Synopses & Reviews
Narrative non-fiction at its most gripping. Journalist Jennifer Jordan chronicles the individual stories of the five courageous women who have climbed K2, the most fearsome mountain in the world.
Climbers call K2 "The Savage Mountain." It is not quite as tall as Everest, but 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. 90 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 tells their tragic and compelling stories. The women are forced to deal with harsh conditions from the mountain and from the men climbing around them, often being treated unfairly or discriminated against in their struggle to get to the summit. Savage Summit also attempts 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? Arefemale 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? And, if women are as capable as men of climbing this most deadly peak, who will be next to attempt the long trek to the summit?
Through their victory and disaster, success and heartbreak, this is the story of the five brave women who have triumphed, through strength of spirit and will, over the many obstacles presented by the Savage Mountain, and the stories of those attempting to follow them.
“Jordan...gives us a sense of the rapture that comes from standing on top of the worlds highest mountains.” Los Angeles Times
“For mountain-climbing enthusiasts and womens history buffs, Jordans well-researched survey is worthwhile reading...” Publishers Weekly
“SAVAGE SUMMIT fills an interesting and neglected place in mountaineering literature.” American Alpine Club Magazine
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.
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.
An exhilarating story of victory and disaster, success and heartbreak, Savage Summit is a moving tribute to the five brave women who achieved the near-impossible by climbing the world's most feared mountain.
About the Author
Jennifer Jordan has twice lived at the base of K2 while researching Savage Summit as well as writing and producing the National Geographic documentary Women of K2. She is a writer, producer, and news personality, having anchored NPR's All Things Considered, written cover stories for various Boston publications, and created, produced, and hosted her own public-radio talk show. Jennifer lives in Salt Lake City with filmmaker and mountaineer/adventurer Jeff Rhoads.