This is the tale of Mark Horrell’s not-so-nearly ascent of Gasherbrum in Pakistan, of how one man’s boredom and frustration was conquered by a gutsy combination of exhaustion, cowardice, and sheer mountaineering incompetence.
He made not one, not two, but three intrepid assaults, some of which got quite a distance beyond Base Camp, and overcame many perilous circumstances along the way. The mountaineer Joe Simpson famously crawled for three days with a broken leg, but did he ever have to read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown while waiting for a weather window?
But that’s enough about Mark’s attempt; there were some talented climbers on the mountain as well, and this story is also about them. How did they get on? Heroes, villains, oddballs and madmen – 8,000m peaks attract them all, and drama, intrigue and cock-ups aplenty were inevitable.