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In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  8 reviews
In 1975 a mountaineering team of 9 Americans, including writer-photographer Galen Rowell, set forth to scale K2, the world's second highest peak, in the Karakoram Himalaya. This is a first-person account of that attempt. Galen Rowell has participated in more than 1000 climbs from Yosemite to Alaska and to the Himalaya. His photographs have been exhibited at the Internation ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published September 12th 1986 by Random House, Inc. (first published June 12th 1977)
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The official summary calls this book an account of the 1985 unsuccessful American attempt to climb K2. Not only is that factually incorrect, it's also misleadingly incomplete. More correctly, In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods is a gripping account of the troubled and unsuccessful 1975 American expedition to K2, set in the context of the history of climbing on K2, and the history and people of the surrounding area.

The book is like a fine dinner with multiple courses. It is best read slowly
This is fascinating reading. I found out about this book from the Newsweek magazine on books, from an article about the fun of re-reading favorite books. Since I am a fervent and dedicated re-reader, and since the author talked about Jane Austen being a favorite for re-readers (how true! She is a delicious re-read!), I gave his opinions high regard. He mentioned this book as one of his favorite re-reads. I read it over 3 or 4 days, couldn't put it down. I read it while sitting in my screened-in ...more
Mark Klink
How do you write a review of a book you didn't like and never completed? I was reading 2 other books at the same time ("White Spider" and "Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage: The Lonely Challenge" ) and had just finished "No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks" and "Everest: The West Ridge". I probably would have appreciated "In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods" more if i had read it in isolation, but in comparison to the other books, this book was a boring story of failure and ...more
I bought a copy of this book online because it was out of print. Initially I had trouble finding the perfect time to read it because it smells incredibly musty. I usually get the bulk of my reading done in bed... I hadn't wanted to bring this smelly book to bed with me!

Well, I'm glad I got over all that and read it. The story is quite interesting and having the pictures to look at makes everything more vibrant.
John Mattson
The photos make this book a classic, but the story is also very interesting and well written. The human dynamics of a failed attempt on one of the most intense mountains in the world create a story that chronicles an important part of mountaineering history. Rowell's photos and prose allow us to see the very throne room in all it's splendor.
A very exhaustive review not only of the failed 1975 American K2 expedition but also a comprehensive history of mountaineering in the Karakorum region of Himalaya. It is a brute of a book and not to be tackled if you are only midly interested in this type of literature.
Mar 16, 2009 Charles rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: photographers, travel buffs, mountaineers
Good reading about mountain climbing, people and travel. The photography in Galen's other books is emphasized more, and a lot of photographs are in black and white..
Fantastic look into the interpersonal drama that plagues climbing teams. I loved the amazing photos (several in color) and the history of K2.
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