THE A5 BOOK REVIEW
One of the classic mountaineering books, The White Spider, was written by Heinrich Harrer, describing the deadly history and the first successful ascent of the Eiger’s north face, also called the mordwand or death wall. The "White Spider" in the Swiss Alps is so described because of a steep spider-shaped ice field high on the mountain that must be navigated to reach the summit. Harrer himself was on the team that made the first successful climb in 1938, and the story of their harrowing adventure is worth reading. Harrer also describes several of the previous disasters, including a failed 1936 tragedy in which four climbers died and a catastrophe in 1957 where two Italians and two Germans (three of whom died) were stuck for 8 nights bivouacking on the wall of the mountain. There is some controversy around that story, and Harrer’s description is no longer considered historically accurate.
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ABOUT HEINRICH HARRER
"Yes, we had made and excursion into another world and we had come back, but we had brought the joy of life and of humanity back with us. In the rush and whirl of everyday things, we so often live alongside one another without making any mutual contact. We had learned on the North Face of the Eiger that men are good, and the earth on which we were born is good."
- Heinrich Harrer, The White Spider
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EIGER'S NORTH FACE
Photo Credit: By Terra3 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
MAP OF THE EIGER