Buried in the Sky

Buried in the Sky

The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393079883
0393079880
Characteristics: xvi, 285 p., [16] p. of plates : col. ill., maps ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Padoan, Amanda

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whitcombs2do
May 22, 2017

It's true that most accounts of mountaineering adventure in the Himalyas (this is the first book I've read about K2, in the Karakorams) don't tell you much about the sherpas. They're documented as support staff, and they're listed when killed, but you never find out much about them as persons, as family people. I'm very pleased that someone went to the trouble to do the research and tell us the story of some of those who are the backbone of almost all high altitude expeditions.

The lone exception I've found to my general observation, and a book very much worth reading, is "Touching My Father's Soul," by Jamling Tenzig Norgay, son of Hillary's climbing partner back in 1953. It's Jamling's account of the disastrous events on Everest in May 1996, when he was the lead sherpa for David Breashears' expedition to film the climb for the IMAX feature "Everest." I've read perhaps eight different books written by climbers on the mountain during that time (including Breashears' own), and I found Jamling's to be the best. Excellent writing, but also some extra depth, no doubt related to his culture and his family history.

m
Madreley
Oct 28, 2015

The book starts out a little slow as the author goes into the background of many of the climbers involved, however when the actual events of the climb start, the book is very good. I have read several accounts of the events leading up to the death of all the climbers and this book is by far the best I have read.

m
McBainF1
Sep 02, 2014

fantastic book. Highly recommended.
You can sense easily the cold of the mountain and the strength of the Sherpas. Loved this book

f
fuchsiagal
Jul 30, 2013

Excellent book-a highly recommended read. The writing is well researched and full of heart and concern for the sherpas.

e
eoseid
Mar 11, 2013

Amazing story. Clearly the truth is stranger than fiction. It somehow still surprises me what people will do for money. In particular that the sherpas, the experts of the region, seem to have minimal say in what they do once on a trek, or even what basic safety equipment is mandatory, even if it means leaving behind someone's generator or Ikea inflatable couch. God God, don't get em started. To press on when they could see that not everyone was up to the task, to press on when one thing after another seemed to be telling them to turn back because the climbers paid for it. I figure that increased tourism increases prices for the sherpas and creates an endless cycle of perceived need.

I very much enjoyed the gripping tale, but came away thinking that the average person who wants to climb Everest, much less K2 is an idiot, and the sherpas are misguided in helping them.

The mountain is littered with all the things that the climbers can't be bothered to carry back with them (the dead are the least of it). People sleep in sewage at the higher camps, what, to say they have been there? Idiotic in my view.

r
Rock_Shadow
Jul 22, 2012

Hard to put down read not only for mountaineers, but also for anyone who might care about people from other parts of the world struggling for their livelihood and dignity, in face of great obstacles. Sherpas understanding of their mountains in the light of legends and religious taboos were fascinating, and they put mountaineering workers and the big mountains into a different light: for some more romantic and for others more tragic.
The book, though focused on the 20008 K2 tragedy, was a lot more than a climber's book. It gave a political and tribal history of the mountain people, and included touching personal stories of several Nepali, Tibetan, and Pakistani high altitude
workers that took part in the ill-fated K2 climb. Since the authors explored ethical concerns of mountaineering, and also of treatment of the Sherpas and other high altitude workers, they included relevant stories from climbing Mt. Everest and other world's highest peaks. Unforgettable tribute to the high altitude mountain workers.

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