The book opens with a journey to Chile to climb the Central Tower of Paine. Bonington then recounts his ascents across the globe; from the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland, the Eiger in Switzerland, to Sangay in Ecuador to name but a few. He concludes in the summer of 1972 with preparations for his ambitious autumn Everest expedition.
This revealing narrative of Chris Bonington's experiences provides an insight into the charismatic generation of climbing personalities with whom he travelled, as well as his development into the celebrity we know today.
Yet Eiger Dreams is more about people than about rock and ice—people with that odd, sometimes maniacal obsession with mountain summits that sets them apart from other men and women. Here we meet Adrian the Romanian, determined to be the first of his countrymen to solo Denali; John Gill, climber not of great mountains but of house-sized boulders so difficult to surmount that even demanding alpine climbs seem easy; and many more compelling and colorful characters. In the most intimate piece, “The Devils Thumb,” Krakauer recounts his own near-fatal, ultimately triumphant struggle with solo-madness as he scales Alaska's Devils Thumb. Eiger Dreams is stirring, vivid writing about one of the most compelling and dangerous of all human pursuits.