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Eiger: The Vertical Arena [Hardcover]

Daniel Anker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2000
No other mountain looms larger in mountaineering history and myth than the infamous Eiger. Though much has been written about this mountain, Eiger: The Vertical Arena is a refreshingly different history. It goes beyond the traditional classics by exploring what the Eiger means to more than just a single climber. Editor Daniel Anker has gathered the work of 17 different climbers with first-hand knowledge of the Eiger to offer both historical and personal perspectives about the mountain. Contributions range from Sylvain Jouty's stage-setting and incisive historical analysis of the attraction to the North Face to Charles Barrington's letter to his younger brother written in 1882, 24 years after the first ascent of the Eiger. Other sections consider the ethics of guiding, the effect of the North Face on the local population, as well as filming, skiing, and mountain rescues.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books; 1st English Language Ed edition (1 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898866790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898866797
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.9 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enthusiasts must 29 Jun 2009
Having managed to find an English print version of this book to borrow i started a 10 month search for my own copy. It contains some fantastic pictures and well written paragraphs from top moutaineers. Covers history of the Eiger from early assents to Hitlers interest in the north face and much more. Can be quite expensive if you find a copy but well worth the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. 29 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sold at a reasonable price for a book i have wanted for along time,other copys have been priced to high.Will shop with you again.Thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book contains some stunning illustrations 21 May 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on
The Eiger is a 3970 m mountain that looms above Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Its north face has been quite literally a ca. 2000 meter-high 'vertical arena'. Although the mountain itself was first climbed in 1858 by Charles Barrington, Christian Almer, and Peter Bohren, the north face ('Nordwand' in German) was not conquered until 1938 (when Heinrich Harrer, Anderl Heckmair, Fritz Kasparek, and Wiggerl Vörg were finally successful). In the early 1930s, it was deemed one of the 'last remaining problems' of the Alps and was truly a 'vertical area', as onlookers (including reporters who made sure the rest of the world was also able to vicariously participate) were able to follow the progress of several tragic expeditions from the comfort of the patio of a hotel on an easily-accessible meadow far below. Part of the great difficulty of the climb is that the wall's north-facing aspect means that it remains snow- and ice-covered year round. The rotten rock and ice that coats the Nordwand makes things even more complicated and afternoon rock avalanches are common and treacherous. The weather is also extremely unpredictable and changeable, a condition that is caused in part by the fact that the wall is part of the northern boundary of the Alps.
The combination of extremely challenging climbing conditions with high visibility has led to a century of high drama centered about the Eiger's north face and this book does an excellent job of summarizing many aspects of this highly notorious and celebrated mountain. The book consists of an eclectic collection of short chapters by different authors about different aspects of the Eiger (and not just the north face). Each chapter is named after one of the distinctive points along the first successful route, but tells a different aspect of the story. Chapters include descriptions of the varied routes, the myriad tragedies and dramatic rescues, the debates about the morality of even attempting to climb the mountain, the controversial politics of the first successful climbers (one of whom, Heinrich Harrer, carried a Nazi flag with him), a summary of the Eiger's appearances in books and the movies, tales of people who skied and snowboarded down the mountain, and the uniquely Swiss engineering feat that is the railway tunnel bored through the mountain and on up to the Jungfrau Joch. There is also a section at the end providing information for visitors (including suggestions for alternative walks and climbs in the area for those who would rather wear sandals or are otherwise not quite ready for the north face itself) and an extensive bibliography.
My favorite feature of the book is the fantastic and abundant illustrations that range from dramatic contemporary photographs to historical photographs to artwork of various sorts, all of which serve to nicely complement the text. I should mention, however, that the quality of the printing appears to be a bit worse in the English edition than in the German-language original, which probably will detract a bit from the impact of the pictures.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling reading 16 Nov 2002
By "gomezanker" - Published on
If you love the mountains, their glory, their beauty and deceit, then this is the one book you need to have. Not only does it read like a thriller at times, it also has some of the most fabulous mountain photographs one can imagine. And what better mountain than the fascinating Eiger is there? Well, maybe the Matterhorn... but it does not hold such climbing fascination as the treacherous wall of stunning Eiger. So if you plan a vacation in the Bernese Oberland or just want to play couch mountaineer, this is one hell of a book. Go for it!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This sure is purty 9 July 2012
By christopher zubris - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are other better books for history but this one is appealing to the eyes. Pic's at the start of each chapter were picked to stun the reader i think. If you're looking for a guide book or more of a technical manual this is not the book for you. Its a history book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic compilation of stories and pictures of the legendary Nordwand 20 Aug 2011
By BigI55 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great reference and gripping read for those who either are puzzled by why a "mere" 13,000 foot mountain remains one of the great challenges of mountaineering or those who already know why.
The pictures are encyclopedic and the articles gripping and informative (although the translation is often clumsy.) This used book (now considered a classic and hard to come by) is in very good condition and the delivery was very prompt. A very satisfactory transaction.
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