The Rest of the Story


The disastrous events that unfurled on K2 in August 2008, when 11 climbers died, inundated the mainstream media with survivor interviews, blog posts, and tales told by families left behind. Numerous authors have attempted to chronicle the fateful summit push on August 1, but One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2 ($24.95,, by Freddie Wilkinson, isn’t simply a reconstruction of events. Wilkinson, a New Hampshire–based guide and accomplished climber, traveled to Nepal to hear firsthand accounts from the Sherpas who worked on K2 that summer and were largely underrepresented during the aftermath, and he unveils the risks these climbers took in rescue attempts. “If it weren’t for the malicious timing of the serac’s final releases [the avalanches that ultimately took many lives], five more climbers would have escaped K2,” Wilkinson writes. “The real tragedy was that they [Sherpas] had almost pulled off one of the great rescues in the history of the mountain… and no one even knows about it.” —Amanda Fox