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K2: LIFE AND DEATH ON THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MOUNTAIN Ed Viesturs & David Roberts 2009 New Hardcover Multiple copies available
By Viesturs, Ed and David Roberts
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2009. 352 pp, color photos. 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. New hardcover with DJ.

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 . New hardcover with DJ.

Publishers Weekly

Facing the world's second-highest peak, the Karakoram Range's K2 in Northern Pakistan, mountain climbers encounter incredible dangers, including a huge serac (an overhanging glacier), snow-obscured crevasses, whiteouts and avalanches that have killed even accomplished mountaineers. With clarity and compassion, renowned peak-scaler Viesturs recounts campaigns up K2's 28,000-plus feet from the late 1930s through the tragic 2008 season that saw 11 climbers die in the space of 36 hours.

An American master of the climb, Viesturs shares secrets, inside jokes, history and lore such as the 'psychological protection' afforded by clipping onto rope or handrails, the climbers' habit of 'looking up to see if anything's coming your way,' and the 'miracle' of 'one man with a single ax and a grip of steel stopping the otherwise fatal fall of six teammates and of himself.' Admitting to 'a disturbing fanaticism' that's driven himself and others to tackle the world's fourteen 8000-foot-plus peaks, Viesturs's you-are-there narration communicates effortlessly the enormous effort, and high adventure, of scaling K2.
 
In May 2005 Ed Viesturs became the first American to ascend all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. He lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife and three children.

David Roberts is the author of twenty books on mountaineering, adventure, and history. He has written for National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, and Smithsonian. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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