An adventure book that truly has everything: survival, rock climbing, canyoneering, crazy glacier pilots and more. Eiger Dreams may lack the intensity of Krakauer’s other books, Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, but it makes up for it with a massive variety of adventure stories and easy to read tales. The stories often take on a somewhat comical tone that gives them a very real world feel.
I was a bit deceived with the title of the book. I went into thinking that it would be solely about climbing the extremely difficult Eiger, but Eiger Dreams is instead a compilation of stories that Krakauer had previously written as articles. This made for some quick reading and straight to the point stories. The downside being that I often wished for a little more depth and wanted to know more.
As I said before there is a huge variety of stories and below is a general summary of what the book contains.
- A look at Krakauer’s attempt on the Eiger.
- A fascinating account of what is called bouldering, where the world’s best climbs nearly impossible chunks of rock.
- Break out the crampons it is time for ice climbing the waterfalls of Valdez, Alaska.
- The tortures of being tent bound in the mountains and what climbers attempt to do to keep from going insane.
- Take a trip with the unbelievably skilled and unflappable glacier pilots of Alaska.
- The author’s and others troubles mountain climbing Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali.
- History of climbing in and around Chamonix, France as well as the author’s own experience rock climbing in the area.
- A fascinating look at the often unheard of but very cool adventure sport called canyoneering.
- Could there be a mountain higher than Everest? This section is an interesting look at past explorers that though so and what they did to try to find out.
- Twins that mountain climb together take us on a fascinating journey of their adventures.
- The dangers and consequences of climbing the unforgiving second highest mountain in the world, K2.
- The author takes a crack at the extremely difficult Devil’s Thumb early on in his life.
Eiger Dreams is a fairly short book at 186 pages, but it in no way lacks interesting adventure stories. It is somewhat of a best of the best when it comes to Krakauer’s magazine articles and because of this they are all fascinating reads. If there is a problem it is probably the lack of character depth and the resulting lack of intensity. However, this book is written in a much lighter tone than most mountaineering books and is both meant to be that way and is enjoyable because of it. I would recommend this to any fan of adventure, whether it is rock climbing, mountain, climbing, or just outdoor sports in general.