At the time of the writing of this book five women climbers had reached the summit of K2: Wanda Rutkiewicz, Liliane Barrard, Julie Tullis, Chantal Mauduit and Alison Hargreaves. Only two of these women lived to tell about their experience and they too were dead within six years of summitting. Though male climbers have also died striving to summit or while descending K2 Jennifer Jordan felt compelled to go beyond. She tried to understand why these women "courted death" and to see if gender played a role in their deaths. She did this by interviewing family, expedition team members, tentmates, competitors, and reading diaries. She even accidentally fell into a crevasse on the north side of K2 in her quest to experience K2 as these women saw it.
This book also explores the lesser known dusty world of trekking to K2 and living at base camp where the weather rarely allows conquest. There are vivid comparisons to that other climbing mecca: Everest especially after defeats on K2. Some climbers faced harassment from local officials perhaps because they were female but that isn't unduly emphasized. And while each climber's personal history is recounted in detail there is the somber absence of any summit photos to celebrate achieving their goals.
Update: At least six more women have made it to the top of K2.
Product DetailsPrice: $13.95
Paperback: 303 pages with black and white photos
Author: Jennifer Jordan
Year Published: 2005