The North Wall of the Eiger in the Alps is a 6000 foot sheer face of rock and ice that overhangs and then slopes off at an 80Â° angle. To climb it one must hang in a sling over empty space while hammering in bolts for the next ropehold upward. This is called artificial climbing, as opposed to the natural climbing we all do daily. Direttissima is the story of a direct vertical ascent of the Face and if you like to read accounts where you swing in space and sleep on eighteen inch ledges for weeks on end, then this is your cup of beef bouillon. The three young mountaineers who elected to challenge the Face in ""the last great problem of the Alps,"" the direct route up, were two Britons and an American One died, and one made the summit, and they were in unwished competition with an eight-man German team whom the ultimately successful Dougal Haston Joined, after the death of his friend, Harlin. The new team then met its greatest difficulties; frostbitten, their clothes in shreds, sleeping bags frozen solid, crampons in shambles, up they climbed with ice-caked faces.... If Direttissima is no literary landmark, it is still a compelling account of a stupendous feat.