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NO WAY DOWN: LIFE AND DEATH ON K2 Graham Bowley 2010 Hardcover DJ Fine
By Bowley, Graham
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Detailed Product Description
2010. 288 pp, color photos. 

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. 

“No Way Down is both a gripping read and a clear-eyed investigation of the hubris, politics, and bad luck that brought on one of the worst disasters in modern mountaineering history. Bowley’s representation of the blunders and heroism of the larger-than-life characters involved in the days-long drama on K2 is both unsentimental and sympathetic. The book provides a compelling education in the game of climbing on the world’s highest mountains to readers who have never tied into a rope, and is an essential addition to any mountaineer’s bookshelf.”
 
— Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed
 
“Graham Bowley has written a page-turning, utterly fresh take on the mountaineering experience, an Into Thin Air for a new century of adventurers, about a mountain even more treacherous than Everest. This is careful, judicious reporting and writing that honors an incredibly harrowing story of survival, and lifts one’s spirits by putting us in the presence of such a majestic mountain, and the men and women trapped—and determined—to survive.”— Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers
“The 2008 disaster on K2 was one of the worst tragedies in mountaineering history. Thanks to his assiduous research, Graham Bowley has put together the most comprehensive account of the mystifying chain of events leading to the catastrophe that we shall ever have. It’s a gripping story, full of hope and heartbreak, folly and heroism.”
— David Roberts, co-author with Ed Viesturs of K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain

“Graham Bowley’s No Way Down does a great job of putting you on the mountain. It is a refreshingly unadorned account of the true brutality of climbing K2, where heroes emerge and egos are stripped down, and the only thing achieving immortality is the cold ruthless mountain.” — Norman Ollestad, author of Crazy for the Storm

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