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Eiger Dreams

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  21,661 ratings  ·  817 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
Published July 5th 2000 by Random House Audio (first published 1990)
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Will Byrnes
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before the recognition he received for Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, 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
David Rubenstein
This is a wonderful collection of essays about mountain climbing. I greatly enjoyed Krakauer's book, Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster, and Eiger Dreams is just as good. Each chapter is an essay on some facet of mountain climbing. The first chapter is about climbing the Eiger. Other chapters are about climbing Mount Blanc and K2. Another chapter is about bouldering, and another is about the experiences of a bush pilot in Alaska, transporting mountain climbers to a g ...more
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Maria V. Snyder
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite having been to Mt. Everest base camp on the Tibetan side, I'm an armchair mountain climber. I enjoyed seeing the mountain and taking pictures, but was quite happy to get back to the hotel and climb into my warm bed. However, I love stories about mountain climbing and what people will do to get to the top. I admire their perseverance and courage - I watched the movie Free Solo two times! And I marvel over the dangers they face and sometimes the sheer stupidity - like going on a climb with ...more
⬥ Chris ⬥
Nov 26, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
I am a big fan of Jon Krakauer's other books, so I thought I would give his collection of essays on mountaineering a go. Each chapter encompasses an array of fascinating stories of the brave souls who attempt to climb peaks of dizzying heights. I was surprised to find a good collection of stories on pilots who drop off climbers, people who boulder, canyoneers, and how mountains are measured. 

I like the fact that each chapter is filled with details but is accessible as well. It has humor, heartbr
Matthew Mckinney
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Krakauer. These essays are somewhat dated, but still interesting and delivered in his inimitable style. The was the last book fo his I had not already read, and while it ranks near the bottom as far as favorites because of the datedness and form, I'm glad I read it and I hope he is working on his next. ...more
Mar 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Ehlers
After Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air made him writer-famous, his publisher started pushing this essay collection, originally published in 1990, for readers who couldn't get enough of Krakauer's tales of mountains and the people who (attempt to) climb them. However, a lot of those readers, like me, were probably somewhat let down by this early effort, which consists largely of pieces Krakauer wrote for Outside magazine. The articles describing various mountains and mountain towns were educational, ...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
Jan 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, Krakauer captures life-long dreams, defeats, and death-defying adventures in a few short pages. No one makes me simultaneously want to summit a mountain more or less.
Sundeep Supertramp
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pikachu
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
Peter Tillman
A collection of magazine essays from 1982 to 1989, plus one original, all new to me and all worth reading. Even if a couple are pretty grim. They hold up well, 30+ years on. Highly recommended: 4+ stars.

Krakauer is an amazingly good storyteller. I hadn’t realized that he caught the mountaineering bug after college, scaling back after he had some scary near-misses, saw some friends die, and got married. An insanely risky sport! But fun (mostly) to read about.

Highlights & quotes:
Here's legendary m
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book Oct 26, 2013. Following is my review.
This book has exciting stories of mountain/rock climbers all over the world. The first few had me on the edge of my seat. After that, however, the stories got old.

The second time was Oct.20, 2017. Following is my review.
The men and women in these short stories are ADDICTED to mountain climbing. Each story is about somebody’s insane desire to climb a mountain and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to achieve that dream. Eac
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon Krakauer is one of my very favorite nonfiction writers. If you haven't read any of his books, then you must read either Into the Wild or Into Thin Air (don't start with this one). This book is somewhat similar to the latter, in that it deals with mountain climbing, but this is a collection of shorter pieces he published in magazines, whereas Into Thin Air tells the story of a particularly deadly season on Mount Everest. I am one of those people who cannot imagine wanting to summit Everest, w ...more
Alexander Patino
So I approached this book thinking - I climb, I'm obsessed with mountains and Jon Krakauer is great, this should be fun. In the end I was like WHY AREN'T ALL OF THESE STORIES MOVIES!?!?!?! Seriously - every single story in here is just really fantastic. The most satisfying collection of essays I've read in quite a while. ...more
Mar 15, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up

Some great essays in here - I thought the ones on Denali and K2 were particularly well done - and if Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster left you hankering for more Krakauer climbing/mountain writing then this collection of essays written for Outside magazine in the mid/late 80s might just hit the spot.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon Krakauer’s writing was very good. I think the best stories were around the author’s firsthand experiences climbing - the first and last chapters of the book especially. I really liked the last story, where Krakauer not only describes his experience summiting the Devil’s Thumb but also the aftermath. His descriptions of what was going through his head at different points as the situation became more dire were fascinating. The weakest stories for me were the ones that just centered around othe ...more
Jul 08, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories were really exciting, some of them… bored me slightly. Regardless of that, I admire the unique character of Krakauer’s writing and I hope I get to experience more of his works.
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
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
Terry Tyler
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eiger Dreams is a terrific collection of (mostly) previously published articles by mountaineering maestro, outdoorsman and internationally acclaimed writer Jon Krakauer.

I loved every one of these, there's not one single weak one. He writes about the summer when thirteen experienced climbers were killed on K2, about the glacier pilots of Talkeetna in Alaska who fly the climbers out to base camps under (a very risky business to be in!), and about the snobbery amongst the European mountaineering c
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”It is natural in any sport to seek ever-greater challenges; what is to be made of a sport in which to do so also means taking ever-greater risks? Should a civilized society continue to condone, much less celebrate, an activity in which there appears to be a growing acceptance of death as a likely outcome?”

As a casual climber of tall things, I often turn around. And while I frequently feel disappointed about a thwarted attempt to reach a goal, I’ve never regretted these choices. Many of the myth
As always, love Jon Krakauer. Krakauer at his worst is better than 95S% of journalists and writers out there. I read this book while traveling in Switzerland and viewing the majestic Eiger myself, so that certainly helped me to understand the kind of dreamy romance Krakauer has toward climbing the largest mountains. It was clear that this was an early book of his and that he has honed his writing significantly since then--his groupie, fan-girl attitude toward climbers in this book is something t ...more
Robert Stribley
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read most of what Krakaeur has written and he never disappoints. In this case, his early writing (mostly from the 80s, magazines like Outside, where he made his name and Smithsonian) focuses primarily on mountain climbing, as well as rock climbing and canyoneering. The first book I ever read of his was Into Thin Air, where his writing of real life events read almost like horror, not due to any sensationalism on his part, but due to his crisp, searingly honest portrayal of what went down the ...more
A.S. Bond
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for Xmas from my husband as I really enjoy Krakauer's work. This one didn't disappoint. It is a collection of previously published articles for American magazines such as 'Outside', but as I hadn't read those, that wasn't an issue. Most do date from the 1990's, but apart from 'recent developments in climbing' type comments this didn't detract from the book at all. As ever, his work is vivd, engaging and thoroughly readable and this collection contains several stories that we ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
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
Ashish Dasnurkar
Fantastic stories of mountain climbing. armchair climber in me enjoyed this book a lot.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eiger Dreams is one of Krakauer's earlier books. It's a slim volume that includes essays about climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, boulder climbing. Why do people do this madness? Because they can. Granted, there are some who really shouldn't. They are reckless and ill-prepared and they put their lives and others at risk. Those who have everything squared away and are in shape to do this very physical activity, usually come away with an extraordinary experience. However, weather at these craz ...more
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

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