Synopses & Reviews
"Most of us will never experience K2. Mick Conefrey leaves readers with both tremendous admiration for and an appreciation of the consequences for those who succeed in an adventure so physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.and#8221;
and#151; Kirkus Reviews
At 28,251 feet, K2 might be almost 800 feet shorter than Everest, but it is a far tougher proposition. Unlike Everest, there is no "Yak route" for commercial clients. It is hard climbing all the way from its base to its summit. K2 will kill you on the way up and kill you on the way down. Mick Conefrey tells the story of three extraordinary expeditions filled with riveting drama and unimaginable tragedy: Fritz Wiessenerand#8217;s controversial attempt of 1939, the disastrous American expedition of 1953, and the huge Italian expedition of 1954 on which K2 was first climbed. He captures the bold and eccentric characters and#151; their friendships and rivalries, their guilt and betrayals. At the center of the narrative is Charlie Houston, who led the failed 1953 exhibition, who was forced to give up his ambition of ever reaching the summit, and who was haunted for the rest of his life by the ghosts of the worldand#8217;s most beautiful and lethal mountain.
"Conefrey ably tells the story of the many attempts by hardy souls (and outsized characters) to reach the peak of this most formidable mountain. .... [He] writes skillfully about mountaineering, and he knows its history and its many players, stars and bit actors alike. He successfully conveys the complexity and obstacles that these brave men faced.... Conefrey makes the stakes clear and reveals the many rivalries and tensions that plagued even the best-equipped teams.... Most of us will never experience K2. Conefrey leaves readers with both tremendous admiration for and an appreciation of the consequences for those who succeed in an adventure so physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.and#8221;
and#151; Kirkus Reviews
"and#145;Only unbridled ambition is going to get you up K2. And the stories of the early attempts and the eventual success illustrate the complexity of the mountain and the climbers who chose to risk it all. GHOSTS OF K2 brings them back to life."
and#151;Peter Edmund Hillary, mountaineer, expedition leader, philanthropist and author of In the Ghost Country
"There is a haunting tone to the very name K2, this impossible mountain upon the flanks of which so many lives have been lost. In this wonderful book Mick Conefrey manages to turn the sound of tragedy into a celebration of hope, a triumph of the spirit."
and#151;Wade Davis, author of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest
"Six expeditions drawn from two continents and three countries and spread out over a half century attempted to reach the summit of the world's second highest mountain. Six climbers died in those attempts. Bitter controversies arose as to who was to blame for death and failure. Even the expedition that finally pulled off the first ascent in 1954 sparked a dispute between its leading members that played out for the next half century. Mick Conefrey judiciously and lucidly unravels this tangled tale of courage and conflict. And he displays, once again as in his earlier works, a consummate ability to tell a ripping good climbing yarn."
and#151;Maurice Isserman, co-author of Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes
"K2, as I know from personal experience of climbing it, is a seriously dangerous mountain. The second highest peak, yet perhaps the first prize to any serious mountaineer. This book engagingly portrays the grim, fascinating, tragic history of K2."
and#151;Alan Hinkes OBE, mountaineer and author of 8000m: Climbing the Worldand#8217;s Highest Mountains
"Calamity, chaos, catastrophe, controversy, calumny and#151; the history of the most difficult and dangerous of high Himalayan peaks has all these in spades. Mick Conefrey relates the often unedifying, occasionally heroic saga leading to its first ascent with great panache and lucid analysis of little-known material. A significant contribution to mountaineering historical writing."
and#151; Jim Perrin, award-winning author of The Villain: The Life of Don Whillans and Snowdon: The Story of a Welsh Mountain
and#147;An exciting, moving account and#151; a fascinating piece of documentary writing, as readable and poignant as Into Thin Air or Touching the Void.and#8221;
and#151;The Spectator about Everest 1953
and#147;A magnificent book that deserves to become the definitive version.and#8221;
and#151;The Independent about Everest 1953
About the Author
Mick Conefrey is the author of Everest 1953, How to Climb Mont Blanc in a Skirt, and The Adventurerand#8217;s Handbook. An internationally recognized filmmaker, he has produced several BBC documentaries on mountaineering and exploration, including the prize-winning The Ghosts of K2. He lives in Oxford, U.K.