“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.” — Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed
“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
In the tradition of Into Thin Air and Touching the Void, No Way Down by New York Times reporter Graham Bowley is the harrowing account of the worst mountain climbing disaster on K2, second to Everest in height... but second to no peak in terms of danger. From tragic deaths to unbelievable stories of heroism and survival, No Way Down is an amazing feat of storytelling and adventure writing, and, in the words of explorer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”
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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.About the Author:
Graham Bowley is a reporter for the New York Times. He grew up in England and lives in New York with his wife and three children.
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