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No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2 ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two others, and made headlines around the world.

With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2—the world's second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of ...

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No Way Down: Life and Death on K2

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Overview

In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history, vividly taking readers through the tragic 2008 K2 ascent that claimed the lives of eleven climbers, severely injured two others, and made headlines around the world.

With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2—the world's second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of miles to the south—has lured serious climbers for decades. In 2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad weather, no fewer than ten international teams—some experienced, others less prepared—crowded the mountain's dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and porters, waiting to ascend.

Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the Bottleneck—many without oxygen and some with no headlamps—faced the near impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not.

Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas, porters, and family and friends of the deceased, No Way Down reveals for the first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama.

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Editorial Reviews

Holly Morris
At first I was suspicious of this [book]. How could a nonclimber who wasn't present chronicle this tragic event? But in No Way Down: Life and Death on K2…Graham Bowley relies on a copious study of the events and interviews with survivors and families to artfully and assiduously piece together an account of a fractious day in brutal real time. Fatality by fatality.
—The New York Times
BookPage
“Bowley takes readers right onto the mountain…. As avalanches shear away ropes, darkness falls and rescue attempts succeed and fail, the book becomes impossible to put down….. The vivid story will captivate readers. No Way Down doesn’t just tell a harrowing adventure story-it will also make you think.”
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
“Riveting and powerful; an extraordinary story of an extraordinary tragedy. Reading No Way Down is the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”
Holly Morris
“Bowley relies on a copious study of the events and interviews with survivors and families to artfully and assiduously piece together an account of a fractious day in brutal real time. Fatality by fatality.”
Justin Marozzi
“Unputdownable.... A portrait of extreme courage, folly and loss, leavened by a small dose of survival, as complete a version of the calamitous story as will probably ever emerge. . . . [A] step-by-faltering-step recreation of the thin-air fight to survive, bristling with cinematic immediacy.”
Jan Gardner
“Harrowing.”
Joe Simpson
“An astonishingly dramatic and sad tale of disaster on K2. Bowley expertly puts together the complex story of what happened as eleven people died high on the summit slopes of K2 in August 2008.”
Michael J. Ybarra
“Brisk and engrossing. . . . Mr. Bowley reveals a deep sympathy for his characters and their quest. . . . Entertaining.”
Malcolm Ritter
“[A] fascinating tour de force…. Bowley wove his tale together after hundreds of interviews with dozens of people, and the result is a triumph of storytelling.”
Grayson Schaffer
“A compelling narrative from interviews with most of the survivors. . . . The most complete report of the tragedy to date.”
Michael Kodas
“Both a gripping read and a clear-eyed investigation, No Way Down provides a compelling education in the game of climbing on the world’s highest mountains to readers who have never tied into a rope, and is an essential addition to any mountaineer’s bookshelf.”
Doug Stanton
“A page-turning, utterly fresh take on the mountaineering experience, an Into Thin Air for a new century.”
David Roberts
“The most comprehensive account of the mystifying chain of events leading to the catastrophe that we shall ever have. It’s a gripping story, full of hope and heartbreak, folly and heroism.”
Norman Ollestad
“Graham Bowley’s No Way Down does a great job of putting you on the mountain. It is a refreshingly unadorned account of the true brutality of climbing K2, where heroes emerge and egos are stripped down, and the only thing achieving immortality is the cold ruthless mountain.”
Kurt Diemberger
“A fascinating account that does justice to the history, allure and heartache of K2.”
Sir - Ranulph Fiennes
"Riveting and powerful; an extraordinary story of an extraordinary tragedy. Reading No Way Down is the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day."
Nick Heil
“Through dogged reporting and vivid storytelling, Graham Bowley reconstructs K2’s 2008 climbing season, one of the most disastrous in history. I read this book in a single, sweaty-palmed sitting, and not because I intended to. I simply couldn’t put it down.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062002907
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/29/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 87,721
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Graham Bowley is a reporter for the New York Times. He grew up in England and lives in New York with his wife and three children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 58 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(5)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Chilling adventure

    "Above the Bottleneck was the serac-the blunt overhanging end of a hanging glacier-a shimmering, tottering wave frozen as it crashed over the moutainside, a suspended ice mountain six hundred feet tall...and about half a mile long. It was smooth in places but large parts of it were pitted with cracks and crevasses....This was the way to the summit."

    Journalist Graham Bowley created an intense narrative of the infamous tragedy on K2 in 2008 in this new release No Way Down. Despite being smaller than Mt. Everest, at 28,251 feet, K2 is reputed to be the most terrifying to climb. Twenty-seven members of eight international teams progressed from Base Camp One to Base Camp Four as their bodies adjusted to the increasing lack of oxygen. Then, on a beautiful clear morning they began their final ascent on K2, in a planned order that the groups had agreed upon. They planned to reach the summit and plant their national flags, document the excitement with photographs, and return to Base Camp Four, all by nightfall. No one wanted to be on the mountain after dark.

    Then everything went wrong. A series of bad decisions and unexpected events changed the plan, resulting in the loss of eleven lives, as well as lifelong injuries for two more. Some climbers had to spend the night on the frightening mountain, hanging on lines and wondering what the morning would bring.

    This is not a simple disaster story, and there is no happy ending. What is unique is that while Bowley wasn't there, he was able to interview most of the members of the various teams, getting insight on what they were feeling and how they addressed proceeding through disaster. Additionally, he interviewed families of the survivors and those who died, getting their impressions and insight. This creates a fast paced read that isn't simply one eyewitness account but rather than unbiased compilation of many voices, a fuller picture that demonstrates both the power of nature and the desire of man to conquer it. Reading it exposes more than just the climb, it explores the personalities and reasons why some choose to explore such danger.Half-way through the book is a photo section that would have been better placed at the front, just to put a name with faces. Seeing the photos made the tragedy more personal. Included is a group picture at Base Camp Four who were determined to ascend the following day.

    "They had broken out of comfortable lives to venture to a place few of us would dare go in our lives. they had confronted their mortality, immediately and up close."

    Reading this makes you shiver from the cold and the suspense, even if you know the ending. This would be a great summer read, just for the chilling effect it would have on a hot day! It'll make you ponder the whole concept of how you identify 'adventure'.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    Wonderful read, and couldn't put it down

    While I started another author's version, from the sherpa's viewpoint, on the K2 tragedy of 2008, I could not get it. It was a confusing mess. But reading No Way Down, was honest and a real account of the terrible tragedy. The author discusses what makes people risk their lives for the summit, and wonders how, as I do, what makes these people tick. I admire the courage and bravery, but am saddened by the needless deaths of mountain climbing in the modern age. The peaks have been conquered, so I am facinated with the why. I could not put this book down, and finished in two days, as I began to know the people on the mountain. Gerard McDonnell had so much to give. I am so saddened by his loss, and wish the family well. As with the others. This author has taken the time to gather the facts from the survivors, and doesn't dance around the cruel facts. If you enjoy mountaineering books, as I do, then this is a must for your library. Your bed will feel warm and safe, and you will thank god for all you have in your life. Don't miss this reading of mountain history.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    I am a high school senior, and I had to choose a non-fiction boo

    I am a high school senior, and I had to choose a non-fiction book to read for my English class. We were advised to look for a book pertaining to our ethnography, and mine was on mountaineering. This book was one of the first that came up. I chose it based off the summary and how interesting it sounded. It sparked some lovely note of curiosity inside me, and I'm very glad I picked it up. This book tells the story of what happened on August 1, 2001- the day 11 mountaineers died trying to climb the world's most dangerous mountain. The author, Journalist Graham Bowley, gives a vivid description of what went wrong on K2, from multiple points of view. He did a great job patching together so many different accounts of the same story. Bowley did his research well, and in the book, also talks about the history of the mountain- such as where it got its name, and accounts of previous climbing attempts. Despite not having much- if any- mountaineering experience, he knew what he was talking about and was familiar with the vernacular. It was evident throughout that he truly cared about getting the story out there, as close to what really happened as possible. Bowley made the people come to life, telling the story with little details, doing his best to only use exact quotes from each person (this, among other things, is explained in his introduction). He was an exceptional choice as an author of this story, in part because he is a journalist and also because he wasn't up there himself, so did not develop a skewed point of view of the series of events. Anyone who has ever wondered why some mountaineers are crazy enough to risk their lives for something that seems so hopeless should have this book on their shelf. I, for one, am pleased I decided to buy this book instead of borrow it from the library.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Good mountaineering book

    I read many books about mountaineering, but I wasn't familiar with this incident that took place on K-2 when so many people died after an avalanche took out the fixed lines that they had been depending on to help them get down from the summit. The book tells us what happened and who the people were it happened too, and increases my awe that anyone would ever try to climb this extremely dangerous mountain. If you're an armchair mountaineer like me, you'll enjoy this book.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Very interesting book.

    It is difficult to understand why people would put themselves through an experience such as this, especially for non-climbers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Josh k.

    Im here

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Jake

    Yeah. Idk y

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2014

    Sin

    *Waits patiently.*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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