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Item #: OP438D-9579
THE LAST STEP: THE AMERICAN ASCENT OF K2 1980 1st ed Near Fine Chipped DJ SIGNED by Rick Ridgeway Multiple copies available
By Ridgeway, Rick
Price: $35.00

List Price: $75.00
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Detailed Product Description
Seattle, 1980, 1st edition. 301 pp, 32 ills. Hardcover with dust jacket. The Dust Jacket has edge wear and small chips. This jacket nearly always has. Book is Near Fine. There is no other writing in the book except Rick's signature on the title page. The dust jacket was made from a stiff glossy paper stock, and printed with a heavy coat of black ink. It became brittle. This happened so soon that I was scrounging replacement dust jackets from the publisher in the 1980's and 1990's, ten years after it was printed. That was 42 years ago. Both the dust jacket, and myself, have gotten stiff and a bit worn with the years. 




This copy is SIGNED by Rick Ridgeway, book author, and the twelfth person to climb K2, still considered the most difficult and dangerous 8000m peak.  


Rick Ridgeway and Michael Chessler in the library of the American Alpine Club on the morning of Wednesday May 11, 2022. Rick is signing copies of his new book, Life Lived Wild. He also Signed copies of his other books, The Boldest Dream, The Last Step, Below Another Sky, and the National Geographic Magazine from May 1979, with Rick on the cover. 

This was the fourth major American attempt to climb K2, in 1938, 1939 and 1953, The first American ascent of K2 placed 4 climbers on top: Rick Ridgeway, John Roskelley, Jim Wickwire and Lou Reichardt. On September 6 and 7, 1978 Lou Reichardt, Jim Wickwire, Rick Ridgeway and John Roskelley were the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th climbers to climb K2. It was only the third successful expedition. 

In 68 years only 377 climbers have climbed K2, and only 4 of them have climbed it twice.  Ninety-one climbers have died on K2, thirty-one after already summiting. Almost 10% of the climbers who have summited K2 have died on the way down! 

Conflict, hardship, endurance, triumph, it's all here in Ridgeway's extraordinary story. 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.  Until this book the conflicts and other nasty parts of climbing on major expeditions was always kept hidden. This book did a lot to finally reveal how un-pleasurable high altitude climbing can be. 

After we were finished signing books on May 11, 2022, I mentioned to Rick about how one of the climbers from this expedition has always refused to sign the book for me. I assumed it was some ethical issue about him risking his life and doing the climbing only to see me get filthy rich selling books that he had signed. Rick told me no, that's not it. He has always been so pissed off about what Rick said about his personality quirks on the expedition that he just refuses to sign the book. Oy vey. 

That has come up before. For some years Reinhold Messner refused to sign the book of his greatest climbing partner, Peter Habeler, because of a comments Peter made in his book about how hammered Messner was after they climbed Everest without Oxygen. When everybody is saying you are the greatest climber in the world, you can get pissed when people say that you have weaknesses too. 

A Reviewer writes about The Last Step, '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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