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Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  9,789 ratings  ·  355 reviews
No one writes about mountaineering and its attendant victories and hardships more brilliantly than Jon Krakauer. In this collection of his finest essays and reporting, Krakauer writes of mountains from the memorable perspective of one who has himself struggled with solo madness to scale Alaska's notorious Devils Thumb.

In Pakistan, the fearsome K2 kills thirteen of the wor...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published May 19th 1997 by Anchor (first published 1990)
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Into Thin Air by Jon KrakauerA Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerThe Call of the Wild by Jack LondonKon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
Tales of Adventure
51st out of 285 books — 308 voters
Into Thin Air by Jon KrakauerTouching My Father's Soul by Jamling Tenzing NorgayGhosts of Everest by Jochen HemmlebInto the Silence by Wade DavisTenzing by Ed Douglas
Mount Everest
5th out of 40 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes
Before the recognition he received for Into the Wild and Into the Mist, Jon Krakauer was a serious outdoors type, writing about other serious outdoors types. In this collection of essays, Krakauer relates several stories of his personal adventures, one about a youthful, and maybe foolish venture to a particularly difficult climb in Alaska, another about his attempt at Eiger. And these are quite good. But I most enjoy Krakauer when he writes about the Damon-Runyon-esque characters who inhabit the...more
I came to each of Krakauer's works independently- I read "Into the Wild" first on a recommendation, and years later I read "Into Thin Air" because someone told me it would be a good insight into the effects of altitude (as I prepared to climb Kilimanjaro, a mild but high peak). Finally, I found this collection of essays and realized that somehow I'd read the final essay somewhere before, once.

I can understand why some people think that Krakauer is a selfish bastard at times, because the very ac...more
In a previous book I had read by Krakauer "Into Thin Air"---about mountain climbing-- there was a quote that has stuck with me. One of the Everest mountaineers who chose not to try and help a climber (who subsequently died from being left behind) said this to justify his actions:
"There is no morality above 26,000 feet".

I had one foray into mountain climbing. It was 1998 and myself and two friends, Kevin and Lacey, were going to attempt the '14er' called Longs Peak. Out of all of the 14,000 foot...more
Sundeep Supertramp
Indeed, Jon Krakauer is the master of the literature of Adventure...

I always hated literature. They are always boring. But Jon has his way in literature. It is completely impossible for me to write so many worlds about a mountain. A mountain is a mountain for me. But for Jon, it is more like a book of worlds. I am damn sure that make him walk a tiny hill, in the outskirts of your town and he could write a book about it. That too, very interesting one. Hats off to him.

About this book:-

The descrip...more
What a page turner! And also the perfect book to drag along rock climbing or on a hike, which is what I did. I sat on a boulder and devoured this book until it was my turn to climb or belay.

Krakauer’s narrative style is simple and straight forward but still evocative in its description of nature because he doesn’t add anything superfluous, and that’s as it should be- K2, Eiger, Chamoix, etc., do not favor the superfluous, and they certainly don’t need anyone to dress up their reputations. He dr...more
Apr 02, 2009 Moe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Although I enjoyed this collection immensely, the writing wasn't Krakauer's strongest -- in fact, I'd label it his weakest effort to date when compared with Into the Wild and Into Thin Air. With the exception of the last piece, "Devil's Thumb," the book was composed entirely of clipped magazine articles. And it showed.

Complaints aside, however, the book was wonderful and showed a humanity that I haven't often found in other climbing/mountaineering/alpinist books. Reading it reminded me how much...more
I read Eiger Dreams many years after Into Thin Air, which detailed the tragedy on Everest in 1996. Eiger Dreams is a compendium of magazine articles Krakauer wrote in the 80s. I always wondered how Krakauer could be such a selfish, cowardly, and ultimately detestable human being, as he admits being near the summit of Everest, as he cowers safely in his tent after his own successful summiting, while others freeze to death in a blizzard on the mountaintop.

Well, now I know. Krakauer has always been...more
Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams is a love story. It may not look or sound like a love story at first blush. But it is. It’s a love story between humans and “high altitude adventures” – some of which may be best reserved for the seriously unhinged.

No book on "high altitude adventures" would be complete without a chapter on Mount Everest. Krakauer delivers, carefully chronicling the perils of trying to conquer “one of the largest landforms on the planet,” with a summit standing more than 17,000 vertic...more
Krakauer knows mountains and he knows climbing, personally. What he gives us in this collection of articles, memoirs, and musings helps a non-climber, like me, come closer to figuring out why these guys and gals are willing to risk their lives on a rock face.

Those who have read his later works, including Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, will find some of this territory familiar. I, too, came to Eiger Dreams well after having other Krakauer works under my belt. Yet, his early storytelling techniq...more
An interesting set of mountaineering tales

Eiger Dreams is a collated set of articles and tales written by the author. The stories explore a wide-range of mountaineering-related disciplines from climbs in the Himalayan high-mountains to complex low-height bouldering.

This is an enjoyable book that has some real standout tales that most non-climbers would never hear about; just a few of the stories I'd recommend are 'Gill', The Flyboys, Club Denali, Chamonix and The Devil's Thumb.

Krakauer's writing...more
More adventures on the mountain from Mr. Krakauer. This book was a series of short stories about various climbs. I think the Snow Country review on the back cover sums it up pretty well, "Krakauer's rarest and most enviable skill is his ability to make himself unseen, so the stories unwind as though the reader were front-pointing up a Himalayan serac or hanging by a nubbin in an Arizona canyon."

There were a couple of quotes I liked as people tried to explain the allure of mountain climbing. I th...more
I haven't climbed any mountains. I have hiked the Grand Canyon, but that was climbing down, not up. I don't like heights. In fact, one time, my family and I went up some mountain on one of those cable car things. My hands were sweating so badly that the cover of the book I was reading came off the book. And it was the first time I was reading the book.

So I'm not a mountain climber.

Yet, I like reading Jon Krakauer. He makes you cold when he talks about the mountians. He really does. This book is...more
I enjoyed this book and its many harrowing tales of mountain climbing. While I can't see what these men and women find so alluring in this sport, I certainly can admire them for putting their lives on the line making these climbs. Mr Krakauer makes the telling of this story of the legends of mountain climbing very interesting and frightening for both these people and the mountains he himself has climbed. This is certainly more than a sport for most. It is more like an addiction and as in most ad...more
Lukasz Pruski
Genetic lottery gifted me with an extreme lack of motor coordination and a case of vertigo, thus I have not become a mountain climber. Yet I love hiking in the mountains and reading about extreme climbing. I have just finished Jon Krakauer's "Eiger Dreams" (1990), and one of the stories in this book is particularly moving. In late 1970s and early 1980s I used to be friends with Dobroslawa "Mrowka" Wolf (I worked in the same room of a research institute with her husband, Jan Wolf, also a world-cl...more
Kyle Ohlsen
Eiger Dreams Book Review

Eiger Dreams was written by Jon Krakauer in 1990. The book was published by Dell publishing, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. It is a non- fiction book about the “Ventures Among Men And Mountains.” (Cover). The book touches on the reasons why men go to extremes to climb mountains.

Eiger Dreams is an accumulation of stories of men climbing mountains. The book takes place in Pakistan on K2, in Valdez, Alaska, Mount Blanc in France, the Eiger in Germ...more
Laura Brown
Jon Krakauer's 1990 collection of essays is a great dive into the forays and triumphs of rock climbing. After every essay, I wanted to quit my job, buy some hiking boots, and climb a mountain. Excellent read for those stuck on long public transit commutes. ;-)

I first discovered Krakauer with Under the Banner of Heaven, and have subsequently read all of his work; I particularly liked Eiger Dreams for it's autobiographical touches, though Krakauer does a great job of hiding his presence when he te...more
If you like mountain climbing or if you just like reading about people pushing their limitations, this collection of stories is for you. This is a compilation of previously published articles that is just as much philosophy as it is mountaineering.
Ironman Ninetytwo
Nobody writes about mountaineering like Krakauer. It almost makes me want to head to Alaska and climb some beautiful hard icy terrain. But then I realize I'd hate that and probably die in the process. So only almost.
Katie Cross
Jon Krakauer brought around another great book.

The short story element of this book was part of the appeal. He covers a lot of different climbing aspects in one book, telling the stories that everyone wants to hear but hasn't yet heard. Krakauer definitely has his own literary voice, and it comes through here. While it's not as gripping as Into Thin Air, mostly because you don't invest as much into each short story, I was no less motivated to read. The most fascinating story of all of them was o...more
Krakauer is a master craftsman. In fact, he's one of the few outdoor pursuit authors who is really skilled in writing and editing. I imagined this was going to be a book about the Eiger, but it isn't - it's a collection of Krakauer's essays (many were once magazine articles). He writes on the myriad branches of climbing, and although at times the language can seem overly simplified, I was secretly thankful for it when he explained ice climbing terminology I've long pretended to understand. Despi...more
Feb 03, 2013 Kate added it
Shelves: adventuring
At any point over the past two weeks when I had a spare moment, I could be found gripping this book with wide eyes and a racing pulse. I'm something of an armchair mountaineer, getting completely wrapped up in the danger, exhilaration, and tragedies inherent to climbing mountains. Like many forms of excitement, it's addictive. As Krakauer comments about one climber's impassioned views, "You have to remind yourself that he is talking about a sport and not a substance abuse problem."

The lure of th...more
Now why would someone who generally hates cold weather and snow become so intrigued by books and videos about mountaineering? I was fooling around with my IPODs (have one of each generation being an addict to electronic devices) that plays video and just for laughs downloaded The Discovery Channel's Everest series from iTunes and watched it on my little iPod. Clarity and resolution are astonishing.

That got me back into Eiger Dreams. It's outstanding. I had already read Into Thin Air and Into th...more
The Young Urban Unprofessional
You can also check out my review on my blog: The Young Urban Unprofessional - A Series of 30 Day Life Experiments.

I decided to read this short story in order to bring some adventure into the mix of this month’s selection of short stories. The first time I heard this story was in my junior year of college while riding up to NH in a blizzard with a car full of guys ready to go ice climbing for winter break. It was a very fitting scenario to hear Jon Krakaue...more
Erwin Maack
"Gosto de encontrar uma pedra que nunca tenha sido escalada, gosto de observar e chegar a descobrir um padrão de pontos de apoio na superfície dessa pedra, para sem seguida escalá-la. É claro que quanto mais obscuro esse padrão, quando mais difícil a aparência da pedra, maior a satisfação obtida. Há algo ali que talvez seja possível criar se usarmos a inteligência e a intuição para chegar ao salto quântico de que falo. Importante é descobrir que a gente não encontra o caminho certo na escalada d...more
Ray Minjares
This first book by Jon Krakauer is mostly a compilation of some of his best magazine articles. Most articles are profiles of famous climbers or retellings of deadly climbing attempts. Among the most harrowing are his stories of disastrous attempts to climb Mt. McKinley or k2. Krakauer re tells his own narrowly successful attempt to climb the Devil's thumb in Alaska. We learn about the incredible risk to life and limb that countless individuals have taken simply to claim mountain summits. We have...more
Interesting read. I have absolutely no desire what-so-ever to climb a mountain. ESPECIALLY the ones that are high altitude and in freezing, sub-zero weather.

"Before they'll let you climb Mt. McKinley, the rangers who oversee mountaineering in Denali National Park make you sit through a tape and slide presentation depicting the perils of venturing onto the highest mountain in North America, in much the same way that the army, before granting off-base passes to new recruits, shows them films depic...more
This book is a collection of articles written by Jon Krakauer in 80s for various magazines. If you don't know a thing about mountaineering, it will give you quite some insights on different aspects of the sport.

Besides his depth of knowledge on the topic that comes from his long and eventful experience, he is a wonderful writer. I enjoyed reading the book. As the chapters are on different topics from famous/infamous peaks to famous/infamous mountaineers, it shares different experiences and event...more
collection of essays and magazine articles about mountain climbing (sometimes his own, as in excellent piece on solo ascent of Devil's Thumb in Alaska at age of 23; but mostly about others). Great piece on a year at K2 that saw particularly high casualty rate, another about a pair of British twin climbers and the lifestyles they adopted in support of their climbing habits, and so on.

Obviously, the subject matter is inherently exciting and suspenseful, but from reading a decent number of such boo...more
Perrin Pring
I've had this book for years, but never managed to pick it up. I'm glad I finally got around to it. A collection of essays by Krakauer, a distinguished mountaineer in his own right, Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men is a great look into the developing world of extreme mountain sports during the 1960's-1980's. Composed of 12 separate essays, the book covers the history of mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, areal glacial landings and more. I couldn't put this book down.

Most of these essa...more
An excellent collection of Jon Kraukauer's magazine stories. I get a kick of his descriptions of the climbing/mountaineering subculture and all its bravado and bravery, its strange mix of hedonism and asceticism.

If you enjoy travel writing, this books takes you the ends of the earth and everywhere climb-worthy in between: Nepal, Tibet, China, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, France, Switzerland.

But to digress a little, have you ever heard of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? It occurs when you learn so...more
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

More about Jon Krakauer...
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“Most climbers aren't in fact deranged, they're just infected with a particularly virulent strain of the Human Condition.” 23 likes
“One of the differences between us was that Marc wanted very badly to climb the Eiger, while I wanted very badly only to have climbed the Eiger. Marc, understand, is at that age when the pituitary secretes an overabundance of those hormones that mask the subtler emotions, such as fear. He tends to confuse things like life-or-death climbing with fun.” 3 likes
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