Author(s): Mick Conefrey
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 Wiessener'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 -- 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 world's most beautiful and lethal mountain.
Mick Conefrey is the author of "Everest 1953," "How to Climb Mont Blanc in a Skirt, " and "The Adventurer'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.