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K2, The Savage Mountain: The Classic True Story of Disaster and Survival on the World's Second-Highest Mountain

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,274 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The 1953 American expedition to the second highest peak in the world.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published December 16th 2008 by Lyons Press (first published 1954)
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Henry Wright
Feb 28, 2016 Henry Wright rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is an understated quality to this account of the 1953 American expedition that reflects the integrity and commitment to each other that characterized what is now referred to as the 'old school' approach to planning a summit bid. The thoughtful steps taken to assemble a talented and compatible team committed to each other as well as to their mission would seem to be the appropriate paradigm for any adventure that relentlessly tests survival skills. The truth is in the execution. They did no ...more
Mazola1
At the base of K2 stands the Gilkey Memorial, a cairn with the names of those climbers who lost their lives on K2. The memorial was put up in 1953 to mark the death of Art Gilkey, a member of the 1953 American expedition to K2. K2 the Savage Mountain tells the story of that expedition, Gilkey's death, and the famous attempt to save him.

Art Gilkey was struck with thrombophlebitis high on K2, becoming so incapacitated by it that he was unable to climb. The other members of the expedition undertook
...more
Eric_W
Mar 10, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
2 stars for the writing, 4 stars for the excitement, which, of course curves out to 4 stars.

As I continue with my reading through of mountaineering titles in the library, I ran across this recounting of the 1953 American attempt to reach the summit of K2, the world's second highest peak. K2 is about 900 miles from Everest in the Karakoram range In 1938, a group had made it to within about 1000 feet of the top, but were forced back by bad weather. Storms were to plague the 1953 expedition also.

T
...more
Cory
May 14, 2017 Cory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may be my favorite expedition account of the K2 books. There is something so wonderful about the collective voice that emerges from this account. The teamwork from the 1953 group and their remarkable dynamic is inspirational; despite the fact they did not make the summit.
Mihai Giurgiulescu
The world's second highest mountain is renowned for its consistently poor weather and very short windows of opportunity, which, in conjunction with the high technical difficulty, make K2 the hardest climb on the planet. More than a century of attempts have resulted in a small number of summits (in comparison to Everest for example), along with many dramatic retreats, the majority of which have become epics in mountaineering history and literature. The common thing to all the stories however is t ...more
Suman
Sep 23, 2009 Suman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A positively riveting book about the failed 1953 expedition to summit K2, the second highest peak in the world and widely considered the most dangerous. What interested me was how little they knew about the mountain prior to its attempt. Nowadays, everyone has very prescribed paths up to a summit of an 8000m peak (which are the highest peaks in the world), and even though climbing these mountains is still remarkably difficult, it's nothing like going to these mountains and not knowing the path t ...more
Andrea
Jun 16, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mountaineering
This is a captivating read about the 1953 American expedition to K2, the world's second tallest mountain. The mountain had yet to be conquered despite numerous attempts, and the Americans hoped this would finally be their year. The team was made up of experienced climbers, including two who were part of the 1938 K2 expedition, but it was their camaraderie and strong belief in teamwork and brotherhood that pulled the climbers together when injuries and extreme weather forced them to retreat 1000' ...more
Laurel
Jan 07, 2010 Laurel is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I made it a fair ways into this book before I got rudely denied by whatever semi-legal internet reader I was "previewing" it on. Hopefully I will actually bother to get a damn library card so I can read the rest, cause I've read other stuff about of the 1953 failed K2 climb, and am really excited about the prospect of reading a first-hand account. The first however long of the book was really interesting and made me want to read more, besides.

If there were some easy way to account for all the re
...more
Brian
Feb 03, 2008 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jason, Joe
This was a fun read. I thought it was about the first ascent of K2, so you can imagine my surprise when they turned back. It's still a great story about a heroic rescue from near the summit. The attempt happened in the 50's, so it's written in an Olde Timey sort of style. They mention "morale" constantly which I found amusing. It wasn't the best mountaineering book I've ever read, but it was certainly worth reading.
Kevin
May 19, 2009 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stoic story of heroism courage and death. Very straight forward approach to a story that could have been portrayed more dramatically. Authors are honest but show some hesitation on what they did, how they could have handled situations differently. Very...almost brutally honest story. Worth a read if you like adventure novels.
Doug Cornelius
Dec 27, 2015 Doug Cornelius rated it really liked it
A matter-of-fact telling of the failed attempt to summit the second highest peak in the world in 1953. A classic tale of assaulting a mountain, merely because it has not been before and man should be able to do such a thing.
Matthew
Jan 21, 2012 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: man-s-book-club
This was an amazing story and I had a hard time putting it down. More than one miracle happened to get these men safely off of the mountain. It doesn't matter that they didn't reach the summit on this attempt, it is incredible what they suffered and survived. An excellent read!
Thea Nunez
May 06, 2016 Thea Nunez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring true story of heroism, adventure, & unbroken bonds of brotherhood, even to the death. The events that transpired on this mountain in this book are a clear illustration that it's all about the journey, not the destination.
Sarah
Jan 30, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little slow the first chapter of mountain history but after that I couldn't put it down. I love that the book was written as a team because of their emphasis on the necessity of a real team spirit required for this K2 attempt. Really excellent.
Matt Holland
Jan 09, 2012 Matt Holland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as exciting as Annapurna in that they didn't get the first ascent, but another really good tale of mountaineering in the 50's. Climbing mountains must have been much harder when you had to haul a pair of huge brass balls with you. Jesus those guys were nuts!
Dale Hoffman
Jul 18, 2010 Dale Hoffman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1953 expedition of disaster and survival but failure to summit.
Jyoung927
Mar 01, 2012 Jyoung927 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a classic. first person(s) account of a successful yet failed attempt on k2. loved it
Li
May 08, 2016 Li rated it it was amazing
This book had everything I wanted. Not only was it a great book with actual diaries/stories but they also HAD LISTS OF TRAVEL PLANS, ECONOMICS AND EQUIPMENT. I was in geeky heaven.
Abram
Apr 09, 2008 Abram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
excellent climbing book
Noreen
Aug 26, 2012 Noreen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Adventure Library
Hannahcath
Jun 17, 2014 Hannahcath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
harrowing!
Chris Gager
Oct 04, 2011 Chris Gager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bob Bates was my brother's ski coach at Exeter and a member of this doomed expedition. "Only" one person died and they didn't make the summit. Date read is a guess.
Chad
Nov 13, 2012 Chad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edge of the seat, white knuckle account of one of the most daring expeditions of all time!
Mark Blei
Mark Blei rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2017
Mark
Mark rated it really liked it
Aug 05, 2015
Gary
Gary rated it really liked it
Nov 29, 2011
Wordsnpics
Wordsnpics rated it really liked it
Jun 25, 2017
Rachel Spence
Rachel Spence rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2014
Bayu Rustandi
Bayu Rustandi rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2014
Crystal
Crystal rated it liked it
Mar 21, 2012
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