Die Weisse Spinne—Die Geschichte der Eiger Nordwand by Henrich Harrer. West Berlin: Ullstein A.G., 1958, many illustrations, some colored.
Heinrich Harrer, a member of the first rope to climb the Northface of the Eiger, is well qualified to write the history of its climbs. He covers the time up to the 13th ascent in 1958, twenty years after the first successful climb. The name of the book is derived from the icefield located in the upper third of the Northface which is shaped like a giant white spider. Avalanches, rocks and water, coming from above are funneled through the spider which cannot be bypassed, but must be crossed by the Northface aspirant. It is here where the climbers face the greatest danger and severest test of their endurance, of which Harrer gives a fascinating account. He also tries to shed light on the mystery surrounding the fate of some of the teams which perished on the mountain. The conclusions he reaches are interesting, though the final answer rests forever with the climbers who died in their attempt to climb the Northface.
Horst von Hennig