No Way Down
Booklaunch with writer Graham Bowley
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
8:00 PM–9:30 PM Free
New York Times reporter Graham Bowley reads from his harrowing account of the worst mountain climbing disaster on K2, second to Everest in height, but second to no peak in terms of danger. From tragic deaths to unbelievable stories of heroism and survival, No Way Down is an amazing feat of storytelling and adventure writing, and, in the words of explorer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”
With its near-perfect pyramid shape, the 28,251-foot K2-the world’s second-highest mountain, some 800 feet shorter than the legendary Everest hundreds of miles to the south-has lured serious climbers for decades. In 2008, near the end of a brief climbing season cut even shorter by bad weather, no fewer than ten international teams-some experienced, others less prepared-crowded the mountain’s dangerous slopes with their Sherpas and porters, waiting to ascend.
Finally, on August 1, they were able to set off. But hindered by poor judgment, lack of equipment, and overcrowded conditions, the last group did not summit until nearly 8 p.m., hours later than planned. Then disaster struck when a huge ice chunk from above the Bottleneck, a deadly 300-foot avalanche-prone gulley just below the summit, came loose and destroyed the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers and porters still above the Bottleneck-many without oxygen and some with no headlamps-faced the near impossibility of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not.
Based on in-depth interviews with surviving climbers and many Sherpas, porters, and family and friends of the deceased, No Way Down reveals for the first time the full dimensions of this harrowing drama
“A refreshingly unadorned account of the true brutality of climbing K2, where heroes emerge and egos are stripped down, and the only thing achieving immortality is the cold ruthless mountain.”
– Norman Ollestad, author of Crazy for the Storm
Live Spiral performance by Sufi singers from Pakistan