1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
K2  By  cover art

K2

By: Ed Viesturs,David Roberts
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A thrilling chronicle of the tragedy-ridden history of climbing K2, the world's most difficult and unpredictable mountain, by the best-selling author of No Shortcuts to the Top.

At 28,251 feet, the world's second-tallest mountain, K2 thrusts skyward out of the Karakoram Range of northern Pakistan. Climbers regard it as the ultimate achievement in mountaineering, with good reason. Four times as deadly as Everest, K2 has claimed the lives of 77 climbers since 1954.

In August 2008, 11 climbers died in a single 36-hour period on K2 - the worst single-event tragedy in the mountain's history and the second-worst in the long chronicle of mountaineering in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges. Yet summiting K2 remains a cherished goal for climbers from all over the globe.

Before he faced the challenge of K2 himself, Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, thought of it as "the holy grail of mountaineering". In K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, Viesturs explores the remarkable history of the mountain and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time he probes K2's most memorable sagas in an attempt to illustrate the lessons learned by confronting the fundamental questions raised by mountaineering - 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 were nearly killed in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death. Fortunately, 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 colle...

©2009 Ed Viesturs and David Roberts (P)2009 Random House

What listeners say about K2

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    602
  • 4 Stars
    247
  • 3 Stars
    82
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    18
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    535
  • 4 Stars
    193
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    6
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    500
  • 4 Stars
    194
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    14

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JJ
  • 12-30-15

Almost Makes You Want to Climb K2... Almost

Would you consider the audio edition of K2 to be better than the print version?

I've never ready to print version so I can't be sure. Either way, the audio version is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of K2?

It's hard to identify a single moment. Hearing about all the difficult circumstances while climbing the mountain is what makes the book so riveting. You learn the history of K2 and get firsthand perspective on how difficult and scary it is to actually climb it. In my opinion, better (and safer) than climbing it yourself.

What about Fred Sanders’s performance did you like?

Sander's does a solid job in narrating this book. I don't know what Ed Viesturs sounds like in person, but Sanders made me believe that Viesturs was talking to me in my car every day.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. The story was fascinating but the historical spread and detail had my head swirling at different points. The desire was there but the will was weak.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating!

Great account of the mountain's history and awesome performance by the narrator. It's definitely a must for any mountaineering enthusiast.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Well written and researched

I like mountain climbing books. My husband does not. His attitude is that if you have read one you have read them all. "We climbed a mountain and then it all went to hell." The more I thought about it, the more I agree with him but I don't care. I still like mountain climbing books and this was one of the better ones. Worth the credit.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Solid read about mountaineering

This work is a good combination of memoir and mountain history. As described, the book covers a series of notable expeditions, through which you learn a lot about attempts, ascents, and disasters on the mountain. As a mountaineer, Viesturs can interject with his own assessments about some of these events (noting, in many cases, what went wrong and how different climbers make different decisions on the mountain). If you're looking for Into Thin Air 2 then you need to adjust your expectations -- this is a wider ranging work going back to the early 1900s and therefore much is based in history; there are some dramatic and disastrous events, but it's not all first-hand gripping storytelling.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what i expected

I thought this book was going to be focused on the authors climb but it seemed more about the history of mountaineering with a touch of the authors climb sprinkled in. The allure of hearing about one tale was dust covered with foreshadowing and analysis of past climbs.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to Follow

The author talks about many different climbing expeditions during this book, but he goes back and forth so much that it is hard to keep track. There is also a lot of bragging about how he would have handled certain situations, although he repeatedly says he doesn't want to talk about his accomplishments or how disasters could have been avoided if he had been the one making the decisions. He second guesses the people who were actually on these expeditions, and it is annoying. Maybe some better editing would have helped. I struggled through it twice to try and put together the pieces of the book, but it really didn't help much. If you are interested in reading about mountain climbing, and not specifically about the K2 expedition, one of the finest books on this subject is Into Thin Air, which is not only very well written, but the narration by the author is great.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Facinating and educational!

Clear headed, well balanced writing that includes historical story telling about this facinating mountain and the human persuits of climbing it from beginning. Ed's personal endevours are painted with a humble and realistic touch that leaves me full of awe and respect of the natures wonders (in this case the awsome K2). Also that the human ego has no place in it.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Must listen

Really fluid and interesting story, goes through several expeditions with the authority that provides the experience of the writer. Strongly recommendable for mountain lovers, makes you want to go to the karakorum at once

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My first foray into mountaineering history

Would you listen to K2 again? Why?

Maybe. It was a fascinating story, especially since I didn't know much about mountaineering beforehand and was way more familiar with Mt. Everest. There were a lot of wisdom gems about living life.

What did you like best about this story?

I like learning about the history of nearly anything, but I had never read about the history of mountaineering before. Seeing "Everest" in 2015 piqued my interest in other 8000ers, and after researching a bit, I figured this book would be a good entrance into the subject, and I was right. I liked how Viesturs writing made everything understandable and relatable. Given how lazy I tend to be, I didn't expect to see myself in any of the climbers he mentioned, but surprisingly, I did; I found I could empathize quite a bit.

Which character – as performed by Fred Sanders – was your favorite?

None

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Negative Book

Starts out ok then descends into a negative complaints fest about how other people did things. Sure the author is experienced but what I find ironic is he criticizes the Italian expedition which successfully reached the summit of K2, yet praises US expeditions which failed and in which multiple people died? Huh? Don't bother, it is just a personal rant.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LtCol RD Rtrd
  • LtCol RD Rtrd
  • 01-24-16

Excellent history of climbing K to

This book has brought together many other books and shown in Monbulk the total history of planning and Kate to the ups and downs and she again year of this Mt even Liberty the tenants mother few women that tempted to climb gay K2 The awful danger and reliability of the mountains and many well-known climbers the used different techniques alpine Everest hell solo without oxygen et cetera
The fact that ratio what are use this matter has highest attempt to death rate in the hole because Emily is good history good read and brings together many famous books go together into one good read. As exclaim I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope that people will take something away from it to especially the joy of climbing on the challenge you face

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D. J. Pritchard
  • D. J. Pritchard
  • 11-08-15

Fascinating chronicle of the difficulties of K2

Possibly a little self centered but nevertheless the thoroughness of the research needed to give such an enlightening insight into the challenges and tragedies of K2 can only be applauded. I was hooked from the moment I started listening.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colette
  • Colette
  • 07-31-10

Superb

Loved it!! I've read a lot of books on climbing, and thought I knew quite a lot about K2, but this told me so much I didn't know, plus a re-interpretation of previous climbs from Visteurs' personal experience. Fascinating and well written. Could hardly bear to put it down/switch it off. Will get his other book now in the hope its just as good.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for "davidd03"
  • "davidd03"
  • 12-21-18

Ammmmazing

Listened to this book 4 times since purchasing it this month!

If you are interested in mountain climbing and the challenges that people face in this endeavour this is a great book for you.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Baz P
  • Baz P
  • 10-16-15

Gripping and Fascinating

I loved this audio book. It is gripping and thoroughly interesting but in a non-sensationalist or glorifying way. It is honest and heart felt with genuine opinion. It describes many feelings and sentiments that I can easily imagine given the descriptive accounts. excellent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alan
  • Alan
  • 04-10-15

k2

well read with tons of detail and theory a well researched book , enjoyed it very much

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew
  • Andrew
  • 08-22-14

It's so dull I didn't get past 40 mins

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who already knows a lot about mountaineering, K2 specifically, and is familiar with the stories around those who have successfully made the journey as well as those who did not.

What was most disappointing about Ed Viesturs and David Roberts ’s story?

You need to be an expert in the topic already - if you're not (I'm not) then it quickly sounds like meaningless base camp codes, altitudes, names and years. The author refers to his own expertise enough times that it just comes across as self-flagellation and an 'I wouldn't have done it like that' approach to the stories of those who died trying to conquer K2.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, unfortunately

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from K2?

I wasn't interested enough to listen any longer. I don't think I even got past chapter 1 of 8.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-16-22

Enjoyable listen

Great overview of some of the pivotal moments and disasters on K2. Nice narration, and authors considered views of the various events give good insights

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-17-22

epic

dimply epic and enlightening. keeps you in its grasp from start to finish. well worth the price of admissiin

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bernard  Quinn
  • Bernard Quinn
  • 11-09-21

Thoroughly gripping and harrowing! Great book!

I loved this book. I was gripped from the start and the detail makes it fascinating!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Travis
  • Travis
  • 05-28-16

great

I loved the narration and the in depth descriptions used but did repeat a little

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mitchvg
  • Mitchvg
  • 11-23-21

A bit dry at first

But more and more insightful as the book goes on as he gives more opinion