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Books - K2 and Everest

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Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Redleg Bruce » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:29 pm

So I just purchased "Into Thin Air" and "K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountian". Anyone read either of these and what did they think?
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:38 pm

Both very good. But my favorite Everest book was "Everest - Eighty Years of Triumph and Tragedy" by Peter and Leni Gilman (amazon link). This is a 2001 update of a book that originally came out in 1993, and is a coffee-table-size collection of writing and pictures from the whole history of Everest climbing (including a short version of the "Into Thin Air" story by Krakauer). And though it's getting quite dated, it also has fascinating lists of summiters, deaths, oxygen-free, female, solo, etc., ascents. I've owned a copy since it came out, and I think I'll go look at it right now. :D
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Jelgan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:43 pm

I read Thin Air about 10 years ago and thought it was well done at the time. A couple years later I also read The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev which is about the same set of expeditions from another of the survivor's point of views. I found both to be good reads, though I haven't read a lot of other mountaineering books (or much non-fiction of any sort to be honest) to compare them too.

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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby zacob » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:45 pm

I have as most on here I think, read Into thin air. After reading that I suggest you read the other side of the story in the book The Climb by Boukreev
amazon the climb
it is not as well written as into thin air but offers a differing view point. I personally didn't like In to thin air it wasn't a bad read but compared to other works I felt it was a little lacking.

here are few of my favorites all ones I have read at least twice:
minus 148 by Davidson (first winter ascent of Big Mac)
the last Step by Ridgeway (first American Ascent of K2)
Nanda Devi the tragic expedition by Roskelly
And of course the ever popular
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (btw if you ever meet him and he invites you to climb politely decline)

I have read K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain but it really doesn't stick out in my mind. It is more a collection of stories about events that have taken place on K2 many of which I have read the books about the events or read other accounts of the events so it all blurs together. That said it is a good book and you should enjoy reading it especially if you aren't overly familiar with the history of K2.
Last edited by zacob on Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Guitarzan » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:47 pm

"Into Thin Air" is a excellent read (probably one of Krakauer's best) although I thought Anatoli Boukreev's book "The Climb" is probably the best of all the books written regarding the tragedy in 96.
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Shawnee Bob » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:53 pm

Redleg Bruce wrote:So I just purchased "Into Thin Air" and "K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountian". Anyone read either of these and what did they think?

Into Thin Air is an excellent book -- well written and reported.
K2 is a good collection of mountaineering history. Not so much of a narrative, but more of a straight historical account (in capsules) of famous climbs on K2. I thought it was worth reading.
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Presto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:57 pm

Both books are good. Here's a few more of K2 and Everest from my library:

K2: Triumph and Tragedy (Jim Curran)
The Endless Knot: K2 Mountain of Dreams and Destiny (Kurt Diemberger)
K2: Dreams and Reality (Jim Haberl)
K2: The 1939 Tragedy (Kauffman/Putnam)
Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2 (Jennifer Jordan)

+1 on the Rick Ridgway book (Last Step).

A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond (Jim Whittaker)
Beyond the Limits, A Woman’s Triumph on Everest (Stacy Allison)
The Conquest of Everest (Sir John Hunt)
Everest, Mountain without Mercy (Coburn/Breashears)
Everest, Southwest Face (Chris Bonington)
Everest: Summit of Achievement (Stephen Venables)
Everest: The Moutaineering History (Walt Unsworth)
Everest: The West Ridge (Thomas Hornbein)
First on Everest: The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine (Holzel/Salkeld)
To the Top of the World (Reinhold Messner)
Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey (Goran Knapp)
View from the Summit (Sir Edmond Hillary)
Tenzing Norgay and the Sherpas of Everest (Tashi Tenzing)

+1 on Nanda Devi.
+1 on The Climb.

Happy trails! :D
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby stlouishiker » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:01 pm

Presto wrote:A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond (Jim Whittaker)
Beyond the Limits, A Woman’s Triumph on Everest (Stacy Allison)
The Conquest of Everest (Sir John Hunt)
Everest, Mountain without Mercy (Coburn/Breashears)
Everest, Southwest Face (Chris Bonington)
Everest: Summit of Achievement (Stephen Venables)
Everest: The Moutaineering History (Walt Unsworth)
Everest: The West Ridge (Thomas Hornbein)
First on Everest: The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine (Holzel/Salkeld)
To the Top of the World (Reinhold Messner)
Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey (Goran Knapp)
View from the Summit (Sir Edmond Hillary)
Tenzing Norgay and the Sherpas of Everest (Tashi Tenzing)

+1 on Nanda Devi.
+1 on The Climb.

Happy trails! :D


In addition to all those, I liked Doctor on Everest. That was written by a doctor on an expedition so that was a different angle than you regular climber.

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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Presto » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:07 pm

I'll have to try that one ... thanks stlouishiker!
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby JB99 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:48 pm

Addicted to Danger by Jim Wickwire is really good. It includes his account of his K2 climb and bivy over 27k and many of his other exploits. Marty Hoey's death on Everest in the Great Couloir and Chris Kerrebrock's death on Denali are both pretty heartbreaking stories but well told in that book.
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby Redleg Bruce » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:08 pm

JB99 wrote:Addicted to Danger by Jim Wickwire is really good. It includes his account of his K2 climb and bivy over 27k and many of his other exploits. Marty Hoey's death on Everest in the Great Couloir and Chris Kerrebrock's death on Denali are both pretty heartbreaking stories but well told in that book.

Sounds good, I think I'll pick that one up. For some reason I feel like I am more drawn to books about accidents. Maybe it has something to do with learning from others' mistakes?

zacob wrote:And of course the ever popular
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (btw if you ever meet him and he invites you to climb politely decline)

I have read "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson. Is the comment about him asking you to climb a joke? Sorry, I couldn't tell, and if not, why do you say that? Some kind of personal experience?
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Re: Books - K2 and Everest

Postby zacob » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:25 pm

Redleg Bruce wrote:
JB99 wrote:Addicted to Danger by Jim Wickwire is really good. It includes his account of his K2 climb and bivy over 27k and many of his other exploits. Marty Hoey's death on Everest in the Great Couloir and Chris Kerrebrock's death on Denali are both pretty heartbreaking stories but well told in that book.

Sounds good, I think I'll pick that one up. For some reason I feel like I am more drawn to books about accidents. Maybe it has something to do with learning from others' mistakes?


+1 great book, funny how alot of the story tellers overlap Many of the older authors or individuals climbed together in the late 70's early 80's (wickwire, roskelly, ridgeway, whitticar, hoey...)

Redleg Bruce wrote:
zacob wrote:And of course the ever popular
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (btw if you ever meet him and he invites you to climb politely decline)

I have read "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson. Is the comment about him asking you to climb a joke? Sorry, I couldn't tell, and if not, why do you say that? Some kind of personal experience?


It was a joke with a large portion of truth. I haven’t meet or climbed with him, I have read a few of his other books (this game of Ghost) as well as other stories about the man, He has to be a cat and he has to have used up at least 8 lives. There is the story as told in touching the void, there is another story about an attempt on either the Dru or Eiger can't remember which, where the bivy ledge he and his partner were on just collapsed in the middle of the night leaving them hanging by a lose piton and a manky stopper. There are plenty of other equally frightening stories about him, seems no matter where he goes or where he climbs the proverbial pooh hits the fan.

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