HEINRICH HARRER WHITE SPIDER PDF

Obviously, I have no personal experience of the Eiger North Wall, while its history - and the book - is extremely familiar to all climbers. But finally, the other day, I happened to watch a film on TV that really got me "fired up": "The Beckoning Silence", a dramatized documentary of the second attempt to climb the North Wall in By , all the major peaks of the Alps had been climbed. Mountaineers sought new challenges: new routes, winter ascents, climbing solo. In particular, direct routes up the mountain faces, rather than the ridges, became popular among the experts.

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Well researched, beautifully described though a number of slightly strange choices of phrase, due probably to the Austrian author not writing in his mother tongue and incredibly thorough - for fans of adventure, outdoors and modern heroism ish this is a very important and interesting work.

I was slightly wearied by the nature of the book, however, not being a big mountain climber myself. In addition, the final quarter of the book contains a certain amount of bitterness associated with criticising the Italian survivor of a climbing disaster which killed three others. But I came away from it with far less appreciation that I had anticipated; the first few chapters are undeniably very compelling as Harrer outlines the early history of the Eiger attempts, the tragedies of climbers like Toni Kurz for example, and not to mention his own successful ascent which was the first ever.

Frequently Harrer repeats and insists that he is merely providing an objective eye and is leaving personal feelings aside, reviewing only the facts, but I fail to see how this is the case in his hypocritical and paradoxical praising of certain ascents and condemnation of others. Some people made successful attempts with poor equipment and were ill-equipped and are met with praise and admiration for their nerve and skill; others who had to retreat or were lost on the face in the same circumstances are held up as examples of failure, as lacking in forethought or too inexperienced.

Some parties who join together after meeting on the mountain he refers to as not being able to communicate linguistically at all: those that succeed in summiting subsequently are praised as being able to "talk the language of the mountain" and that was all that was needed, yet those that fail did so because they worked disharmoniously, struggled with the language barrier and should never have partnered in the first place.

These hypocrisies make this a rather frustrating and confusing read as a result, Harrer clearly attempting to put some salient points across regarding aptitude and ability and mental strength but only coming across as paradoxical. Similarly disappointingly, in the chapter of his own ascent he refers enormously to his climbing companions and their feats, especially Kasparek and Heckmair, but almost nothing of his own accomplishments.

Some sequences outline in magnificent detail the trials his partners overcame to pave their journey and he frequently concludes the passage with something like "and I quickly followed".

I really hoped he would have provided some first hand accounts of the event, describing his own encounters with the most difficult moments, but not so. Maybe this is just modesty, to me it almost felt like he was omitting it deliberately. Perhaps he felt like his contribution was not that significant?

This is just personal speculation. I just wish Harrer had written a little more tactfully and consistently, especially in regard to the performance of other climbers. Unfortunately, after that first success, it descends into what is effectively a series of vignettes and critiques of further climbs, some successful, some unsuccessful, and some disastrous. Subjectively though, if you want to read an excellent book about the North Face, and a book that is generally excellent irrespective of being about the North Face and mountaineering in general, go with the Simpson book instead.

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The White Spider

Well researched, beautifully described though a number of slightly strange choices of phrase, due probably to the Austrian author not writing in his mother tongue and incredibly thorough - for fans of adventure, outdoors and modern heroism ish this is a very important and interesting work. I was slightly wearied by the nature of the book, however, not being a big mountain climber myself. In addition, the final quarter of the book contains a certain amount of bitterness associated with criticising the Italian survivor of a climbing disaster which killed three others. But I came away from it with far less appreciation that I had anticipated; the first few chapters are undeniably very compelling as Harrer outlines the early history of the Eiger attempts, the tragedies of climbers like Toni Kurz for example, and not to mention his own successful ascent which was the first ever. Frequently Harrer repeats and insists that he is merely providing an objective eye and is leaving personal feelings aside, reviewing only the facts, but I fail to see how this is the case in his hypocritical and paradoxical praising of certain ascents and condemnation of others.

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[PDF] The White Spider Book by Heinrich Harrer Free Download (364 pages)

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