Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today I Am Reading . . .

Ever wonder why men climb mountains?  One may ask but will never understand the answer until one walks out the front door. One is not required to scale a vertical face or endure any measure of harsh condition. But to go a distance, to step up a slope, to drop down into a valley, to chase an elusive peak that, no matter how close one gets, seems to retreat from being touched--an experience will answer the question. This is what Krakauer does. He does not answer the question as to why a "normal person" climbs a mountain, but he does show the reader--from a safe distance.

The Eiger's North Face
The book takes it's title from The Eiger ("The Ogre"), a 13,000 foot peak in the Swiss Alps. The "Morwand" (The Murderous Wall) is the northern wall (The "Norwand"), a 6,000 foot sheer face of rock and ice that has claimed the lives of more than sixty climbers since the first recorded ascent in the 1930's. Krakauer not only guides the reader up grandeur such as The Eiger, Denali, K2, Devil's Thumb "and leads us back safely" (as one reviewer described) but he also introduces us to the brave climbers who have done the same.

Devil's Thumb
Having climbed a few slopes, forged a few streams, made a few passes and topped a few peaks in Colorado, New Mexico and North Carolina, this book feeds my appetite to get outside again, hike, climb, thirst, get hungry, get wet, cold, hot--to stand at the top with the feeling of accomplishment! Guess you have to be there. This book only feeds the fire.

It's been a while, but I'm sure Mt. Mitchell has grown a couple inches since I was last there . . .

Krakauer, Jon. Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains.  Krakauer: Lyons & Burford, 1990. 

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