A fast-paced narrative of one of the worst climbing disasters in the history of K2.
Zuckerman and Padoan join forces in this harrowing account of the 2008 mountaineering tragedy on the summit of K2. Presented from the untold perspective of the sherpas, the authors give voice to the men who risk their lives so others may garner fame and fortune. With few other careers choices for these men, they turn aside their cultural differences to aid the rich and famous on their quest to reach the summit while receiving little acknowledgment for their own climbing expertise. In interviews with the sherpas and their families, Zuckerman and Padoan offer glimpses into the climbing culture that are as rare as the thin air the climbers breathe in the Death Zone. Although tradition dictates that K2 is an extremely dangerous mountain to summit, the world continues to press onto her flanks for personal glory or simply to make a statement. In 2008, when the one window of perfect climbing weather briefly opened, too many teams attempted the summit, with fatal results. The authors portray the grueling trek up as well as the gruesome, sometimes deadly ride back down the mountain as avalanches and rock slides picked some climbers off one by one. Readers will be left questioning the need to climb such mountains when many lives are frequently lost, severe frostbite and sickness are common, and the expense of engaging in one climb could be used to support families in the region for many months.
A provocative perspective on one of the world's most expensive and deadly athletic adventures.