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on 19 May 2017
I remember the story when it was in the news so you know the outcome. Could have been brilliant as a set of memoirs from the survivors, but despite the writer being a journalist, I felt it lacked the finesse of a good 'true story' book. The names of the explorers are difficult to remember and without pictures as you go along to help understand the various descriptions, it can be a struggle for non climbers to plough through. No doubt a Hollywood producer in the future will latch on to this and then you'll get a running commentary as it happened in realtime rather than complete renditions back to back. Disappointing.
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on 15 February 2014
Not much new climbing literature around.This is pretty good but possibly slightly inaccurate judging by some of the documentary film of the 2008 deaths on K2, despite the amount of research the author did. Contrary to the authors opinion I think the events would have been better portrayed by someone with ample experience of high altitude climbing. Possibly the books impact was lessened for me by having watched documentary film of the events. The author seems reluctant,possibly in view of the climbers' families to fully criticise the bad decisions taken by many of the climbers. The relatively little trouble experienced by the solo Basque climber, climbing up ahead of the fixed roping would support this.
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on 18 June 2012
I'm at a loss to understand the whinging from reviewers on here about a mountain disaster book being written by...shock, horror... a non climbing journalist. Who'd have thought it eh. There are plenty of books out there written by self indulgent, suicide merchant climbers so it makes a nice change to read a book that gives a rounded and objective view of the tragic events. The fact that its been written by a journo does not detract from the story. There are plenty of brillaint 'true crime' books that have been written by investigative journo's. These journo's weren't at the scene of the crime, they have not had access to the perpetrator or victims and yet produce some great reading so why should a story about a climbing disaster be any different. So long as the author has been diligant in their research on the subject that should be all that matters. Forget the petty 1 and 2 star spoilers and read the book yourself. You won't be disappointed.
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on 9 August 2016
The best read this year, both fascinating and terrifying,. The true story of the 2008 K2 climb, the utter horror and tragedy of it as well as the
wonderful Sherpas and other brave,courageous souls. One look at K2 , especially the serac was enough for me. You won't be able to put this book down, it is such a compulsive read. K2 looks about as unwelcoming, inhospitable and dangerous as it proved to be. I plan on going no higher than
alpine flowers at the base of very small hills after reading this book. But do read it.
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on 6 July 2011
This is a gripping and frightening read about death on K2. I read the book in a couple of days though I had to be careful to pick the spot for an overnight break. It is the story a 'group' of individuals; self-obsessed climbers who had a brief glimpse of their own mortality on K2. A lesson too late for those who died and a lesson too quickly forgotten by those who survived. It is an awesome and frightening thing to be at the mercy of a power beyond your control, and to realise that.

The 'problem' with the book is that it was written by a journalist who hasn't been there and done that. He was not on K2 as a participator or eye-witness to the events he relates but that's not his fault. He leaves no stone unturned in his research to get the personal perspective of all those left alive to tell the tale. Perhaps the book suffers a little from the journalist's picture-painting of the back-story of the main characters, and they are those for whom there was no way down. Never-the-less this is a minor issue in a book which is a gripping read.

I have never climbed a 26,000 foot peak let alone 28,000+ feet as K2 is. I have no personal experience of the death zone. But I have been up a few Himalayan hills over 20,000 feet and in my amateurish way been awakened to the dangers of high remote places. I have had the warm water treatment for frost bitten fingers and this story sent shivers down my spine. I've also stood in (breathless) awe on the glacier with the Northern face (Chinese side) of K2 towering over me.

I don't know that any of those who lived to relate their much greater tale to the author of this book were truly humbled by the experience. Perhaps the author didn't get that across very well or maybe that is the essence of climbing - human frailty can only be briefly acknowledged.

Read it and make up your own mind.
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on 15 April 2013
This is my favourite book that I've read in the last few years. I was fully enthralled from cover to cover and read it in record time. I don't know if the fact I started reading from the middle (accidentally, I picked it up to have a quick look at the page my boyfriend's bookmarked was placed and got fully enthralled that I couldn't put it down) played a part, as the mystery of previous events kept it interesting. The writing style is rather unconventional, as all the way through it jumps from part to part and back again because there is so many situations going on at the same time within the group of climbers, so it's not exactly straightforward but I think this adds to the excitement and makes you want to read on. The story is tragic and Bowley portrays this very well, in my opinion. I would definitely recommend it as this is the best book on the K2 disaster that I have read.
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on 22 March 2016
Terrific book! A riveting real live story! Just a great read for anyone not just mountain climbers! Reads like a real thriller and the perils of high altitude mountaineering are laid bare! Highly recommended!
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on 1 September 2016
An excellent book, content and style first class. Read in one day, gripping account of tragic accidents on the famous mountain.
One of the better mountaineering stories.
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on 7 June 2015
A gripping complex read . Sadness overwhelms the whole account. The true facts may never be known as the victim's remained will remain undisturbed where they fell.
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on 9 October 2016
fascinating read
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