Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
Last year I recommended No Way Down, a journalist’s account of the tragic 2008 climbing season on K2. As much as I enjoyed that account, Buried in the Sky is even better. If you are at all interested in stories of mountaineering or survival, this is a fantastic and fascinating account.
Zuckerman and Padoan do an outstanding job of making the events understandable for non-mountain climbers. My one complaint with No Way Down was that occasionally it got too technical and it bogged down the narrative. That’s not an issue with Buried in the Sky.
I especially appreciated the focus this book puts on the Sherpas and their history. Most of the books in this area that I’ve read have been written from a Western perspective and a with a focus on the Western climbers. This one instead gives a broader perspective and brings to life the men who risk their lives to help adventurers reach the summit of the world’s highest peaks. Despite having recently read that other account of the same events, I hadn’t fully appreciated the heroic measures undertaken by some of the men, and definitely hadn’t gotten to know the workers as anything more than a list of names.
Sometimes books with more than one author suffer from not having one clear authorial voice. Buried in the Sky is smoothly written, and the two authors make a great writing team. The back-story behind why and how the book was written was also interesting, and their passion for the story shows.
Highly recommended. This isn’t just a great book if you want to know more about that K2 season. It’s simply a great book.
When Edmund Hillary first conquered Mt. Everest, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was at his side. Indeed, for as long as Westerners have been climbing the Himalaya, Sherpas have been the unsung heroes in the background. In August 2008, when eleven climbers lost their lives on K2, the world’s most dangerous peak, two Sherpas survived. They had emerged from poverty and political turmoil to become two of the most skillful mountaineers on earth. Based on unprecedented access and interviews, Buried in the Sky reveals their astonishing story for the first time.
Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan explore the intersecting lives of Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, following them from their villages high in the Himalaya to the slums of Kathmandu, across the glaciers of Pakistan to K2 Base Camp. When disaster strikes in the Death Zone, Chhiring finds Pasang stranded on an ice wall, without an axe, waiting to die. The rescue that follows has become the stuff of mountaineering legend.
At once a gripping, white-knuckled adventure and a rich exploration of Sherpa customs and culture, Buried in the Sky re-creates one of the most dramatic catastrophes in alpine history from a fascinating new perspective. 16 pages of illustrations; 8 maps
Title: Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day
Authors: Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
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