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Climbing Eiger ... 40 years after your father died trying
October 25, 2005 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Climbing Eiger ... 40 years after your father died trying - New docu-drama from Yahoo - pretty gripping.
posted by RonZ (19 comments total)

 
This man was left an orphan at a tender age because his father was an arrogant fool. He would do the same to his daughter.

I don't hope he dies, because his daughter doesn't deserve that trauma. But it would serve him right to lose an extremity or two. Mountain climbing is the kind of shit that responsible people don't do when there are still people in the world who love them.
posted by Epenthesis at 8:41 PM on October 25, 2005


I'm an avid, experienced climber, and certainly recognize the urge to push against the barrier between possible and impossible. But this man is just dumb, not to mention arrogant and selfish.

The Eiger is, in spite of its history, a pile of choss. And since warming has reduced its snow and ice cover, it has become increasingly dangerous. All of the GoreTex, fancy gear and modern advantages can't eliminate that inconvenient fact.

He ought to make a choice: daughter, or the summit. And then live with the choice, once and for all. Because by doing what he's doing, he's avoiding the decision, forcing his daughter to face existential horrors not of her making.
posted by spincycle at 8:56 PM on October 25, 2005


i'm not reading the article. it seems sensationalist and tasteless. harlin was a fine man. but. i know a girl who's father was killed on annapurna at 33. he may be dead, but his daughter is still paying the price of his decision to climb to this day.

as an avid- and retired climber i second spincycle.
posted by quarsan at 10:05 PM on October 25, 2005


Son, don't go up that mountain! You'll die up there like I did!
posted by Joeforking at 1:57 AM on October 26, 2005


I can't join the chorus of 'IDIOT!' even though I can fully understand that opinion.

I hope he succeeds in doing what he needs to do.
posted by I Love Tacos at 5:09 AM on October 26, 2005


What's up with Yahoo's recent push towards sensationalist news/entertainment/fluff pieces (this and Kevin Sites' Hot Zone)?
posted by tpl1212 at 5:55 AM on October 26, 2005


This docu-drama is not in real time. Harlan summited the Eiger by the Classic Route on the North Face a few weeks ago with two Swiss mountain guides.

Note that there are many routes to the top of the Eiger. Harlin III climbed the 1938 route used for the first ascent of the North Face, currently rated 'ED2 (G14) V-, A0, 60°, 1800m' in three days with two bivuoacs. His father died attempting a direct route on the North Face in winter, which I assume would be much more difficult / dangerous.

The climb will be made into an IMAX movie. I'm curious to what extent the camera crew followed the climbers on the face.
posted by driveler at 8:37 AM on October 26, 2005


What's up with Yahoo's recent push towards sensationalist news/entertainment/fluff pieces

Coming up next on Yahoo - Alien Autopsy!
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:17 AM on October 26, 2005


You guys are "avid" climbers and are giving this guy shit for going climbing? Riiiiiiiiight...

"Mountain climbing is the kind of shit that responsible people don't do when there are still people in the world who love them."

Are you basing your perception of what mountain climbing is on the movie "Vertical Limit"? How about this:

"Driving your car to work is the kind of shit that responsible people don't do when there are still people in the world who love them."
posted by alpinist at 10:22 AM on October 26, 2005


You guys are "avid" climbers and are giving this guy shit for going climbing? Riiiiiiiiight...

I'm not a climber, avid or otherwise.

"Driving your car to work is the kind of shit that responsible people don't do when there are still people in the world who love them."

Don't be a sophist. The risk of being killed in an everyday accident is much lower than that of being killed in a climb...and the former risk is unavoidable if you want to earn enough to support a family.

I'm sure he got a thrill out of the climb, and worked through some demons, etc. It was an unnecessary risk, and he wasn't the only one who had a stake in it.
posted by Epenthesis at 11:39 AM on October 26, 2005


I'd rather the world be filled with crazy mountain climbers willing to take "unnecessary risks" than with bitter holier than thou people who always have to have a say in how others choose to live or how responsible they are as parents. It's not your life, it's not your children, it's not your choice, end of story.

Plus, these people are adults who have been doing this all their lives. Real climbing is not doing crazy stunts like in the movies. Serious climbers are far more responsible with their and other people's safety and health than most people anyway. Definitely more than car drivers.

Why is it that when something is done for passion rather than necessity some people think it's somehow less worthy? Isn't it precisely not being forced to do something that makes it more worthwhile?
posted by funambulist at 12:08 PM on October 26, 2005


Well Epenthesis, reviewing the 2005 edition of "Accidents in North American Mountaineering", published yearly by the American Alpine Club, shows that in the year 2004 there were 140 climbers reported injured in the US and 16 in Canada. There were 35 climbing related fatalities in the US and 14 in Canada. If you look at statistics from 1951-2004 there have been a grand total of 1,339 climbing deaths in the US and 285 in Canada. But obviously driving down the highway is safer.
posted by alpinist at 12:20 PM on October 26, 2005


Amen funambulist, amen...
posted by alpinist at 12:25 PM on October 26, 2005


Damn Yahoo video player isn't doing anything in Safari on OSX 10.4. Video on the web still sucks arse, i'll check back in 10 years for any progress.
posted by snoktruix at 12:58 PM on October 26, 2005


Although I'm all for following your bliss, it must be weighed against your obligations. I'm sure Harlin, with his history, thought a lot about his choices before going ahead with this climb. I can't fault him for doing what he thought was right.

That said, I think not climbing the mountain and honouring his father in another way would have been the braver choice.

I'm not bitter nor holier-than-thou. People make their choices and live with the consquences. We all do this every day. That doesn't mean I don't have the right to think it was, possibly, the wrong choice. We're allowed to have our assholes opinions, eh?
posted by deborah at 1:12 PM on October 26, 2005


deborah, no one is shutting up anyone and yes of course everyone has a right to their opinion, which includes the opinion that it's absolutely pathetic to confuse being opinionated with wishing people lose a limb or two so that they learn a lesson about responsibility and morality -- which the person expressing that wish must possess in vastly superior quantities, obviously.

And since we're all so worried about the children, which is more educational for them, the example of someone being so hateful you wish strangers dead for simply doing what they like, or climbing mountains as a prepared, trained, experienced pro?

Now, suppose I agreed with the notion that this guy was crazy to do this. My idea of opinion in this case would be something like "I'd never fucking do that in a million years even if they paid me and even if I had the physical requirements" not "he must be such an arrogant irresponsible stupid horrible parent and must hate his children and deserves to die or be horribly mutilated". I see a big difference between the two.

By the way, the guy had a successful climb and so did the other two parents who climbed with him. Husband and wife. Lots of people climb mountains and have done so for centuries and they all had families, children or parents or siblings or partners or friends. It makes the news when something goes wrong, never when it goes right.
posted by funambulist at 2:01 PM on October 26, 2005


"Driving your car to work is the kind of shit that responsible people don't do when there are still people in the world who love them."

You know what? You're right, and I'm not driving to work any more.

can anyone spend a dime?
posted by davejay at 2:09 PM on October 26, 2005


SPARE a dime. crud.
posted by davejay at 2:10 PM on October 26, 2005


Also, deborah, fwiw, you hadn't posted yet when I first commented and the way you expressed yourself is quite different from what I was referring to.
posted by funambulist at 2:13 PM on October 26, 2005


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