John Harlin III – Eiger Obsession

At the 2007 Banff Mountain Book Festival John Harlin III (the son) gave us the background for his new book, The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain that Killed My Father.

It’s a moving story. John was very emotional while telling it.

In 1966, when John Harlin II set out to climb a new route straight up the North Face of the Eiger, he was 30 years old, with a wife and two young children. Six hundred metres from the top, Harlin’s rope broke and he fell 1200 metres to his death. His son, John Harlin III, who was only nine years old at the time, and who had completed his first alpine climb at the age of seven, vowed to his mother that he would never climb another mountain. However, his passion for the mountains led him to break that vow.

Throughout his life John Harlin has honed his skills as an adventurer, editor, and writer. He has made first telemark and ski descents, has climbed new routes and made first river descents in Peru, Bolivia, Tibet, Alaska, Canada, the U.S. and the Alps. He is the author of a series of guidebooks, The Climber’s Guide to North America, and has worked as the editor of Backpacker and Summit magazines.

guests_f05.jpgIn 2005, Harlin decided to return to the Alps and face the Eiger. Like his father, he left behind a nine-year old child when he went to climb the 1800-metre wall. His book, The The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain that Killed My Father, is a memoir of his family and his lifelong obsession with the Eiger, culminating with the thrilling account of his ascent.

Harlin is now editor of the prestigious American Alpine Journal, a frequent contributor to numerous publications including Outside magazine, and appears as the main character in the latest IMAX film, The Alps: Large Format, a film about his emotional quest to climb the mountain where his father died. Harlin lives in Oregon with his wife Adele and daughter Siena.

This is an unforgettable story about fathers and sons, climbers and mountains, and dreamers who dare to challenge the earth. The Eiger Obsession is more than just the story of one man’s climb, it’s a memoir of loss, survival and choosing to face your biggest fears head-on.

— Simon & Schuster

Banff Mountain Festivals 2007

Facing the Mountain that Killed My Father

The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain that Killed My Father

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