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Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2by Jennifer Jordan
Synopses & Reviews
K2 is called the Savage Mountain and it has earned the name. Though not quite as tall as Everest, it is far more dangerous. Located at the border of China and Pakistan in the remote Karakoram range, K2 has some of the harshest climbing conditions and weather of any place in the world. At the beginning of the 2004 climbing season, ninety women had successfully summited Everest, but only five female climbers had reached the peak of K2. Today, all of those brave pioneers are dead.
In 1986 Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz became the first woman ever to reach the top of K2 and was followed to the summit that same year by French climber Liliane Barrard and British climber Julie Tullis, both of whom died on their way down the mountain. Then in 1992, the summer that Rutkiewicz perished on Kangchenjunga, French alpinist Chantal Mauduit summited K2 and survived, only to die six years later on another 8,000-meter peak. Finally, in 1995 British climber and mother Alison Hargreaves reached the top but was killed shortly after starting her descent from its perilous summit. These courageous, remarkable women can no longer tell their tales of defeating the ferocious mountain. Jennifer Jordan, a journalist and filmmaker, tells the haunting and compelling, sometimes tragic, stories of how these women lived and died on the mountains they pursued.
Mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, poets and engineers, the female pioneers of K2 were complex personalities in the controversial world of high-altitude mountaineering, and their lives and deaths are a reminder of the high price climbers often pay to follow their dreams.
This book was inspired by Jennifer Jordan's 2003 National Geographic documentary special, "The Women of K2."
Climbers call K2 "The Savage Mountain." It is not quite as tall as Everest, but it is far more dangerous, located at the border of China and Pakistan in the deadly Karakoram range, which has the harshest climbing conditions and weather of any place in the world. Ninety women have climbed Everest, but only five female climbers have ever reached the summit of K2 alive. Three of these women died on the way back down the mountain, and the other two have died since their climb. Because these five women who defeated the most ferocious of all mountains have lost their own voices, SAVAGE SUMMIT told their tragic and compelling stories.
The terror and triumph of K2 was revealed through the stories of the few women who have succeeded in climbing it. The women in these stories are forced to deal with harsh conditions from the mountain and from the men climbing around them, often being treated unfairly or discrimated against in their struggle to get to the summit. SAVAGE SUMMIT also attempted to answer tough questions: Do female climbers rely too much on their male climbing partners? Are women prepared for the physiological and emotional rigors of K2? Are female climbers, because of the publicity and sponsorship opportunities afforded them, climbing the mountain without the proper training, endangering their own lives and the lives of those who climb with them?
Though not as tall as Everest, the "Savage Mountain" is far more dangerous. Located on the border of China and Pakistan, K2 has some of the harshest climbing conditions in the world. Ninety women have scaled Everest but of the six women who reached the summit of K2, three lost their lives on the way back down the mountain and two have since died on other climbs.
In Savage Summit, Jennifer Jordan shares the tragic, compelling, inspiring, and extraordinary true stories of a handful of courageous women — mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, poets and engineers — who defeated this formidable mountain yet ultimately perished in pursuit of their dreams.
About the Author
Jennifer Jordan has lived at the base of K2 twice while writing and producing the National Geographic documentary The Women of K2. She is a writer, producer, public speaker, and journalist, having created, produced, and hosted her own public radio talk show. Jennifer lives with her husband, filmmaker and adventurer Jeff Rhoads, in Salt Lake City.
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