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K2: Triumph and Tragedy

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  22 reviews
K2, "the savage mountain", is the second-highest peak in the world - and the most difficult to climb. In 1986, it was the site of both dazzling triumph and great loss as twenty-seven men and women reached the top but thirteen died trying. To this day it remains the single greatest tragedy in the history of mountaineering. Curran was there to record it all in words and phot ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 3rd 1989 by Mariner Books (first published 1987)
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Jim Curran's "K2: Triumph and Tragedy" is a solid account of the disastrous 1986 climbing season on K2, the world's second highest mountain. That year, 13 climbers from a variety of expeditions died on the mountain's infamous slopes.

Curran, who was on a British expedition as a filmmaker and did not climb much higher than 7,000 meters, watched from base camp as several people marched off to their deaths, including one of his closest friends. His pain is palpable during some of the later parts of
Nov 15, 2012 Rebekkila rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Into Thin Air
I feel a bit bad about loving this book so much. Thirteen people died while climbing K2 during the summer of 1986 and the author was there at base camp for all thirteen deaths. I probably could have read this story in half a day but I kept looking at the pictures of the people that were with him that summer and at the drawings of the mountain and the surrounding region. I think I spent as much time looking at the pictures and drawings as I did reading. But it is so hard for me to wrap my head ar ...more
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
I liked this very much. I find the books I've read about mountaineering fascinating, such as INTO THIN AIR and THE CLIMB. This book was written by Jim Curran, an experienced climber and photographer, who was on this expedition to take photographs and videos, not to climb to the summit. He has an engaging way of writing, and seemed to express his emotions and opinions in an honest, pretty non-judgmental way. Many photographs by Jim and some of the other climbers are included, and it is very helpf ...more
Having just finished K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, I am drawn to reread Jim Curran's book and see the events he writes about in a fresh light.

I first read K2: Triumph and Tragedy about a dozen years ago; I am not a climber, but I love mountaineering books wholeheartedly. Curran's book details the horrific 1986 climbing season, in which 13 people died (seven of whom actually made it to the top). Jim Curran was not attempting the summit himself, but he was there to ch
Alison Sumprer
Interesting and very sad that so many climbers died in 1986 on the mountain. I knew climbing was dangerous, and I knew many people have died trying to reach the summit, but this was just so depressing.
Mathias Seiwert
Interesting book for sure. SO sad to see so many elite climbers die on K2 in 1986. Many of those who survived that year died on different mountains later in life...Such is the nature of elite mountaineering in the Himalaya/Karakoram--and yet there is much a Christian can learn from these climbers about perseverance and overcoming extreme challenges/trials.
There is a lot of the tragedy, and the triumph is only noted in the appendices. I'm not familiar with mountaineering terms like 'abseiling' and this book doesn't pause to explain, otherwise it is a very straight-forward and readable account. It is frequently too diary-like and there is not enough attention to what comes before or after any event. I also had a poor conception of the space: the different camp positions and the distance and difficulty of travel between them.

The author is a film mak
Jim Curran's book tells the story of the deadly summer of 1986 on K2. Triumph refers to the twenty seven climbers who successfully climbed K2 that year, including the first woman to do so. The tragedy is that thirteen climbers were also killed on the mountain. Jim Curran was a member of one of the expeditions on the mountain that year, but did not climb much above base camp. Nonetheless, from his station low on the mountain, he learned of each of the deaths, including that of his good friend Al ...more
Jerry Smith
Aug 19, 2008 Jerry Smith rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jerry by:
Shelves: mountaineering
I don't know why I like mountaineering books since I have never really wanted to undertake a mountain climb myself. I guess I look to these books to help me understand why people would risk everything on such a quest.

This book certainly goes some way in that regard in that it is written entirely from the point of view of an expedition member, photographing an attempt on K2. This really does seem to be an extremely unforgiving mountain indeed.

I came away with a good feel for what life was like f
Another fairly good climbing book, this one details the famous deadly summer of 1986 at K2. I read this one because it was mentioned favorably in the afterword to "Savage Summit." The beginning was a bit slow, and limited in a sometimes frustrating way by the author's insistence on reporting only what he heard and saw, and not trying to piece events together. That being said, I grew to appreciate that approach for its honesty and simplicity. And anyways, this frustration disappears later after t ...more
Deb Grove
I have read several books on K2. This book by Jim Curran follows the deadly expeditions of 1986. K2 is second only to Everest in height but more technical. Those that perished that year were some of the best known climbers in the world. Bad decisions were made on a mountain where only good decisions can be made and life sustained. Well-written and good detail.
The Young Urban Unprofessional
K2 was definitely book about a series of epic disasters on K2 in the summer of 1986 (when I was born). The book was fascinating because I love adventure books but the writing was fairly poor, Jim Curran is definitely no Jon Krakauer or David Roberts. Do I recommend reading it? I'm not sure. If you want to learn about the details that led up to several deaths on K2 then this is definitely a book for you. However, if you're looking for a well-written and engaging adventure read, then I'd go somewh ...more
Great true story of a British film producer being sent to document a his groups 1986 attempt of K2. It's interesting to note that he was not an expert mountaineer, but was sent to arguably the most demanding and dangerous climb in the world. This book was his documentation of the incredible, and tragic, events that he was forced to witness.

Great book that really puts into perspective just how dangerous high-altitude mountaineering can truly be, and how incredible certain people can persevere in
I love reading these kind of adventure books, and even though this one was laden with facts and names and dates, the pages flew! What an enticing read! This is the style of book that I would be doomed to write with a lot of specifics, but Curran managed to do it well. Non fiction that read like fiction!
This mountaineering disaster is remarkably similar to the 1996 Everst disaster - too many people on the mountain, a murderous storm, and (liek the 2006 Everest debacles), climbers unwilling to render aid to those needing it.
Eric McGreevy
gotta love stories about a mountain where 3 out of every 10 climbers die trying. seriously, a 30% mortality rate and climbers are still flinging themselves for a shot? seriously?
Rich Draves
Very interesting first-hand account of the 1986 climbing season on K2 and the resulting tragedies.
Nate Hendrix
I gave up it's an amazing story, but just not a very good read. Nothing to keep me going.
Not as well written as the other books that I have recently read but it is still an amazing story.
Nov 10, 2010 Sarah added it
Shelves: gave-up
Too technical. I love climbing stories but it was just too much jargon.
Good book. Very interesting reading.
Mike Cavosie
That's one big mountain.
Jonathan Freed
Jonathan Freed marked it as to-read
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Kirsten marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2015
Anya Leonard
Anya Leonard marked it as to-read
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Jim Curran has been around on the British climbing scene for over forty years. Over that time he has sought, and succeeded, to express himself creatively through a broad range of work. As a cameraman he has filmed 15 mountain-based documentaries, ranging in subject from Everest to the remote Scottish islands of St Kilda and Hoy, via the Andes, Caucasus and Atlas mountains.

He also filmed, scripted
More about Jim Curran...

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