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on 5 July 2017
An excellent account of the 2008 K2 tragedy told from the point of view of the Sherpa climbers and Pakistani high altitude porters (HAPs), a record that often goes untold in the litter of West-centric books on climbing in the Himalaya and Karakoram. The book includes biographies of the featured climbers, a colourful mythology of the region and stories of other attempts to climb K2, as well as a detailed analysis of the events leading up to and surrounding that fateful August summit. It includes an index, photographs and useful bibliography. The only reason I've deducted one star is the rather startling omission of an account from Pemba Gyalje, one of the leading climbers in the rescue mission above Camp IV. I appreciate it might not have been possible to interview Pemba, I know he wrote his own account with Pat Falvey, but reducing him to a background cypher does the book no favours, especially as he was later given the National Geographic 2008 Heroism of the Year award. Having said that, it's still a very enjoyable book and it's great to hear from people who regard these beautiful mountains very differently from the credo, "Because it's there".
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on 26 January 2014
Absolutely stunning read. Immaculately researched by Zuckerman and Padoan. I had to read it twice, it was that good. If you like mountain adventure, high drama and true life buy it and read it. I have to say one of the main reasons for recommending this particular story is that it goes into a lot of detail around the part played by the Sherpa guides. Their story is often not known or heard. It is now!!
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on 26 March 2017
A really good read for anyone looking to hike (or recently) hiked at altitude. K2 is a unique climb and this is a superb recount of the disaster there.
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on 27 April 2017
REALLY GOOD ACCOUNT OF MOUNTAINEERING DANGERS.
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on 6 January 2014
I've read quite a few books about climbing in the Himalayas and Karakorum, but I haven't read one more powerful than this. The book starts by giving a brief overview of the cultures and home villages of the main local (i.e. Pakistani and Nepalese) personalities in this tragic story. In part the book tells the familiar one of those with the money (in this case, people form the west and Korea) taking advantage of the high altitude porters and local climbers who are employed primarily to get them to the top of whatever mountain is being climbed (K2 in this instance). However, this book is different to the others I've read because the focus is vey much on the "Sherpa" community rather than the fee paying climbers.
Additionally, when things start to go very very wrong, the writing is such that I felt I got a palpable sense of how the key players were thinking and feeling.
The book finishes off with a powerful insight into the impact on the families that are left behind when their husbands/sons/brothers go off to the mountains, and also the emotional pain suffered by those porters and climbers who manage to survive and return home when others, including family members, don't.
Finally, I think the book successfully manages not to be preachy about the ethics involved in these kinds of tragedies, but you are left in little doubt as to who are the biggest losers when tragedy strikes.
A brilliant book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 March 2014
This book takes a reasonably well reported incident as far as we in the "west" are concerned and looks at it through new eyes which offers a subtly different view of not just this incident but also encompasses the Sherpa community at large and the dependance many of them have on taking part in such expeditions. To be honest many of these undertakings could only be described as "vanity" projects but they nevertheless bring much needed cash into the Karakoram in the case of K2 here, but also the wider Himalaya. If you are looking for a book which will tell you "why" this disaster happened then that book is yet to be written (if it ever is) but if you want to know why Sherpas do what they do and why they remain such tough, loyal and dependable folk to deal with then this is the book for you.
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on 18 July 2012
A enjoyable read and unbelievable true story. Fantastically written and historically informative. It was especially interesting to hear the untold story of the native climbers and porters from an ethnically and culturally complex and unique part of the world.
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on 6 May 2013
still reading this. absolutely love it. very well written. the authors did exceptional in gathering all the information and the stories. out standing. 5 stars.
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on 24 June 2013
a comment I have often made about climbing accounts is that in reality they are all very similar. of course this is expected as the mountain is the same for all who climb. Possibly only weather and unforeseen events ( serac collapse, avalanche etc.) cause much change to the usual story. ( base camp set up- camp I,2,3,4 etc. established and then the day of ascent. )Considering that there are now thousands who climb these hills there is obviously going to arrive a moment when the so called market for more accounts is saturated. Nevertheless this account was better than most as it DID highlight the role played by the sherpas. A welcome change from that of the bloated ego chasing western climbers ( in many cases) Thus this is a better read. As for the future I can only say that having read almost every book about Himalayan climbs I shall only look at future accounts if they do hold something very very different. Maybe like the discovery of the body of Irvine and any new clues as to what really happened on Everest in 1924.
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on 26 April 2014
This book is another one about the k2 summit attempt that ended fatally for some and traumatically for others and this one includes much more about the lives and families of Sherpas which is often a perspective overlooked in other accounts.
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