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“I would like to request for both professional and non-professional mountaineers please respect the expedition philosophy, that means respect the mountain and try to understand the mountain, respect your own physical and climbing ability in high altitude, try to be good decision maker, summit is only halfway, one mountain thousand summits… ” – Pemba Gyalje Sherpa
In the early morning hours of August 1st, 2008, more than three dozen men readied in the starry darkness for their final ascent to the summit of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. In little more than 24 hours, 11 climbers would be dead. News of the K2 catastrophe rocketed through the international media. The annals of high altitude mountaineering are filled with stories of storm and slaughter – but this tragedy occurred in perfect weather, under bright, windless skies. What happened? How had the mountain killed so many, so quickly?
The insider’s account of what really happened on K2 is many things: a dark portrayal of the hubris, racial tensions and ethical ambiguities that threaten to consume modern mountaineering, and a honest portrait of how heroism can transcend those divisions. It is not only a tale of high-stakes mountain adventure, but also a chronicle of the grief and anguish experienced by the families of lost climbers, the guilt that haunts those who survive, and society’s macabre attraction to tragedy and how it can subvert the truth. Authored by alpinist and veteran climbing writer Freddie Wilkinson, One Mountain Thousand Summits is a thought-provoking study of modern morality told at the break-neck pace of an action thriller, and an urgent work of investigative non-fiction.