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One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story Tragedy and True Heroism on K2 Hardcover – July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Hardcover; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451231198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451231192
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wilkinson, a veteran alpinist and mountaineering scribe, closely examines the mysterious tragedy that cost the lives of 11 men on the unforgiving K2, the world's second highest mountain, on August 2008, in his new book. Interviewing not only the survivors and the families of the victims but the heroic Sherpa guides in Nepal, he gives the daunting legacy of the challenging terrain and a blow-byblow account, with clinical accuracy and detail, of the disaster that nearly wiped out the international climbing team. Wilkinson also describes what makes an experienced climber challenge himself to risk death using his technical skills, endurance, and mental stamina while battling bone-chilling cold, altitude sickness, and avalanches. In this powerful rendering of a well-publicized grim event, there is so much said about the courage and heroism of the climbers braving these geological wonders and the media's silence over the neglected native saviors.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"[A] high altitude thrill ride."
-Nick Heil, Author of Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

"From the very start, I found One Mountain Thousand Summits riveting."
-Conrad Anker, Coauthor of The Last Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mt. Everest

"The gritty oeuvre is not only intensely captivating, but also the most comprehensive and introspective account of the disastrous events that took place on K2 [in 2008]."
-Alpinist

"[One Mountain Thousand Summits] delves deeply and without hyperbole into what is really happening to high-altitude mountaineering."
-Ed Douglas, Author of Tenzig: Hero of Everest

"The book is moving and it succeeds thematically. One Mountain Thousand Summits finally offers hop that human dignity can prevail in the rarefied air above eight thousand meters."
-Rock and Ice

"Wilkinson focuses on the generally unsung guides and porters employed by the ill-fated 2008 expeditions, including a potted history of the Sherpas."
-Financial Times

"Freddie Wilkinson is one of his generation's best and most articulate mountaineers. K2 can be a savage mountain. Imagine yourself above 28,000 feet, in a storm, in the dark, and an avalanche has swept away your fixed ropes. Survival is on the line. Is it every man for himself or do you risk it all to help another? There is not one better to search for answers and relive the greatest drama on the world's most dramatic mountain than Freddie. This is a must read for climbers or for anyone who wants to know what it feels like to push yourself to the very edge and the lessons we can learn about ourselves and humanity from extreme adventure."
-Geoff Tabin, Author of Blind Corners: Adventures on Seven Continents

"In his One Mountain Thousand Summits, Freddie Wilkinson tells us what really happened high on K2 in August 2008 when eleven climbers lost their lives... Especially compelling is the credence Wilkinson gives to the surviving Sherpas' version of events and the way he weaves the affected families and loved ones into this amazing story of survivors and heroes. This is a must read because it illuminates the most complex and tragic two days in the mountain's history."
-Jim Wickwire, Coauthor of Addicted to Danger and the first American (with Lou Reichardt) to summit K2

"One Mountain Thousand Summits is both a high-altitude thrill ride and an eloquent meditation on our infatuation with - and frequent misunderstanding of - individuals driven to climb to the highest places on earth. Thanks to Wilkinson's tenacious investigation, narrated with uncommon skill and grace, he has produced the definitive account of the much debated 2008 disaster on K2."
-Nick Heil, Author of Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season

"In a single two-day period, eleven climbers lost their lives on K2. In a mystery clouded by the haze of exhaustion, thin air, and poor communication we are left to wonder: What happened on August 1-2, 2008? With an insider's knowledge of Himalayan climbing, Wilkinson goes deep into the lives of the climbers and particularly the Sherpas on this fateful climb to produce a book that should be essential reading for those wanting to understand the disaster. From the very start, I found One Mountain Thousand Summits riveting."


"Wilkinson is a talented alpinist himself, as well as an enquiring writer, and he takes nothing for granted... shrewdly structure to take full account of the Nepali climbers' and Sherpas' stories."
- ---Conrad Anker, Coauthor of The Last Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mt. Everest --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book is well researched and well written.
M. H. Meek
As others have mentioned, it is also well written, insightful, ironic, and done from the perspective of someone who climbs and knows the right questions to ask.
Janice Sacherer
'One Mountain' does a much more thorough job of describing the context for the tragic 2008 climbing season on K2.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Janice Sacherer on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Freddie Wilkinson should be highly commended for writing a book about a mountaineering tragedy from the climbing Sherpa's point of view. There are other books on the market which deal with the K2 tragedy, but this is the only one which focusses on the locals involved. In fact, in nearly a hundred years of Himalayan climbing, it is only one of three books to look at that enterprise from the Sherpa point of view.

As others have mentioned, it is also well written, insightful, ironic, and done from the perspective of someone who climbs and knows the right questions to ask. We can only hope that this book will start a new trend in mountaineering literature and that the indigenous people who do most of the work and account for the ultimate success of nearly every expedition, will finally begin to receive the credit they deserve. Fortunately, Wilkinson has set a high standard in this regard.

My only quibble is that a number of the sources, including my own on the Sherpas of Rolwaling, could have been better documented. If a person's research is worth mentioning, then so is the correct reference.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Freddie Wilkinson from whom we hope to see more good books in the future.

Jan Sacherer
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I will be entirely honest, I picked up this book with a hint of skepticism in my brow. I love the mountains but I have never loved climbing literature. This book not only tells the compelling story of the 2008 tragedy on K2 but it boldly explores the multidimensional worlds of climbing, international relations and the media. Wilkinson does a magnificent job of gracefully transitioning between thoughtful explanations of elaborate climbing scenarios and carefully detailing the relationships, infrastructure and social constructs that have grown from the pursuit of big mountain climbing. If you lust after high altitude adventure...If you are curious about the economic impact of tourism in third world nations...If you have ever found yourself in a unique leadership position this book will resonate with you.

Lastly, I encourage you to read slowly and look for the flashes of "pure Freddie" scattered throughout the book. Mr. Wilkinson's humor and zest for life are presence in terrific one liners throughout the novel.

BUY THIS BOOK!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By bayard on July 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Freddie Wilkinson's personal alpine climbing and mountaineering experience add a layer of credibility, understanding and explanation to this perspective of one of mountaineering's deadliest moments. Told from an inclusive background with interviews from sources both Sherpa and Western, it gives the full perspective. Must read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Ryan on January 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The mountaineer author tells the story of the 2008 K2 tragedy in two sections - one the story of how the story broke on the internet and in the media, the other focusing on the heroes including Gerard McDonnell, Pemba Gyalje, Tsering (Chhiring) Bhote, and Big Pasang Bhote. There are 8 pages of bw photos and two climbing routes.

Wilco van Rooijen, the leader of the Dutch Norit expedition, used his satellite phone to call in live updates to both his internet webmaster Marten van Eck and his wife Heleen on summit day and as the tragedy unfolded. Initially using the Norit website, the media frenzy started looking for more information fed from other blogs and people at K2 Base Camp. Where the Norit website was cautious in giving out only verified information, some of the other blogs and people gave more information, including speculation and rumours on what was happening. This fueled some misinformation as the story continued to unfold, "until the spin itself threatened to taint the survivors' recollections and the factual evidence at hand." We also acutely feel the worry of those at home vigilantly watching the internet for any word of their loved ones.

For the second half of the book, the author interviewed many of the western survivors and travelled to Kathmandu several times to interview the surviving Sherpas to piece together the story. What he discovered was the selfless heroism that shone through the tragedy.

Gerard McDonnell selflessly worked for many hours to free two Koreans and Jumik Bhote who were tangled in ropes on the Traverse, only to be swept to his death when an ice avalanche from the serac hit him descending the Traverse.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erik on July 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book kept me up for five nights in a row. It explores perspectives that are seldom discussed in the 8,000 meter peak climbing world -- those of the porters and Sherpas -- but it does it honestly, not through rose colored glasses. It makes clear the ridiculousness of the atmosphere surrounding high altitude mountaineering, extreme peak bagging and the media that follow it. And it is written from a climber's perspective, and Wilkinson asks questions only a climber would ask, but he breaks things down so any armchair mountaineer can understand the nuances. If you like adventure buy this book; you won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia M. Andersen on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book because it made me feel something! I felt I was one of those Sherpas, in Freddie's description in the very first part of the book, trying to get down the worst part of K2 after an avalanche disaster occurred. The book jumped in several places but I feel it had to because it had to provide the all encompassing variations and stories of the disasters going on on K-2 because 11 people died and not all together!

But what I loved most about this book is the perspective of the Sherpas, for in my other readings they are never considered. They are there! They are intuitive and they know what is going on on that mountain. They are not just there to carry the loads and set ropes people. We should be bowing down to them in reverence for letting us be in their country and we go against every grain that is different from their Buddhists Beliefs of community, service to community, and risking life and limb for others....a lesson we all sorely need in some cases on those mountains e.g. Francys Asentiev, David Sharp, and for anyone else that has died in vain of getting help. Gerard Mcdonnell was such a man!!! He gave up his life to save others! We so adhered to our standards of not believing that he could have helped those Koreans that he was literally thought to be "out of it" when in fact his conscience dictated otherwise - proof from pictures, interviews with the sherpas, and estabiishing timelines.

Freddie, I loved your book and can't wait to read about other adventures. I also love those Sherpa people with all my heart - they remind me of the folks I lived with in Liberia, West Africa for almost 3 years....
Cynthia M Andersen Golden, CO
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