In 2007 I published a memoir, The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain That Killed My Father. The book is a portrait of our family’s life in Europe—and in particular in the Swiss village of Leysin—and the abrupt changes that came in 1966 when Dad died on the Eiger. Mom moved the family to a new life in America, but Dad and the Eiger cast shadows over me until finally I climbed the mountain for myself in 2005.

    Here on my website you’ll find a photo album containing many more pictures than would fit into the book. My own climb of the Eiger was turned into a beautiful IMAX film by MacGillivray Freeman Films. While The Alps: Climb of Your Life has mostly finished its theater run, a DVD version is available. Find interviews and trailers here on MFF’s website (the longer, 90-second trailer is better).            

    The Eiger Obsession was published in English in 2007 and in German, French, and Italian during the following two years. You’ll find links to each publisher at the bottom of Harlin Bio.

American Alpine Journal

Until July 2012, my day job was to edit the American Alpine Journal in collaboration with an amazing set of colleagues and new-route climbers from around the world. This annual book of the world’s new mountain routes (except, ironically, in the Alps) has been published by the American Alpine Club since 1929. It’s the world’s permanent record of mountain exploration—as reported by new-route climbers in their own words—and now you can buy recent editions and country-based compilations at the American Alpine Club Bookstore on John Harlin Media.

John Harlin Bio

   You’ll find more info about me at my bio page. You can reach me at john at johnharlin dot com. I try to be good at responding, but if you’ve not heard back from me after a while, please write again.



Please note: This website is gradually being rebuilt as “John Harlin Projects” at Please visit there to see my new work with the Leysin American School and The Mountain Institute. Thank you for your patience during this process. There may be some broken links along the way.

Swiss Border Stories

All those pictures on the map to the right were uploaded from the field via a camera-phone and are tied into stories that appeared daily on They document crossing glaciers alone, an ode to a miraculous umbrella I found in a trash can, musical interviews in ancient Swiss villages, lonely musings about the attraction between sexes, and everything in between.

I’ve presented my Swiss borders lecture to film festivals, annual banquets, and clubs and corporations of all stripes on three continents. I’d love to visit your neighborhood as well. Please have a look at my lectures page on this website. And view a few videos and blog entries here.

John Harlin III

Email Me
This link takes you to where a few of my print books will are available as e-books, with more coming soon. Please sign up for the newsletter if you’d like to learn when they’re added.