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THE EIGER OBSESSION: FACING THE MOUNTAIN THAT KILLED MY FATHER John Harlin 2007 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine Multiple Copies Available [Not Signed]
By Harlin, John III
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Detailed Product Description

New York, 2007, 1st edition. 292 pp, b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine condition with remainder mark on top or bottom edge.

Winner of the Banff Mountain Festival Mountain History Prize 2007.

In the 1960s an American named John Harlin II changed the face of Alpine climbing. Gutsy and gorgeous - he was known as 'the blond god' - Harlin successfully summited some of the most treacherous mountains in Europe. But it was the north face of the Eiger that became Harlin's obsession. Living with his wife and two children in Leysin, Switzerland, he spent countless hours planning to climb, waiting to climb, and attempting to climb the massive vertical face. It was the Eiger direct, the direttissima, with which John Harlin was particularly obsessed. He wanted to be the first to complete it, and everyone in the Alpine world knew it.

John Harlin III was nine years old when his father made another attempt on a direct ascent of the notorious Eiger. Harlin had put together a terrific team, including Layton Kor, Dougal Haston and Chris Bonington, and despite unending storms, he was poised for the summit dash. It was the moment he had long waited for. When Harlin's rope broke, 2,000 feet from the summit, he plummeted 4,000 feet to his death. In the shadow of tragedy, young John Harlin III came of age possessed with the very same passion for risk that drove his father. But he had also promised his mother, a beautiful and brilliant young widow, that he would not be an Alpine climber.

Harlin moved from Europe to America, and, with an insatiable sense of wanderlust, he reveled in downhill skiing and rock-climbing. For years he successfully denied the clarion call of the mountain that killed his father. But in 2005, John Harlin could resist no longer. With his nine-year-old daughter, Siena - his very age at the time of his father's death - and with an IMAX Theatre film making crew watching, Harlin set off to slay the Eiger. This is an unforgettable story about fathers and sons, climbers and mountains, and dreamers who dare to challenge the earth.

There is a companion IMAX film called The Alps that was filmed during Harlin III's Eiger ascent. 

This movie description is from the IMAX website:

"In a bold attempt to make climbing history and reconnect with the memory of his father, John Harlin III, son of mountaineering legend John Harlin II, has successfully reached the summit of the infamous Eiger North Face in the Swiss Alps, forty years after the same mountain claimed the life of his famous father. With him were renowned European climbers Robert and Daniela Jasper. The team summited on September 24 after a climb that lasted three days, with two nights spent bivouacked on narrow ledges high on the sheer face of the mountain.

'The Eiger North Face is considered the most treacherous climb in all of Europe with its dangerously exposed 6,000-foot vertical wall of jagged limestone made more perilous by the constant threat of falling boulders, avalanches and unpredictable weather patterns. Scores of climbers have tempted fate on the Eiger’s craggy slopes, and more than fifty have lost their lives on the mountain.

'John Harlin III was nine years old when his father, aged 30, fell 4,000 feet to his death while attempting the first “direct” route up the Eiger in 1966. A climbing legend even at that relatively young age, Harlin II was already as identified with the Eiger as Mallory with Everest or Whymper with the Matterhorn. John Harlin II was the first American to scale the mountain’s infamous North Face in 1962, and finally, in 1966 after many more attempts, he became the leader of the climbing team that, despite his death, would eventually become the first to ascend the now-celebrated “Eiger Direct,” otherwise known as “The John Harlin Route,” which leads almost straight up the North Face of the Eiger from base to summit.

“I am relieved, after so many years, to have finally made my peace with the Eiger,” said Harlin, aged 50. “This climb is something I’ve needed to do for a long time. The Eiger has cast a shadow over my family for decades, and while this climb does not change the fact of my father’s death, it allows me personally to close a significant chapter in my life. The Jaspers were great climbing partners and have become great friends; I’m thrilled to have made this climb with them.”

'John Harlin’s family history is incredibly rich and emotional,” said producer Greg MacGillivray. “It’s a story of human endeavor and physical endurance, of great beauty and great tragedy, of the forces that can drive an individual to risk everything to climb a mountain, and the sense of personal accomplishment that comes with that. John and the Jaspers made a great climbing team and we congratulate them on the success of their climb.”

'Working under extreme conditions, the filmmaking team faced daunting physical and logistical challenges as they worked to capture footage of the climb with a cold-weather ready IMAX camera and videocam. In addition to filming on the Eiger, the crew also filmed scenes at the Matterhorn, the most famous mountain in the world. The film crew will return to the Matterhorn in March 2006 to shoot sequences on skiing and avalanche control.

“We've never attempted a more challenging shoot than this,' said director, Stephen Judson, who was at Base Camp during MacGillivray Freeman’s Everest shoot. 'Mount Everest is much higher in elevation but it can't begin to compare to the Eiger in terms of technical difficulty. This massive vertical wall of rock looms over a mile high—the tallest, stormiest cliff face in Europe—and has long been feared as the most extreme climb in the Alps. But we had a superb climbing team, and they successfully captured gripping footage of this harrowing ascent. It’s going to put the audience right there in the heart of this exciting and emotional story."

A film that invites audiences to celebrate the timeless beauty and unique culture of the Alps while experiencing this exciting climb side by side with John Harlin and the Jaspers, The Alps: Giants of Nature (www.alpsfilm.com) is a Great Adventure Film® produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films Distribution Company.

More About John Harlin III:

John Harlin III grew up in Leysin in the Swiss Alps, where his father, John Harlin II, founded the International School of Mountaineering. After his father’s death, John returned with his mother and sister to the U.S., where he has been an active mountaineer, skier, adventurer, editor, and writer. After stints writing climbing guidebooks and serving as an editor for Backpacker and Summit magazines, Harlin is currently the editor of the prestigious American Alpine Journal, the journal of record for new mountain routes worldwide. He has made first telemark and first ski descents, climbed new routes, and made first river descents in such places as Peru, Bolivia, Tibet, Alaska, Canada, the Alps, and throughout the U.S.


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