and gripping, but which I also found disappointing in several ways. The author researched the Eiger exhaustively, and his accounts are filled with details which bring them alive.
But I have three complaints about the book. First, the author at times spent too long writing about the philosophical aspect of climbing, and climbing the Eiger in particular. Thus the books starts off slowly, but once he gets to the actual climb stories, it picks up nicely. Second, I think the translation from German is wretched. Numerous times I had to reread tortured convoluted sentences. (I blame this on the translator since "Seven Years in Tibet" doesn't have this problem.)
The biggest flaw, however, is that the accounts end in 1964. Much of interest has happened since then such as the diretissima attempts. The only mention of these are brief descriptions given in a time-line in an appendix.
Its flaws notwithstanding, I did enjoy the book and do recommend it, but would love another book describing in equal detail the history from 1964 to present.
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