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K2 by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts - Excerpt

K2 by Ed Viesturs and David Roberts - Excerpt

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A thrilling chronicle of the tragedy-ridden history of climbing K2, the world’s most difficult and unpredictable mountain, by the bestselling author of No Shortcuts to the Top

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. Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world’s premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as “the holy grail of mountaineering.”

In K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2’s most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering–questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one’s teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott’s.

Focusing on seven of the mountain’s most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs’s personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world’s ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.
A thrilling chronicle of the tragedy-ridden history of climbing K2, the world’s most difficult and unpredictable mountain, by the bestselling author of No Shortcuts to the Top

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. Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world’s premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as “the holy grail of mountaineering.”

In K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2’s most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering–questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one’s teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott’s.

Focusing on seven of the mountain’s most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs’s personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world’s ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.

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Publish date: Oct 13, 2009
Added to Scribd: Oct 14, 2009
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09/08/2013

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K2
Life and Deathon the World’sMost DangerousMountain
ED VIESTURS
with
David Roberts
Broadway Books
NEW YORK
 
Copyright © 2009 by Ed Viesturs and David RobertsAll rights reserved.Published in the United States by Broadway Books, an imprint of theCrown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.www.crownpublishing.com
broadway books
and the Broadway Books colophon are trademarksof Random House, Inc.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Viesturs, Ed.K2 : life and death on the world’s most dangerous mountain / Ed Viesturs with David Roberts.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 978-0-7679-3250-91. Mountaineering—Pakistan—K2 (Mountain)2. Mountains—Pakistan—K2 (Mountain)—Difficulty of ascent.3. Mountaineers—Pakistan—K2 (Mountain) 4. Mountaineeringaccidents—Pakistan—K2 (Mountain) 5. K2 (Pakistan : Mountain)—Description and travel. I. Roberts, David. II. Title.GV199.44.P18V54 2009796.522095491dc202009016390ISBN 978-0-7679-3250-9Printed in the United States of America10987654321First Edition
www.BroadwayBooks.com 

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royanish_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
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.
amerynth reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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.
ladyofunicorns reviewed this
Rated 3/5
It is a good book but it jumps all over the place and is a bit hard to follow.
niecierpek reviewed this
Rated 4/5
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.
andtara reviewed this
In K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Ed Viestures tells the stories of six different summit attempts on the world's second tallest mountain. The material is probably nothing new for those who have read a lot about mountaineering and K2, but everything was new to me! It was helpful to have Viestures explain what happened through his own opinions and through the words of the cimbers themselves (summarizing events from previously published books, quotations, diaries, etc). Viestures also adds any updated information learned about these expeditions in the years since other books were published. Overall, I enjoyed the stories and reading the history of this dangerous mountain. What was difficult about this book, though, was the narration. I felt like Viestures jumped all over the place. He'd be writing about an expedition and there would be references back to climbs he had made, climbs he hadn't yet written about in the book, and climbs previously mentioned. The book needed some editing to make the story more clear. I found myself confused and (sometimes) bored with some of the passages because of all the sidetracking in the writing. Overall, though, Viestures is an impressive man (a climber first, not a writer!) and I enjoyed reading this book.
dickcraig reviewed this
Rated 4/5
In this book, Viesturs chronicles the different expeditions that have attempted the summit of K2. This mountain, the second highest, is infamous as one of the more difficult to climb. For example, in 2008 290 people reached the summit of Everest with one death. On K2 the same year, 18 people reached the summit and 11 people died. The moniker most attached to this peak is "savage". Viesturs is a local climber and has been interviewed frequently on the local NPR station. He is a great motivational speaker. This book, however, fell somewhat flat for me as it was more of storytelling and did not have an edge that made me want to keep turning the pages.
pafcwoody reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Viesteurs reviews six different climbs or attempts on K2. Having already read most of his source material I still enjoyed this book as he colours events with his own experiences and provides some new and different insights.
grandeplease_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Ed Viesturs chronicles the climbing history of K2, the mountain he calls the Holy Grail of mountaineering. One of only sixteen men who have climbed all fourteen of the world's 8,000 meter mountains, Viesturs has a wealth of knowledge of not only K2 but mountaineering. His personal insight and experience adds color to a fascinating tale of adventure, danger and death.
El Guardaparques liked this
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