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In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2 ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two others, and made headlines around the world.

With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2—the world's second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of miles to the south—has lured serious climbers for decades. In 2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad weather, no fewer than ten international teams—some experienced, others less prepared—crowded the mountain's dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and porters, waiting to ascend.

Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the Bottleneck—many without oxygen and some with no headlamps—faced the near impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not.

Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas, porters, and family and friends of the deceased, No Way Down reveals for the first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062002907
List price: $11.15
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Availability for No Way Down: Life and Death on K2
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No Way Down is a well-researched account of yet another disastrous mountaineering expedition, this one on K2. It lacks the intensity of Krakauer's Into Thin Air and because the writer wasn't present - and eleven of the participants were killed - the account sometimes feels a little speculative.

As is typical on the K2 (the world's most dangerous mountain), the disaster is part of chain of small mistakes, and you can feel the tension building from the very first page.

As intriguing as the disaster itself are the responses of the different individuals and teams, and the South Korean climbing team comes off pretty poorly in this account.

Again, it's well written, but lacks the intensity, first-person perspective and followup offered by Krakauer.more
An amazing book! A great account of a truly tragic story, I couldn't put it down, finished it in two days!more
This is a study by a New York Times reporter of the events at K2--the second highest mountain in the world--on August 1 t0 3, 2008. The author did a good job researching the events, and there are many grippingly exciting pages. The early part of the book seems confusing, since there were so many climbers--43 actually reached the summit. The disaster was in the descent.more
On August 1, 2008, eleven climbers lost their lives climbing K2. This is the story of the events of that day. I've read quite a few books on high altitude climbing, mostly about Everest and mostly by climbers. I'm not sure if it's because Bowley isn't a climber, but I just didn't feel connected to the story as I have with other accounts in the death zone. The author conveys a sense of "why do they do it" through much of the book, without ever understanding and that lack of understandin ...more On August 1, 2008, eleven climbers lost their lives climbing K2. This is the story of the events of that day. I've read quite a few books on high altitude climbing, mostly about Everest and mostly by climbers. I'm not sure if it's because Bowley isn't a climber, but I just didn't feel connected to the story as I have with other accounts in the death zone. The author conveys a sense of "why do they do it" through much of the book, without ever understanding and that lack of understanding leaves the reader feeling separated from the narrative.more
"It's the summit of K2, 1 August 2008. An exhausted band of climbers pump their fists into the clear blue sky - joining the elite who have conquered the world's most lethal mountain. But as they celebrate, far below them an ice shelf collapses and sweeps away their ropes. They don't know it yet, but they will be forced to descend into the blackness with no lines. Of the thirty who set out, eleven will never make it back. Following the stories of climbers from around the world, "No Way Down" weaves a tale of human courage, folly, survival and devastating loss. The stories are heart-wrenching: the young married couple whose rope was torn apart by an avalanche, sending the husband to his death; the 61-year-old Frenchman who called his family from near the summit to say he wouldn't make it home. So what drove them to try to conquer this elusive peak? And what went wrong that fateful day?In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2 ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two others, and made headlines around the world.With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2--the world's second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of miles to the south--has lured serious climbers for decades. In 2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad weather, no fewer than ten international teams--some experienced, others less prepared--crowded the mountain's dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and porters, waiting to ascend.Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the Bottleneck--many without oxygen and some with no headlamps--faced the near impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not.Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas, porters, and family and friends of the deceased, "No Way Down" reveals for the first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama." Waterstones reviewmore
"Above the Bottleneck was the serac-the blunt overhanging end of a hanging glacier-a shimmering, tottering wave frozen as it crashed over the moutainside, a suspended ice mountain six hundred feet tall...and about half a mile long. It was smooth in places but large parts of it were pitted with cracks and crevasses....This was the way to the summit."Journalist Graham Bowley created an intense narrative of the infamous tragedy on K2 in 2008 in this new release No Way Down. Despite being smaller than Mt. Everest, at 28,251 feet, K2 is reputed to be the most terrifying to climb. Twenty-seven members of eight international teams progressed from Base Camp One to Base Camp Four as their bodies adjusted to the increasing lack of oxygen. Then, on a beautiful clear morning they began their final ascent on K2, in a planned order that the groups had agreed upon. They planned to reach the summit and plant their national flags, document the excitement with photographs, and return to Base Camp Four, all by nightfall. No one wanted to be on the mountain after dark.Then everything went wrong. A series of bad decisions and unexpected events changed the plan, resulting in the loss of eleven lives, as well as lifelong injuries for two more. Some climbers had to spend the night on the frightening mountain, hanging on lines and wondering what the morning would bring.This is not a simple disaster story, and there is no happy ending. What is unique is that while Bowley wasn't there, he was able to interview most of the members of the various teams, getting insight on what they were feeling and how they addressed proceeding through disaster. Additionally, he interviewed families of the survivors and those who died, getting their impressions and insight. This creates a fast paced read that isn't simply one eyewitness account but rather than unbiased compilation of many voices, a fuller picture that demonstrates both the power of nature and the desire of man to conquer it. Reading it exposes more than just the climb, it explores the personalities and reasons why some choose to explore such danger.Half-way through the book is a photo section that would have been better placed at the front, just to put a name with faces. Seeing the photos made the tragedy more personal. Included is a group picture at Base Camp Four who were determined to ascend the following day. "They had broken out of comfortable lives to venture to a place few of us would dare go in our lives. they had confronted their mortality, immediately and up close."Reading this makes you shiver from the cold and the suspense, even if you know the ending. This would be a great summer read, just for the chilling effect it would have on a hot day! It'll make you ponder the whole concept of how you identify 'adventure'.more
Read all 6 reviews

Reviews

No Way Down is a well-researched account of yet another disastrous mountaineering expedition, this one on K2. It lacks the intensity of Krakauer's Into Thin Air and because the writer wasn't present - and eleven of the participants were killed - the account sometimes feels a little speculative.

As is typical on the K2 (the world's most dangerous mountain), the disaster is part of chain of small mistakes, and you can feel the tension building from the very first page.

As intriguing as the disaster itself are the responses of the different individuals and teams, and the South Korean climbing team comes off pretty poorly in this account.

Again, it's well written, but lacks the intensity, first-person perspective and followup offered by Krakauer.more
An amazing book! A great account of a truly tragic story, I couldn't put it down, finished it in two days!more
This is a study by a New York Times reporter of the events at K2--the second highest mountain in the world--on August 1 t0 3, 2008. The author did a good job researching the events, and there are many grippingly exciting pages. The early part of the book seems confusing, since there were so many climbers--43 actually reached the summit. The disaster was in the descent.more
On August 1, 2008, eleven climbers lost their lives climbing K2. This is the story of the events of that day. I've read quite a few books on high altitude climbing, mostly about Everest and mostly by climbers. I'm not sure if it's because Bowley isn't a climber, but I just didn't feel connected to the story as I have with other accounts in the death zone. The author conveys a sense of "why do they do it" through much of the book, without ever understanding and that lack of understandin ...more On August 1, 2008, eleven climbers lost their lives climbing K2. This is the story of the events of that day. I've read quite a few books on high altitude climbing, mostly about Everest and mostly by climbers. I'm not sure if it's because Bowley isn't a climber, but I just didn't feel connected to the story as I have with other accounts in the death zone. The author conveys a sense of "why do they do it" through much of the book, without ever understanding and that lack of understanding leaves the reader feeling separated from the narrative.more
"It's the summit of K2, 1 August 2008. An exhausted band of climbers pump their fists into the clear blue sky - joining the elite who have conquered the world's most lethal mountain. But as they celebrate, far below them an ice shelf collapses and sweeps away their ropes. They don't know it yet, but they will be forced to descend into the blackness with no lines. Of the thirty who set out, eleven will never make it back. Following the stories of climbers from around the world, "No Way Down" weaves a tale of human courage, folly, survival and devastating loss. The stories are heart-wrenching: the young married couple whose rope was torn apart by an avalanche, sending the husband to his death; the 61-year-old Frenchman who called his family from near the summit to say he wouldn't make it home. So what drove them to try to conquer this elusive peak? And what went wrong that fateful day?In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2 ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two others, and made headlines around the world.With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2--the world's second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of miles to the south--has lured serious climbers for decades. In 2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad weather, no fewer than ten international teams--some experienced, others less prepared--crowded the mountain's dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and porters, waiting to ascend.Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the Bottleneck--many without oxygen and some with no headlamps--faced the near impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not.Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas, porters, and family and friends of the deceased, "No Way Down" reveals for the first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama." Waterstones reviewmore
"Above the Bottleneck was the serac-the blunt overhanging end of a hanging glacier-a shimmering, tottering wave frozen as it crashed over the moutainside, a suspended ice mountain six hundred feet tall...and about half a mile long. It was smooth in places but large parts of it were pitted with cracks and crevasses....This was the way to the summit."Journalist Graham Bowley created an intense narrative of the infamous tragedy on K2 in 2008 in this new release No Way Down. Despite being smaller than Mt. Everest, at 28,251 feet, K2 is reputed to be the most terrifying to climb. Twenty-seven members of eight international teams progressed from Base Camp One to Base Camp Four as their bodies adjusted to the increasing lack of oxygen. Then, on a beautiful clear morning they began their final ascent on K2, in a planned order that the groups had agreed upon. They planned to reach the summit and plant their national flags, document the excitement with photographs, and return to Base Camp Four, all by nightfall. No one wanted to be on the mountain after dark.Then everything went wrong. A series of bad decisions and unexpected events changed the plan, resulting in the loss of eleven lives, as well as lifelong injuries for two more. Some climbers had to spend the night on the frightening mountain, hanging on lines and wondering what the morning would bring.This is not a simple disaster story, and there is no happy ending. What is unique is that while Bowley wasn't there, he was able to interview most of the members of the various teams, getting insight on what they were feeling and how they addressed proceeding through disaster. Additionally, he interviewed families of the survivors and those who died, getting their impressions and insight. This creates a fast paced read that isn't simply one eyewitness account but rather than unbiased compilation of many voices, a fuller picture that demonstrates both the power of nature and the desire of man to conquer it. Reading it exposes more than just the climb, it explores the personalities and reasons why some choose to explore such danger.Half-way through the book is a photo section that would have been better placed at the front, just to put a name with faces. Seeing the photos made the tragedy more personal. Included is a group picture at Base Camp Four who were determined to ascend the following day. "They had broken out of comfortable lives to venture to a place few of us would dare go in our lives. they had confronted their mortality, immediately and up close."Reading this makes you shiver from the cold and the suspense, even if you know the ending. This would be a great summer read, just for the chilling effect it would have on a hot day! It'll make you ponder the whole concept of how you identify 'adventure'.more
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