In the heart of the Swiss Alps stand the three majestic peaks of the Bernese Oberland, Europe's most famous mountain range. The highest, at 13,638 feet, is the Jungfrau. Next is the Mönch, at 13,465 feet. But it is the smallest, the Eiger, rising 13,038 feet above sea level, that is by far the deadliest. Called a "living" mountain for its constantly changing conditions-unpredictable weather, disintegrating limestone surfaces, and continuously falling rock and ice-its mile-high north wall is perhaps the most dangerous climb in the world. And that may be just what beckons elite Alpinists to scale the treacherous peak against the odds.
In 1957, nearly forty years before the well-known Mount Everest tragedy, two teams of confident climbers set out to summit the north wall of the Eiger Mountain. Not long into their journey, onlookers could tell that the four men were headed for disaster. Soon rescue teams from all over Europe raced toward the Eiger-yet only one of the four climbers survived to face unfounded international accusations. In a story as fascinating as any novel, Jack Olsen creates a riveting account of daring adventure, heroic rescue, and one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of mountain climbing.