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NO WAY DOWN: LIFE AND DEATH ON K2 By Bowley, Graham (Author) Paperback on 24-May-2011 Unknown Binding – 24 May 2011


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (24 May 2011)
  • ASIN: B0052IQZSQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By N. Jensen on 25 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is very well written (by a journalist) and reads like an investigative report into what happened during the 2008 K2 disaster. The story and characters come alive through reconstructed conversations and once I started reading it, I struggled to put it down. It describes not only the events, but also the individual characters, their personalities and feelings towards eachother and how cooperation among different teams broke down.

The bits I did not like were in the Epilogue where he questions climbers motivations for climbing, the moral issues of climbing and the impact on the climbers families. While those questions are all relevant, I found his comments too superficial to do justice to a complex subject. Would have preferred if he had kept those questions out, and focused the story purely on what happened.

Overall, I really liked the book and can highly recommend it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judda17 on 27 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on climbing but never anything about K2. I never realised just how difficult and dangerous this mountain could be.

The author, Graham Bowley, has obviously been very painstaking in interviews with the survivors and it shows in the sheer excellence of his writing. I felt as though I had climbed and descended the mountain myself by the end of the book. The story of the tragedy does not pull any punches so be prepared for sudden shocks en-route.

Also very helpful were the excellent photographs taken and included in the book. Do not miss out on a first class read if you enjoy climbing!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Victoria on 2 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book based on the description and favorable reviews given by other authors.

What is missing from the reviews and the description (and what was slightly disappointing) is the fact that the book was written not by a witness/survivor of the events but by a journalist who investigated the story.

In my opinion it is misleading to call it "an Into Thin Air for a new century" as Doug Stanton put it.
Into Thin Air was also written by a journalist, but actually a member of the expedition and a climber which makes a huge difference when you read the book.

Therefore, to me the book although well written feels more like a dry reportage of the facts and events that were recreated by the author based on the interviews with the survivors and families of the deceased. It lacks the first hand experience/ feelings of a witness unlike in Into Thin Air.

That's the main reason it gets 4 stars from me.

The parts describing actual climbing or descending are very short and concentrated more on the result.
At the same time you will find a lot of information on the history of K2 ascends and plenty of details about the people who took part in 2008 expedition and their families. Sometimes I thought such detailed information was slightly distracting from the main story.

Very well written book, gives an objective report of the tragic events on K2 in 2008.
Has colour photos inside that were taken by members of the expedition.

Would recommend to read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Compelling and moving stories of the teams heading for the top and the people that did not return. You really can skip the book that climbers wrote, especially that of the Dutch team.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. I. Roberts on 14 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is not "Into Thin Air" for a new century but since purchasing this book on Monday I have read it page to page within five days. It is a shame that the story was not put together by a survivor but there was a lot of contradiction and disagreement in regards to "Into Thin Air" while this book is a collection of accounts from those that did survive. The timing and locations of the events within the book become difficult to track but that is due to the nature of this unfortunate tradegy and the fact that it all occured within a hellish 48 hours.

What it does reveal is that while the commercial style ascents of Everest within "non-qualified" clients was blamed for the "Into Thin Air" disaster, the K2 2008 disaster was a number of expedition with various but "qualified" mountaineers and although a lack of judgement ultimately led to numerous deaths on the mountain it is easy to be an armchair mountaineer and judge others. Unless you are there and on the mountain, facing that situation with an oxygen starved brain, it is not really our place to judge.

Great book but a very sad story - I feel for the families who may read this detailed account of events.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Daniels on 21 Oct 2010
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book about the incident on K2 and just as good a read as Into Thin Air or Dark Summit.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Esther on 18 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
I climb hills in Scotland and don't do extreme sports but I was intruiged by the Financial Times review of this book and bought it immediately.
Its a fascinating insight into the different teams of people and individuals from Serbia, Holland, USA, South Korea, Norway, France, Nepal and Pakistan who attempt to climb K2 together during a weather window of opportunity during the beginning of August 2008.
What happens next is slow but terrible. Despite agreed timescales, nearly all arrive at the top far too late. Then on the descent, getting dark, the ropes are swept away in an Avalanche (hence the title "no way down"). A tragic mixture of falls, further avalanches, darkness and mistakes takes one life after another.
Its an incredible read, made even more incredible by those who survive against the odds - lost, exhausted, delirious and frostbitten - but alive.
The most poignant part of the book is the pictures taken at the top - so many who are ecstatic at the achievement are dead within an hour of the pictures being taken.
I had respect for the hills before this read but now, I am in awe.
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