I first comment on John Harlin III’s new book The Eiger Obsession a week or two back when there was an excerpt from the book on Outside Online. Now, GreatOutdoors.com is getting in on the action with a brief introduction to the book as well as the IMAX film that acts as a companion to it. You’ll also find two audio interviews with Harlin as he discusses what The Eiger, and climbing it means to him.
For those who don’t know, Harlin’s father, John Harlin II, was one of the great climbers in the Alps druing the late 50’s and early 60’s. He put up new routes on a number of faces, and was as well known for his climbing as his “movie star” good looks. John Harlin II had a fixation on putting up a route on the Eiger that became known ad the Eiger Direct, which was essentially climbing a line straight to the top instead of winding all over the face as the Classic Route does. While attempting just such a route, with climbing legends Dougal Haston and Chris Bonnington no less, he lost his life. The team ultimately completed the climb, but he was not there to see it. Since then, John Harlin III has always had the shadow of the Eiger looming over him, and he knw that eventually he would have to climb it. The book follows him through that climb.
I’m currently reading the book and hope to have a review up within the next week. As I’m currenlty halfway through it however, I can safely say that it’s a great read with a nice mix of biography for Harlin’s father as well as well as his own struggles on the Eiger as he faces those demons of the mountain that killed his father. Good stuff.