• by Ed Viesturs, David Roberts
  • Narrated by Fred Sanders
  • 12 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A thrilling chronicle of the tragedy-ridden history of climbing K2, the world's most difficult and unpredictable mountain, by the best-selling author of No Shortcuts to the Top.At 28,251 feet, the world's second-tallest mountain, K2 thrusts skyward out of the Karakoram Range of northern Pakistan. Climbers regard it as the ultimate achievement in mountaineering, with good reason. Four times as deadly as Everest, K2 has claimed the lives of 77 climbers since 1954.In August 2008, 11 climbers died in a single 36-hour period on K2 - the worst single-event tragedy in the mountain's history and the second-worst in the long chronicle of mountaineering in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. Yet summiting K2 remains a cherished goal for climbers from all over the globe.Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as "the holy grail of mountaineering". In K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2's most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering - questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory.Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal colle...


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Facinating and educational!

Clear headed, well balanced writing that includes historical story telling about this facinating mountain and the human persuits of climbing it from beginning. Ed's personal endevours are painted with a humble and realistic touch that leaves me full of awe and respect of the natures wonders (in this case the awsome K2). Also that the human ego has no place in it.
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- M. Arnelöf

My first foray into mountaineering history

Would you listen to K2 again? Why?

Maybe. It was a fascinating story, especially since I didn't know much about mountaineering beforehand and was way more familiar with Mt. Everest. There were a lot of wisdom gems about living life.

What did you like best about this story?

I like learning about the history of nearly anything, but I had never read about the history of mountaineering before. Seeing "Everest" in 2015 piqued my interest in other 8000ers, and after researching a bit, I figured this book would be a good entrance into the subject, and I was right. I liked how Viesturs writing made everything understandable and relatable. Given how lazy I tend to be, I didn't expect to see myself in any of the climbers he mentioned, but surprisingly, I did; I found I could empathize quite a bit.

Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?


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- M. Moore

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-13-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio