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Item #: BK2465
SURVIVING K2 SIGNED by van Rooijen, Wilco, Roger Thurman 2010
By van Rooijen, Wilco (Author, Illustrator), Roger Thurman (Editor)
Price: $39.95


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2010. 196 pp. In English. Surviving K2 On August 2, 2008, on K2, a series of catastrophic avalanches and ice falls seemed to have killed 12 mountaineers. Then an orange dot was spotted on the mountain, off route, relentlessly moving down in the direction of Camp 3 on the Cesen route.  
 
In the summer of 2008 the Norit K2 Expedition, led by Wilco van Rooijen, climbed the 8611 metre high K2 in Pakistan, without supplementary oxygen. The descent witnessed one of the worst tragedies in recent climbing history. On average one in four of those who summit dies on the killer mountain. In 2008, while the world held its breath, from CNN, Al-Jazeera, Sky News to Dutch TV News, no less than 11 climbers succumbed. For three days Wilco van Rooijen was reported missing; and the outside world had all but given up hope of ever seeing him alive again.
 
But at the end of his strength, he successfully returned from the death zone. The Dutch Norit K2 Expedition ultimately paid a high price. What exactly happened on that first day of August 2008? Could the drama have been avoided? Through a gripping and raw style of writing Wilco van Rooijen has told a compelling and revealing story. Surviving K2 is an epic. Wilco van Rooijen (1967) is one of few professional Dutch adventurers. He has climbed the highest summits, from the Alps to the Himalayas. And was the first to reach the three poles on his own efforts; the geographic North and South poles and the highest; Mount Everest, without supplementary oxygen!
 
The survival of Wilco Van Rooijen was nothing short of miraculous. In a harrowing, eye witness account, Van Rooijen describes his 3-day ordeal in the Death Zone. The book, Surviving K2, was published in English from the original Dutch. New paperback, only edition.
 
SIGNED BY WILCO VAN ROOIJEN!
 
ExWeb correspondent Amanda Padoan interviews the author and ultimate survivor:
 
1. Was this book hard to write? Very hard to write a book about 11 men dying, especially when I knew all of them. We spent so much time together in Base Camp, waiting for the weather to impove. My objective was to explain how this disaster happened and how Gerard McDonnell, my dear friend and climbing partner, was killed. It took a lot of work. I needed to verify information, separate fact from fiction, and speak with other survivors. For my own experience, I used my memories, diary notes and data from my Polar Outdoor Sportswatch. Once I crossed the line -- hallucinating and almost losing consciousness--I did not know day from night or my location. But luckily, that watch was recording the altitude every 15 minutes, so when I reached Base Camp after 3 days in the Death Zone, I downloaded the whole action file to understand what was happening to me.
 
2. The book include diary entries from your wife as she waited for word of your survival --or death. How did you feel when you first read it? It touched my soul and it still does. She had no news for 36 hours. She was waiting day and night with our baby Teun, who 7 months old when I left for K2. When I returned home--returned from the dead, in a sense--I read the entry in which she was telling me goodbye. It made me shiver.
 
3. Your decision to summit K2 late in the day was controversial. Can you justify it? We reached the summit at 6:39 pm. We were confident about descending in darkness, because we set the ropes and planned to clip in, following them back to Camp 4. The problem was the falling serac tore out our fixed lines. It seemed almost illogical that ice chunks would cleave off at 9 p.m. when the temperature was decreasing. Normally, if the seracs are unstable this will happen during the heat of the day.
 
4. Did you did discuss a turnaround time? We did discuss a turnaround time, but considered our decision to continue safe. A Turnaround time on K2 must be distinguished from a turnaround time on Everest, where expedition leaders must provide their clients a precise time to descend before they run out of bottled oxygen. On K2, my team was climbing by fair means.
 
5. The final hours of Ger McDonnell is an important component of your book. Based on your research, what happened? In my book, I describe evidence that Gerard completed the rescue of at least two men, who were tangled in the fixed line. Marco Confortola rendered assistance to these men too, but he had to descend. Later, Big Pasang Bhote, a porter assisting in the rescues, saw Gerard alive and descending with the survivors. Big Pasang radioed Pemba Gyaljie, who was rescuing Marco at the time. We have photographic evidence of Ger's continued rescue efforts. Gerard's heroism initially went unreported, in part because they were not alive to tell their story. Big Pasang, Ger and the others were killed by falling ice and avalanches on the descent.
 
6. You sustained severe frostbite on K2. How was your recovery? Losing all your toes is horrible. It s all phalanges on one foot. Technical climbing on the left foot is very hard because I can t put pressure on the front side. Ice climbing is even harder. I want to try ice climbing again next year. With front pointing with crampons, it s very hard if you miss your phalange --Amanda Padoan
 
 

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