LFTOer Book Review: The Eiger Obsession

Book Title: The Eiger Obsession - Facing the Mountain that Killed my Father
Book Author: John Harlin
Book Publisher: Arrow Books (Paperback)
ISBN Number: 978-0-099-52514-1
Price: �8.99

Review by Chris Holifield (Gizouki)

This is the story of two men called John Harlin, father and son.

John Harlin II was the charismatic �blond god� of 1960s climbing, a man driven by an inability to accept failure, who died when a rope broke as he attempted the unclimbed �direct� route up the North Face of the Eiger when his son was only nine years old.

In this beautifully written book, the son, John Harlin III, tells the story of his father's life and death, and of his own childhood growing up in a world where home could be a tent or a Swiss chalet and where names like Bonnington and Haston are a part of everyday life.

He also writes vividly of his life after the death of his father and of own adventures on his journey into adulthood.

Where the father refused to compromise his own ambitions and lofty ideals, the son takes a more pragmatic and thoughtful path - choosing a life of adventure but not allowing it to dominate him to the detriment of his relationships with those he loves.

�I can only pretend that this pursuit is irresistible, that what I get out of it is worth the risk I place upon others� he writes while musing on the �selfish, foolish, absurd and potentially destructive� activity that is mountaineering.

Yet still he chooses to climb, eventually facing the mountain which killed his father but doing it in his own way.

This is a book for anyone who loves mountains - climbers and non climbers alike.

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