Ghosts of K2

  • by Mick Conefrey
  • Narrated by Barnaby Edwards
  • 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At 28,251 feet, K2 might be almost 800 feet shorter than Everest, but it's a far harder climb. It will kill you on the way up and the way down.
Mick Conefrey guides us through the early story of the legendary mountain and the extraordinary attempts that led up to its first ascent in 1954 - these are tales of riveting drama and unimaginable tragedy.
Starting with the ill-fated attempts of the drug-addicted occultist Aleister Crowley and the wealthy Italian Duke of Abruzzi, the book then focusses on the three dramatic expeditions of 1939, 1953 and 1954.
The thread joining them together is the American Charlie Houston - a brilliant but tortured expedition leader who dreamed of being the first man to make it all the way to the top.
Based on exclusive interviews with surviving team members and their families and access to diaries and letters that have been archived around the world, this is a narrative that evokes the true atmosphere of the 'Savage Mountain' and explores the complicated legacy of the first ascent.
Wrought with tension and populated by tragic heroes and eccentric dreamers, Ghosts of K2 is a masterpiece of mountaineering literature.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The story behind the story - very good

I read the previous book (Everest) first and so had high expectations.

The obvious research really shows that the author knows his stuff and weaves the information into an intriguing series of events. Not quite the exciting story as Everest as the climax was lacking, but that's not the point of the book, that's the set up for the story behind the story.

The end is great and truly compelling. It's fantastic to peel back the layers around the team that you come to know well through the initial adventure, only to see them in differing light- some from several view points.

Highly recommended
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- Andrew

Not as hard going as the Abruzzi Ridge, but close

This is a reasonably thorough account of the various abortive attempts to climb K2 before the eventual successful Italian climb in 1953. The author does a diligent but rather tedious job of detailing the personality clashes on the various expeditions, but really does not bring to life the sheer endeavour required on any big mountain, let alone "The Beast". The various dramas (and they are truly dramatic) are rather lifeless affairs.

The book has the summit attained about two thirds of the way through, so I was a bit puzzled about what remained. In fact, it was a very long description of the acrimonious debate about whether the two successful summiteers used oxygen all the way to the top or not; a debate that grumbled on for over 40 years. The later attempts in the 90s and beyond are truly dramatic but disposed of as an after-thought at the end of the book.

As a high altitude mountaineer myself (a while ago now and not in K2 territory) the sheer majesty of being high on such mountains, the awe-inspiring grandeur of Concordia and the Baltoro glacier are barely touched here.

All in all, easily the dullest mountaineering book I have read. Try Joe Simpson; Touching the Void and you will see what I mean.
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- Derrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 15-10-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios