This book was a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I appreciated the research and all the interesting information it had.
The mistakes made that led to the tragedy itself I found to be eerily reminiscent of the 1996 Everest tragedy (tons of climbers on ascent, problems with ropes not being fixed, traffic jam slowing progress toward summit dramatically, etc.). Surprising that the climbers were not able to see the parallels.
It's true that most accounts of mountaineering adventure in the Himalyas (this is the first book I've read about K2, in the Karakorams) don't tell you much about the sherpas. They're documented as support staff, and they're listed when killed, but you never find out much about them as persons, as family people. I'm very pleased that someone went to the trouble to do the research and tell us the story of some of those who are the backbone of almost all high altitude expeditions.
The lone exception I've found to my general observation, and a book very much worth reading, is "Touching My Father's Soul," by Jamling Tenzig Norgay, son of Hillary's climbing partner back in 1953. It's Jamling's account of the disastrous events on Everest in May 1996, when he was the lead sherpa for David Breashears' expedition to film the climb for the IMAX feature "Everest." I've read perhaps eight different books written by climbers on the mountain during that time (including Breashears' own), and I found Jamling's to be the best. Excellent writing, but also some extra depth, no doubt related to his culture and his family history.
The book starts out a little slow as the author goes into the background of many of the climbers involved, however when the actual events of the climb start, the book is very good. I have read several accounts of the events leading up to the death of all the climbers and this book is by far the best I have read.
fantastic book. Highly recommended.
You can sense easily the cold of the mountain and the strength of the Sherpas. Loved this book
Excellent book-a highly recommended read. The writing is well researched and full of heart and concern for the sherpas.
Amazing story. Clearly the truth is stranger than fiction. It somehow still surprises me what people will do for money. In particular that the sherpas, the experts of the region, seem to have minimal say in what they do once on a trek, or even what basic safety equipment is mandatory, even if it means leaving behind someone's generator or Ikea inflatable couch. God God, don't get em started. To press on when they could see that not everyone was up to the task, to press on when one thing after another seemed to be telling them to turn back because the climbers paid for it. I figure that increased tourism increases prices for the sherpas and creates an endless cycle of perceived need.
I very much enjoyed the gripping tale, but came away thinking that the average person who wants to climb Everest, much less K2 is an idiot, and the sherpas are misguided in helping them.
The mountain is littered with all the things that the climbers can't be bothered to carry back with them (the dead are the least of it). People sleep in sewage at the higher camps, what, to say they have been there? Idiotic in my view.
Hard to put down read not only for mountaineers, but also for anyone who might care about people from other parts of the world struggling for their livelihood and dignity, in face of great obstacles. Sherpas understanding of their mountains in the light of legends and religious taboos were fascinating, and they put mountaineering workers and the big mountains into a different light: for some more romantic and for others more tragic.
The book, though focused on the 20008 K2 tragedy, was a lot more than a climber's book. It gave a political and tribal history of the mountain people, and included touching personal stories of several Nepali, Tibetan, and Pakistani high altitude
workers that took part in the ill-fated K2 climb. Since the authors explored ethical concerns of mountaineering, and also of treatment of the Sherpas and other high altitude workers, they included relevant stories from climbing Mt. Everest and other world's highest peaks. Unforgettable tribute to the high altitude mountain workers.
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