- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: It Books (December 27, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060587164
- ISBN-13: 978-0060587161
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2 Paperback – December 27, 2005
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“Jordan...gives us a sense of the rapture that comes from standing on top of the world’s highest mountains.” (Los Angeles Times)
“For mountain-climbing enthusiasts and women’s history buffs, Jordan’s well-researched survey is worthwhile reading...” (Publishers Weekly)
“SAVAGE SUMMIT fills an interesting and neglected place in mountaineering literature.” (American Alpine Club Magazine)
About the Author
Jennifer Jordan has lived at the base of K2 twice while writing and producing the National Geographic documentary The Women of K2. She is a writer, producer, public speaker, and journalist, having created, produced, and hosted her own public radio talk show. Jennifer lives with her husband, filmmaker and adventurer Jeff Rhoads, in Salt Lake City.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a collection of adventure stories the book did not disappoint me in the least. I will admit that I was expecting a book about the first five women who climbed K2 that was written by a woman would be heavily slanted with a sexiest bias against the mostly male community of mountain climbers. Instead I found the book to be about 5 people who have that special inner drive to climb who also happened to be women. In telling the stories of these special people, Jordan also describes the bias and prejudice that some were faced with as they joined expeditions led by experienced men. This is especially true in the telling of Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz's adventures when women were a rare sight in climbing and as Jordan tells Wanda's stories and the stories of the other women she acknowledges that each was a person in her own right with their own strengths and weaknesses. Putting gender aside, Wanda Rutkiewicz had a personality that alienated many outside of a handful of people who understood her and even those closest to Wanda admit she could be difficult on an inter-personal level.
In telling the story of Chantal Mauduit Jordan clearly acknowledges that Mauduit, a happy-go-lucky sort who enjoy much luck climbing 8,000 meters peaks, used her feminine and sexual attributes to her advantage and thus enjoyed an advantage as she manipulated the males on her teams to carry the heavy loads and break routes that she could easily follow on her summit attempts.
The stories of Liliane Barrard, Julie Tullis and Alison Hargreaves were all exciting recounts of their climbing careers and their ultimate climbs to the summit of K2. Each of these women were beloved by friends and family, each recognized the dangers in high altitude climbing and each of them struggled with the pull of their loved one against the pull of the mountains. Ultimately, the mountains won and each died as accomplished climbers, not women, doing what they were drawn to do.
Bottom Line: Savage Summit is a great adventure read about 5 people who loved climbing and were eventually drawn to the attraction of solving a problem that is much greater than the well worn routes of Mt. Everest on the world's second highest peak, K2.
This is a book that needed to be written, stories ripe to be told. "Savage Summit" reveals what it was like to be a woman mountaineer, especially starting with the 1970's when a handful of women stepped up to world-class mountaineering. Their male mountaineering colleagues then -- and now -- number mong the most sexist and grand egotists in any sporting community. The essential nature of mountain climbing as a highly individualistic sport requires stamina, strength, ego, competitiveness and a love for challenge -- and risk. The five women profiled in "Savage Summit" are cut from the same bolt of cloth as their male counterparts. Risk-avoiding personalities do not become mountaineers.
Jordan delves into these lives to give us a sense of what each of the five women were like, what made them tick and what drove them to world-class mountaineering. Each of their biographies and stories is different. However, there are many common threads that the careful reader will discern.
As for K-2, she describes in detail what K-2 is like, how climbing it differs from Mt. Everest as well as from other 8,000+ meter peaks.
My one criticism of "Savage Summit" is that Jordan mentions so many names, it would have helped if she had created an Appendix matching the individuals to their expeditions (by mountain peak and year).
By the end, it was also clear that the author was unable to maintain journalistic distance from one of her subjects. In fact, it seemed as though she had fallen in love with the climber who served as the anchor of her book. This seems to have led her down the path of casting aspersion on the incredible achievements of Edurne Pasaban and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, two incredible, determined women that have surpassed the author's hero and summitted all 14 8000m peaks.