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The Other Face of K2

Source: . Credit: http://banskofilmfest.com .
Source: Bansko Filmfest. Credit: http://banskofilmfest.com .

While The Summit or K2: Siren of the Himalayas probably are far better known and get a bigger audience, The Other Face of K2 might actually be the most interesting film. It follows a Catalan attempt on Magic LineK28611mSouth sideRus 6B; IV-V, 60°3500m. Jordi Corominas reached the highly coveted second ascent of the route.

"Magic Line" follows the SW ridge and is one of the most mythical routes of the climbing world. The name was given by Reinhold Messner who was planning to attempt it in 1979, but discarded the route. It was climbed in 1986 by a Polish team of Peter Bozek, Przemyslaw Piasecki & Wojiech Wroz in 1986. The climb is comparable in reputation to other legends like Shark's FinMeru Central6310mNorth East Pillar6a,A4, WI5,M61400m or yet to be climbed North ridgeLatok I7151mNorth face or NE faceMasherbrum7821mNorth side. There has been only two summits (until 2015), neither without fatalities.

Corominas may not be as famous as some, but he has been nominated for Piolet d'Or (at least) twice and his palmares is extremely impressive:

Siren of the Himalayas

Source: . Credit: http://K2siren.com .
Source: Official movie page. Credit: http://K2siren.com .

Despite The Summit about 2008 K2 disaster likely gathers far more viewers, K2: Siren of the Himalayas might be more interesting to climbers. It centers around 2009 campaign to climb K2 with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Fabrizio Zangrilli, Jake Meyer and Chris Szymiec at the main focus. The attempt was done on Cesen RouteK28611mSouth sideIII-IV, 75°.

Compared to siege-style 2008 campaign, 2009 campaign was significantly smaller in scale is regards to number of climbers as well as lighter in style with neither high-altitude sherpas nor bottled oxygen. The film has won several prizes and most of the reviews are very positive.

Water repellent ropes

Source: . Credit: UIAA .
Source: UIAA. Credit: UIAA .

For years manufacturers have marketed dry-treated ropes. However, everyone and their brother knows that not all dry-treatments have been equally effective. Yet personal experience aside, there has been no way of knowing how effective various treatments are. That ends now, as UIAA has introduced new water repellent certification.

The test seems to mimick real life surprisingly well. A rope sample is subjected to subject to light abrasion over its entire surface to simulate few days’ use. The rope is then soaked for 15 minutes following a precise procedure. To pass the test at a certified laboratory, the amount of absorbed water must not be greater than 5% of the rope’s weight. For comparison, a non-treated rope absorbs around 50% of water in this test, and many ropes labeled as "dry" can absorb between 20% and 40% of water. Ropes with surface treatment only cannot pass the says according to Beal.

So far only Beal, Edelweiss and Mammut offer certified ropes that I know of. The certification is very new though, so it is entirely possible that some other brands could have equally good treatments but their ropes are yet to be certified.

The Summit

Source: . Credit: http://www.impawards.com .
Source: IMP Awards. Credit: http://www.impawards.com .

I recently discovered that a film about 2008 K2 disaster called The Summit had gone unnoticed by me. It's cast certainly isn't as impressive as that of upcoming Everest but being the movie-buff I am, I clearly have to watch this one too.

Tragic events of August 1st and 2nd 2008 on the Abruzzi RidgeK28611mSouth sideIII, 50° have also been covered in several books, at least The Time Has Come: Ger Mcdonnell - His Life & His Death on K2.O'brien, DamienCollins Pr2012Damien O'Brien is married to Ger McDonnell's sister, Denise. A keen sports fan, especially of GAA, Damien spent 3 years as chairman of his local GAA club. He was fascinated listening to Ger tell his stories and was delighted to write this book in his honour.97818488914329781848891432The Time Has ComeNon-fictionen, No Way Down: Life and Death on K2.Bowley, GrahamHarpercollins2011In the tradition of Into Thin Air and Touching the Void, No Way Down by New York Times reporter Graham Bowley is the harrowing account of the worst mountain climbing disaster on K2, second to Everest in height... but second to no peak in terms of danger. From tragic deaths to unbelievable stories of heroism and survival, No Way Down is an amazing feat of storytelling and adventure writing, and, in the words of explorer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”On August 1, 2008, no fewer than eight international teams of mountain climbers—some experienced, others less prepared—ascended K2, the world's second-highest mountain, with the last group reaching the summit at 8 p.m. Then disaster struck. A huge ice chunk came loose above a deadly three-hundred-foot avalanche-prone gully, destroying the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers—many without oxygen and some with no headlamps—faced the nearly impossible task of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not. In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history.97800618347909780061834790No Way DownNon-fictionen, K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, 1 Reprint Edition.Viesturs, EdBroadway Books2010Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, explores the remarkable history of K2 and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time, he probes the mountain's most memorable sagas in order to illustrate lessons about the fundamental questions mountaineering raises—questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and got caught in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death before Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world's ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.97807679326089780767932608K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous MountainNon-fictionen, One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2, Paperback Edition.Wilkinson, FreddieNew American Library2011One Mountain Thousand Summits reveals the true story of the K2 tragedy that claimed the lives of eleven men. Based on his numerous trips to Nepal and in-depth interviews he conducted with the survivors, the families of the lost climbers, and the Sherpa guides whose heroic efforts saved the lives of at least four climbers, Freddie Wilkinson's narrative uncovers what actually occurred on the mountain, while delivering a criticism of the mainstream press's incomplete coverage of the event, and an insightful look into the lives of the six Sherpas who were involved.97804512333189780451233318One Mountain Thousand SummitsNon-fictionen, K2 Surviving Three Days in the Death Zone, 1th Edition Edition.Rooijen, Wilco van & Thurman, RogerG+J Publishing CV2010In the summer of 2008 the 'Norit K2 expedition' climbed without additional oxygen the 8611 meter high peak of K2 in Pakistan. During the descent the expedition turned from triumph to tradedy. One of the biggest tradedy's in mountain climbing history. Statistical every quarter 'conqueror' will die on the "Killer Mountain". In 2008 11 climbers lost their life. The news was going over the whole world from CNN, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, BBC, New York Times etc.Wilco van Rooijen, the Dutch expedition leader has been missing for three days and give up by the outside world. On his last strength he came back a life out of the 'Death Zone'. The 'Norit K2' Expedition 2008 paid a high price. What exactly took place that August 1, 2008? How could this tragedy have taken place?97890892704679789089270467Surviving K2Non-fictionen and The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days.Falvey, Pat & Pemba, Sherpa GyaljeO'brien Press Ltd2013On 1 August 2008, 18 climbers from across the world reached the summit of K2, the world's second highest and most dangerous mountain - a peak which claims the life of one in every four climbers who attempt it. Over the course of 28 hours, however, K2 had exacted a deadly toll: 11 lives were lost in a series of catastrophic accidents. Attracting a climbing elite and standing at 8,611 metres on the Pakistan-China border, K2 is known as the 'Mountaineer's Mountain' because of its extreme technical challenges, its dangerously unpredictable weather and an infamous and hazardous overhanging wall of ice known as the Serac. Snow-bound at Base Camp for weeks on end and increasingly despairing of their prospects of success, an unexpected weather window gave the climbers the opportunity they were waiting for. In their collective desire to reach the summit, seven expeditions agreed to co-ordinate their efforts and share their equipment. Triumph quickly turned to tragedy, however, when a seemingly flawless plan unravelled with lethal consequences. Over the course of three days, a Nepalese Sherpa called Pemba Gyalje, along with five other Sherpas, was at the centre of a series of attempts to rescue climbers who had become trapped in the Death Zone, unable to escape its clutches and debilitated by oxygen deprivation, chronic fatigue, delirium and a terrifying hopelessness. The tragedy became a controversy as the survivors walked from the catastrophe on the mountain into an international media storm, in which countless different stories emerged, some contradictory and many simply untrue. Based on Pemba Gyalje's eyewitness account and drawing on a series of interviews with the survivors which were conducted for the award-winning documentary, The Summit (Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions, 2012), The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days is the most comprehensive interpretation of one of modern-day mountaineering's most controversial disasters.97818471764319781847176431The SummitNon-fictionen. Obviously there is no shortage of articles covering the disaster in main stream media including: Few False Moves, K2 tragedy: 'We had no body, no funeral, no farewell ...' and K2: The Killing Peak. Unfortunately this is not the first time when large group of climbers were held captive high on K2 with catastrophic results: 1986 K2 disaster.

One Day as a Tiger

Source: . Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk .
Source: Vertebrate Publishing. Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk .

Once again, Amazon recommendations came up with interesting suggestion in a form of One Day as a Tiger: Alex Macintyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism.Porter, JohnVertebrate Publishing2014'The wall was the ambition, the style became the obsession.' In the autumn of 1982, a single stone fell from high on the south face of Annapurna and struck Alex MacIntyre on the head, killing him instantly and robbing the climbing world of one of its greatest talents. Although only 28 years old, Alex was already one of the leading figures in British mountaineering's most successful era. His ascents included hard new routes on Himalayan giants like Dhaulagiri and Changabang and a glittering record of firsts in the Alps and Andes. Yet how Alex climbed was as important as what he climbed. He was a mountaineering prophet, sharing with a handful of contemporaries - including his climbing partner Wojciech Kurtyka - the vision of a purer form of alpinism on the world's highest peaks. One Day As A Tiger, John Porter's revelatory and poignant memoir of his friend Alex MacIntyre, shows mountaineering at its extraordinary best and tragic worst - and draws an unforgettable picture of a dazzling, argumentative and exuberant legend.97819102400839781910240083One Day as a TigerNon-fictionen. The book is a biography of Alex McIntyre, a name that may not be household name like Reinhold Messner, but arguably just about as influential for the development of modern alpinism.

After ticking some of the hardest alpine routes of the era, he steered to Himalaya for bigger objectives. With partners like Wojciech Kurtyka he was a strong advocate of pushing pure alpine style to the biggest routes on the highest peak at the time when massive expeditions and siege tactics were very much the norm. Granted, there had been alpine style attempts and even successful ascents before, such as the first ascent of West SpurBroad Peak8047mWest sideAD; 60°Normally three high camps. by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger and Hermann Buhl, even purer in style climbs on East sideSkilbrum7410mEast side53h and Chogolisa by the same climbers during the same expedition and even far earlier attempts by Albert F. Mummery on Nanga Parbat8126m to name a few examples.

McIntyre arguably pushed the style further than any of his predecessors laying the groundwork for a style that much later became to be known as fast 'n light style. McIntyre sadly died at the age of 28 when climbing on Annapurna I8091m. Before his untimely death he put up extremely impressive palmares including:

The author John Porter was not familiar to me. However, having participated in many of McIntyres's biggest climbs he clearly was at the forefront of the sport during the late 70's/early 80's. However, his contribution to climbing world does not stop at selection of landmark ascents as he is one of the founder's of Kendall Mountain Festival as well as co-founder of SteepEdge.

Everest 2015

Source: . Credit: http://www.impawards.com/ .
Source: IMP Awards. Credit: http://www.impawards.com/ .

I have been wondering whatever happened to Stephen Daldry 's film project about 1996 Everest disaster. It was widely reported in media some years ago but then seemed to drop from the face of the earth, until at some point there were rumours about David Fincher directing it. Then about nothing, so at least I thought that it had become abandonware.

Not so, as apparently the film Everest will infact see the light of the day, albeit not with either Daldry or Fincher helming it. The director Baltasar Kormákur may not be that well known, but the cast consists of the A-listers Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal so the producing studio Working Title seems to be serious with this one (Budget is reported to be $65 million). Which is not something you could say about much earlier tv film about the same event based on Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster.Krakauer, JonImport1997Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.03854920810385492081Into Thin AirNon-fictionen. Working Title is best known for romantic comedies like Notting Hill so it's definitely interesting to see what they can make with the subject matter worlds apart.

As the movie is said to be based on Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster.Krakauer, JonImport1997Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.03854920810385492081Into Thin AirNon-fictionen it will be interesting to see what they make out of the debacle that followed the tragic incident. Namely Jon Krakauer questioned a lot of actions of Anatoli Boukreev, who was the head climbing guide of Scott Fischer 's team. Accusing him of recklessness and abandoning his clients, even being the cause of some of the deaths. Later some of the 'facts' presented by Krakauer have revealed to have been liberal with the truth. Boukreev's point is backed of by the fact that a grand total of none of his clients lost their life. Krakauer's view is strongly opposed by many climbers, such as Galen Roswell, Simone Moro and Lene Gammelgård (the latter was part of the climb) as well as American Alpine Club. The latter honored Anatoli Boukreev with its highest award. The very prestigious David A. Sawles award, conferred only nine times in the previous 16 years, is given only to climbers who have "distinguished themselves, with unselfish devotion at personal risk or at sacrifice of a major objective, in going to the assistance of fellow climbers." If the movie's position is anything like to Into Thin Air's, I highly recommend reading also The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest.Boukreev, Anatoli & Dewalt, G.WestonPan Books2002The Climb is Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev's account of the harrowing May 1996 Mount Everest attempt, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of eight people. The book is also Boukreev's rebuttal to accusations from fellow climber and author Jon Krakauer, who, in his bestselling memoir, Into Thin Air, suggests that Boukreev forfeited the safety of his clients to achieve his own climbing goals. Investigative writer and Climb coauthor G. Weston DeWalt uses taped statements from the surviving climbers and translated interviews from Boukreev to piece together the events and prove to the reader that Boukreev's role was heroic, not opportunistic. Boukreev refers to the actions of expedition leader Scott Fischer throughout the ascent, implying that factors other than the fierce snowstorm may have caused this disaster. This new account sparks debate among both mountaineers and those who have followed the story through the media and Krakauer's book. Readers can decide for themselves whether Boukreev presents a laudable defense or merely assuages his own bruised ego.03004889610300488961The ClimbNon-fictionen.

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