Journalist Graham Bowley chronicles a day of triumph and tragedy in 2008 in his book No Way Down. It is the story of a group of climbers trying to summit K2, the second tallest mountain in the world. Although slightly lower in altitude than Everest, K2 presents climbers with a more dangerous and challenging climb, so much so that far fewer climbers have reached the summit of K2 than of Everest, and many of those who reached the top did not survive the descent.
The day of climbing began with groups from several countries attempting a coordinated ascent of the mountain. These were not the guided tours of climbers often found on Everest, but experienced and well-trained climbers who knew the risks of attempting to summit such a dangerous mountain. After a period of confusion and of poor decision-making, the teams were late in their ascents and descents, resulting in most climbers starting their climbs too late in the day thus requiring they climb down in the darkness. Climbers were forced to spend much more time than planned in the oxygen-poor, freezing cold high altitude. Eleven climbers perished on the mountain that day and night.
Bowley reconstructs the events of the day through interviews with survivors, family members and others involved in the expeditions, revealing both the tragedy and heroism demonstrated on that day. Now Way Down offers fascinating insights into the world of extreme mountain climbing and into the minds of those who are willing to risk their lives to reach the summits of the highest mountains in the world.