At 28,251 feet, the world's second-tallest mountain, K2 thrusts skyward out of the Karakoram Range of northern Pakistan. Climbers regard it as the ultimate achievement in mountaineering, with good reason. Four times as deadly as Everest, K2 has claimed the lives of 77 climbers since 1954.
In August 2008, 11 climbers died in a single 36-hour period on K2 - the worst single-event tragedy in the mountain's history and the second-worst in the long chronicle of mountaineering in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. Yet summiting K2 remains a cherished goal for climbers from all over the globe.
Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as "the holy grail of mountaineering". In K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2's most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering - questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory.
Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.
Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal colle...
©2009 Ed Viesturs and David Roberts; (P)2009 Random House
Great account of the mountain's history and awesome performance by the narrator. It's definitely a must for any mountaineering enthusiast.
Unbelievable stories. Very interesting and amazing ventures . A great book to listen to very well narrated. Will listen to it again
Clear headed, well balanced writing that includes historical story telling about this facinating mountain and the human persuits of climbing it from beginning. Ed's personal endevours are painted with a humble and realistic touch that leaves me full of awe and respect of the natures wonders (in this case the awsome K2). Also that the human ego has no place in it.
A good book on K2 from the point of history and climber prospective. I would read it again.
The summary of the 2008 tragedy
Crazy Dog Lady
The three words I would use to sum up K2 would be interesting, tragic and technical.
He has a nice voice for narrating books and was easy to listen to.
The book was interesting overall, but I felt that the book was more about the mistakes made rather than the drama of the events on K2. It wasn't quite the story I expected, but it was a good one, nonetheless. I suspect that if I knew more about climbing mountains, it would be more exciting.
I like mountain climbing books. My husband does not. His attitude is that if you have read one you have read them all. "We climbed a mountain and then it all went to hell." The more I thought about it, the more I agree with him but I don't care. I still like mountain climbing books and this was one of the better ones. Worth the credit.
I thoroughly enjoyed the many layers of stories about K2, the level of detail given about each expedition is absolutely fantastic! If you love mountain climbing then you will love this book!
I've listentened to K2 twice through, and my favorite sections, three and four times. I find the commitment of these Climbers, the early attempts, the isolation, in a word the HISTORY, exhilerarating.
Having heard of "the belay" (Pete Schoening), for years, I especially enjoyed the chonicling of the American Expedition of 1954. The trek, just to reach the foot of the mountain by the early expeditions (350 miles), the glacier and river travel, their 1st view of those giant mountains; just fascinating.
My favorite scene has to be the 1939 expedition when Fritz Wiessner turns back near the summit because his Companion is not wanting or able to proceed. Leadership.
Yes, I did have an extreme reaction to K2. I was inspired to sign up for my first climb, Spring 2013...Mt Whitney (no spring chicken here).
I've read and enjoyed three of Ed Viesturs' books, and await a tome.
I'm just this guy, y'know?
I'm the first to admit that I enjoy a good tale about Man vs. Nature... there are some very interesting anecdotes in here, ranging from the awesomely heroic (and lucky) rescue called "The Belay" to goofy soap-opera politics after the mountain's first successful ascent. An interesting and entertaining read...
"It's so dull I didn't get past 40 mins"
Someone who already knows a lot about mountaineering, K2 specifically, and is familiar with the stories around those who have successfully made the journey as well as those who did not.
You need to be an expert in the topic already - if you're not (I'm not) then it quickly sounds like meaningless base camp codes, altitudes, names and years. The author refers to his own expertise enough times that it just comes across as self-flagellation and an 'I wouldn't have done it like that' approach to the stories of those who died trying to conquer K2.
I wasn't interested enough to listen any longer. I don't think I even got past chapter 1 of 8.
Loved it!! I've read a lot of books on climbing, and thought I knew quite a lot about K2, but this told me so much I didn't know, plus a re-interpretation of previous climbs from Visteurs' personal experience. Fascinating and well written. Could hardly bear to put it down/switch it off. Will get his other book now in the hope its just as good.
"Fascinating chronicle of the difficulties of K2"
Possibly a little self centered but nevertheless the thoroughness of the research needed to give such an enlightening insight into the challenges and tragedies of K2 can only be applauded. I was hooked from the moment I started listening.
"Gripping and Fascinating"
I loved this audio book. It is gripping and thoroughly interesting but in a non-sensationalist or glorifying way. It is honest and heart felt with genuine opinion. It describes many feelings and sentiments that I can easily imagine given the descriptive accounts. excellent.
well read with tons of detail and theory a well researched book , enjoyed it very much
A boring self congratulary account of one mans ego trip. Occasionally interesting. Mostly bottom dribble...
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