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Item #: OP438G-942
LAST STEP: THE AMERICAN ASCENT OF K2 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine SIGNED by Rick Ridgeway w/postcard
By Ridgeway, Rick
Price: $59.00

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Seattle, 1980, 1st edition. 301 pp, 32 ills. The 1st American ascent of K2 placed 4 on top: Ridgeway, Roskelley, Wickwire and Reichardt. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

SIGNED on the free FEP by Rick Ridgeway, and includes a postcard from Ridgeway to the former owner and high altitude physiologist Drummond Rennie.


 
Conflict, hardship, endurance, triumph, it's all here in Ridgeway's extraordinary story. In September 1978, Rick Ridgeway, Jim Wickwire, Lou Reichardt and John Roskelley stood atop K2, the first Americans ever to achieve this victory. Under the leadership of Jim Whittaker, they and their teammates had spent 67 days on the mountain, nearly all of them above 18,000 feet, where the stresses of high-altitude living, of monotonous food, of confinement in tiny tents for day after day of frustrating storms had worn them down to the core.
 
The Last Step is Rick Ridgeway's inside story of this extraordinary expedition. It's about the people who, battered by the mountain and their isolation, overcame their individual fears, desire, and disappointments to work together to get somebody - anybody to the top of K2. It's about the glorious success the team achieved, and about the perilous bivouac Jim Wickwire spent just below the summit without food, oxygen or shelter in temperatures of -40F.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most riveting mountaineering books around. Not for the climbing, which is in and of itself gripping, but for the slice of human drama found in the deterioration of relationships amongst various members of the expedition. At times, one is mesmerized by the bad behavior displayed at such high altitudes! One would think that these expeditioners were on Melrose Place, rather than fighting for their place in mountaineering history on K2, one of the most perilous mountains in the world to ascend. Central to all the squabbling, was the love triangle which developed on the expedition, which was perceived by some of the expeditioners to be an extra marital affair in progress. Though this later proved to be true, at the time it was the source of much denial and hard feelings.

It further split the team, which was already divided over who would be chosen to summit, and eroded already existing friendships, while preventing new ones which might have otherwise developed. On top of all this, add in poor weather which caused them to spend about sixty seven days on the mountain, mostly at altitudes over eighteen thousand feet, and you have a recipe for disaster. These expeditioners, however, managed to become the first Americans to ascend K2. Their success in achieving their objective, despite the trials and tribulations which they endured, is testament to their fortitude in putting aside petty, mean spirited concerns and inter-personal conflicts. This painstaking account of the first time summit of K2 by Americans is a must read for all climbing enthusiasts and readers of this genre.

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