Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains
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Originally published in 1990 by the American publishers, Lyons and Burford, a collection of writings on mountaineering and the culture of climbing. It includes first-hand accounts of expeditions made by the author, who also wrote INTO THE WILD and INTO THIN AIR.
17,200 feet, intending to recover their cache, hang tough until the weather got better, and then make a dash for the top. But the storm, which grew worse that day, proved to be considerably more severe and of considerably longer duration than the Honeymooners had reckoned. Temperatures at 17,200 feet dropped to minus-fifty, and gale-force winds raked the peak almost without letup for more than a week, driving the wind chill well down into triple digits. Not only was climbing out of the question,
talk to me, share info about routes. But that's all you get. You still aren't invited over for dinner; you'll never be admitted to the inner circle. I'm not sure why; that's just the way it is." Most foreign climbers and skiers-the legions of Basques, Brits, Czechs, Poles, Germans, Swedes, Italians, Spaniards, Argentines, Americans, Koreans, Canadians, Australians, Norwegians, New Zealanders, Indians, and Japanese who flock to Chamonix annually-could care less about gaining entrance to
to the restaurant for a quick croque-monsieur, then board another lift for a ride across the heavily crevassed plain of the Vallee Blanche to the Italian frontier. From there, a short downhill walk takes me to my objective for the day, the north face of a peak called the Tour Ronde. Were this mountain in Alaska, where I have done much of my climbing, I might have spent three or four days laboring beneath an eighty-pound pack to arrive at this point from the Chamonix Valley. Because the peak is in
from a Sherpa friend warning me, `Nima Diki's looking a little big,' I thought, `Oh fuck, what am I going to do?' But when I got over there and saw the little guy, I stopped worrying." It remains to be seen whether the arrival of the child, named Dawa, will finally bring Alan's protracted adolescence to a closeas he prepares to enter his fifth decade-and actually usher him into the world of adult responsibility. He has, however, been overheard mulling over such adult-sounding dilemmas as whether
unofficial title as the world's greatest high-altitude alpinist. When he arrived at the base of K2, Kukuczka was nipping at Messner's heels in the race to climb all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks; he had already bagged ten of them, an accomplishment that was especially impressive considering the expense of mounting Himalayan expeditions and the pathetic rate of exchange for Polish zlotys. To fund their expeditions, Kukuczka and his Polish comrades had been routinely forced to smuggle vodka, rugs,