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K2: Life and Death on the World's Most…

K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain

by Ed Viesturs

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2291050,561 (3.67)20
  1. 10
    Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (Grandeplease)
  2. 00
    K2, the Savage Mountain by Charles S. Houston (amerynth)
    amerynth: Story of the 1953 attempt on K2 by a mostly American team, where one man's "miracle belay" saved seven from sliding off the mountain to their deaths.
  3. 00
    In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods by Galen Rowell (amerynth)
    amerynth: Chronicle of the failed 1975 American expedition to K2 and the reasons the team completely fell apart.
  4. 00
    Blind Descent: the Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth by James M. Tabor (PamFamilyLibrary)
    PamFamilyLibrary: Who would guess, but going down into the Super Caves is as dangerous as going up K2 or Everest.
  5. 00
    The Last Run: A True Story of Rescue and Redemption on the Alaska Seas by Todd Lewan (Grandeplease)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Mountaineer Ed Viesturs takes a look a the history of K2, the second highest mountain in the world, but the most deadly for climbers.

It was interesting to hear about the various excursions and adventures on the mountain, from the 1930s to 2008. I was listening to the audio, so my mind did wander occasionally, and for some reason, a little more in the second half, but overall, I quite enjoyed it. Because it was the audio, though, it was tricky sometimes to figure out which year's excursion I was listening to if I missed it! Some of the history was interesting, as well, as you get to hear about how some of the gear has changed over time. ( )
  LibraryCin | Aug 29, 2015 |
I loved Ed's tenacity and patience in his climbs. This is something which is slowly ebbing in the mad rush for instant gratification.
Also loved the details in the 1986 incident. Good book overall. ( )
  royanish | Dec 4, 2011 |
No where is mountaineering more dangerous than K2, where for every four climbers that have reached the summit, a person has died. Ed Viesturs' "K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain" details six of K2 expeditions-- with plenty of details about the highs and lows of each one. I'm fairly familiar with most of the stories he tells (having read books about three of the six expeditions he covers) but knowing the stories didn't really matter -- he has a great ability to tell stories, with enough to detail to make it interesting but not so much that it all bogs down. Very enjoyable and quick read for me. ( )
  amerynth | Feb 16, 2011 |
It is a good book but it jumps all over the place and is a bit hard to follow. ( )
1 vote ladyofunicorns | Jan 26, 2011 |
Ed Viesturs is one of the 18 people ever (and the only American) to have climbed all fourteen eight thousanders. It's a very rare feat- no woman has achieved it as yet. Yet, he is surprisingly level headed and devoid of ego. He ascribes his success to hard work, common sense and lack of bravura. He doesn't put it that way and it's not that blunt but this is what can be read between the lines. This cannot be said about all climbers though, and it's is especially visible when climbing the world's most treacherous mountain- K2. Many lose their lives in 'getting to the top fever', by being ill prepared, overconfident or blindly ambitious.
K2 is the world's second tallest mountain and four times as deadly as Everest. One in four climbers dies there. Viesturs almost lost his life there in 1992 when he and his partner Scott Fisher (he later lost his life on the infamous Everest climb described by Krakauer in Into Thin Air) were swept away by an avalanche, and it was Viesturs who managed to save them both. Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain by examining eight different expeditions to the top, and of those who wanted to conquer it.
Viesturs has a remarkably high opinion of Polish climbers, which I, being Polish, duly note. ( )
  Niecierpek | Dec 9, 2010 |
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As always, to my loving wife Paula and our kids - still and forever the best reasons for coming home.

And also to those who have been inspired and challenged by the holy grail of mountaineering that is K2.
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The Motivator. In the wee hours of the morning on August 1, 2008, some thirty climbers from ten different expeditions set out from their high camps on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767932501, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: Christopher Reich Reviews K2: Life and Death on the Worlds Most Dangerous Mountain

Christopher Reigh is the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Vengeance, Numbered Account, and The Patriots Club, which won the International Thiller Writers award for best novel in 2006.

Christopher Reich (photo: Katja Reich)Is there anything more enthralling than a true tale of high adventure well told? Stories about men and women braving impossible odds under daunting conditions in far flung locales, often risking life and limb, keep me glued to the page every time. I’m talking about books like Papillion, Alive, Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm. Well, today, I’m happy to add another book to that list. K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain by Ed Viesturs with David Roberts.

K2 is the world’s second tallest mountain. Located in the Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan, it has more than earned its nickname as the "world’s most dangerous mountain." Just a year ago, thirteen climbers lost their lives on the mountain in a single day. A few mountains may have killed a higher ratio of those who have tried to climb them, notably Annapurna, but none combine the danger, lore, and prestige of K2. In Viesturs’ new book, he tells the story of six expeditions to the fabled mountain. Some successful. Some ill-fated. All spellbinding.

First, a word about the author. Ed Viesturs is widely acknowledged to be among the world’s top five living mountaineers. In 2005, he became the first American to summit all fourteen of the world’s 8000 meter peaks. And he did so without supplemental oxygen. (His fine memoir, No Shortcuts to the Top, chronicles that adventure.) To offer but one example of his prodigious skills, Viesturs once climbed 7,000 feet from an altitude of 16,000 feet to 23,000 feet up a near vertical slope in only eight hours. Did I mention he was carrying a forty-pound pack on his back? The man is to mountaineering what Michael Jordan is to basketball. If that is, Michael Jordan had risked losing his life every time he stepped onto the basketball court.
Be impressed. Be very impressed.

In K2, Viesturs recounts the most dramatic expeditions to the mountain and he does so in today’s frank and honest terms. Older tellings followed the time honored "gentlemen’s code" of ne’er speaking poorly of one’s climbing partners. To read, "The White Spider," by Heinrich Harrer, the story of the first ascent of the Eiger Nordwand written over fifty years ago, is to believe that anyone who ever strapped on a helmet and a harness was  "noble fellow," or a "strong willed lad," whose motivations were as pure as knight seeking the Holy Grail. Viesturs sifts through such rose hued accounts and casts today’s halogen spot light on them. Friendly disagreements amongst climbing pals become knock down, drag out arguments between the fiercest of rivals. Mild discomfort morphs into severe frostbite that costs a man his fingers and toes. And an analysis of where a climber might better have situated an upper altitude camp becomes an indictment of attempted murder. The best example is to compare The Green Berets versus Platoon. Both are about Vietnam; but one is quite a bit more realistic than the other. Similarly, Viesturs' modern updating makes for fascinating reading.

In a sense, K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain is a book written by a mountaineer for mountaineers. Afterall, Viesturs is telling the same story over and over again. But that is exactly what lends the book its magic. Though all of the expeditions shared the same goal, each followed its own unique course. In fact, I often felt as if Viesturs were describing a different mountain altogether. The lesson I took away from this outstanding piece of nonfiction is that K2 seemed to somehow alter its very topography to defeat the "strong-willed lads" and "noble fellows" who tried to conquer it. 

And it succeeded much too often.    

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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 seventy-seven climbers since 1954. In August 2008 eleven climbers died in a single thirty-six-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.… (more)

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