Must-read Books About Climbing Disasters

We’ve compiled a list of must-read books about climbing disasters everyone should check out. From the highly anticipated The Summit book of 2014, to classics like Denali’s Howl, these books are a must-have.

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How Much Do You Know About Mount Everest?

How much do you know about Mount Everest? We start learning about Mount Everest from the moment we can understand speech. Through random sayings, news segments in the background about a disaster… it seems to always come up. But how much do you really know about Mount Everest?

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The Seven Summits According to Richard Bass

The Richard Bass Seven Summits List is a list of the seven tallest mountains in each of the seven continents. Unlike Messner’s List, it only references mainland Australia, vs all of Oceania.

The Bass List comprises Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko and Vinson.

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The Search for Tom Ballard & Daniele Nardi Officially Over. Bodies Found

On 09 March, the search for Tom Ballard and his climbing partner, Daniele Nardi, was officially called off. The previous sightings of “silhouettes” during the reconnaissance operation were confirmed to be the bodies of the two climbers.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that the search and rescue operation of Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi was officially called off on 09 March 2019.

The rescue operation had been ongoing since the climbers’ last communication on 24 February. Both climbers were on an expedition attempting to climb the notorious Mummery Spur on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. Since the route’s creation, it has remained unclimbed.

On 06 March, the Nardi team revealed that Alex Txikon had identified two “silhouettes” through a high powered telescope. The team was prepared to confirm the sightings using the assistance of a helicopter flyby. On the scheduled day, Pakistan recalled the helicopter for military operations. It would be another two days before the identification could be completed.

On 09 March, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo announced on Twitter that the “silhouettes” previously identified were, in fact, those of Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi.

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Tom Ballard & Daniele Nardi Rescue Update: Two Silhouettes Identified. Search is Not Over

In a surprising update to the Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard Rescue operation, Alex Txikon identifies two Silhouettes on Nanga Parbat from Base Camp. The search is continuing.

According to reports, the identification was made at dawn; and helicopters are scheduled to arrive soon to continue the exploration of the mountain. The report stated that the search would continue along the Mummery Spur route. The team hopes to get closer observations of images they witnessed through a telescope.

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K2 Remains Unconquered in Winter

K2, the King of Mountains, is the most treacherous in the world of mountaineering. It has never been climbed in the winter, although many expeditions have tried including the 2018 Krzysztof Wielicki expedition that also rescued Elisabeth Revol on Nanga Parbat in the middle of their K2 expedition. Other expeditions attempted it in 1988, 2003, 2012 and 2015, and 2019.

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The 2008 K2 Disaster

The 2008 K2 Disaster was a highly publicized climbing disaster that resulted in the deaths of 11 climbers on 01 August of that year. The tragedy also heightened scrutiny of safety precautions and climber responsibility during expeditions.

The 2008 K2 Disaster was brought on by a series of events, some preventable, some not. but what it had in common with many mountaineering disasters, including the 1996 Everest Disaster, was the continuation of a summit push past the safe turnaround time.

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Vanessa O’Brien Thinks the Nanga Parbat Rescue Could Have Climbed Higher to Save Tomasz Mackiewicz

In a controversial statement on Twitter, Vanessa O’Brien revealed that she felt the Nanga Parbat rescue volunteers could have climbed higher to retrieve Tomasz Mackiewicz.

On Friday, 26 January, Tomasz Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol made a successful assault on the summit of Nanga Parbat during their Winter Ascent Expedition. Prior to their attempt, Nanga Parbat had only been summited once in the winter in 2014.

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Wendy Ong Shares How She Overcame Her Spinal Cord Injury and Climbed On

This month, the star of the end of our September month is Wendy Ong, a Spinal Cord Injury survivor who has defeated the odds and continued to pursue her passions of climbing and skiing some of the most difficult passes.

“Certain that Bob had me, I unclipped from the anchors, leaned back – and then free-fell nearly 200 feet to the ground.” I kept telling myself, “Don’t close your eyes Wendy, don’t close your eyes.”

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Coming Up: Wendy Ong on Surviving a SCI and Climbing

Wendy Ong is the only person to have fallen nearly 200 feet (70m), survive, go on to rock climb, ice-climb, and ski at high levels with a T-10 Spinal Cord Injury; survive sepsis and climb her hardest trad route as a paraplegic (5.12- Cloud Tower, Red Rocks, Nevada) a few months later; ski her way across North America; and be the only para to ski, ice-climb, and rock climb in the space of less than ten days.

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Editor’s Note: Get to Know the Editor of BCM

In this Editor’s Note, we will be giving you a glimpse into the life of what we like to call our “fearless editor,” Cass Légér; an editor who is always on-call, never sleeps and puts everything into this publication, making sure our bases are covered.

We sat down with the editor and asked a few of the following personal and business related questions that came from the staff and readers over the course of 5 months.

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Remembering Alberto Zerain

Beloved Spanish alpinist Alberto Zerain died in a tragic avalanche on Nanga Parbat this week. Though he was not able to return from the mountain in this life, his memory has found a new home in the hearts among those who appreciated his attitude toward the dare of a summit and those who admired his accomplishments. 

Zerain was climbing Nanga Parbat as part of the 2x14x8000 project, which aimed to see 14 of the world’s 8,000 m. peaks climbed twice. While on the Mazeno Ridge, Zerain gave his last update to the Base Camp team on 24, June. Shortly after, his team lost contact with him and would announce on 27, June, that they believed he and Mariano Galvan had lost power on their radio communicators. 

On 01, July 2x14x8000 announced that a helicopter search of the Mazeno Ridge revealed signs of a massive avalanche and they did not believe there was a possibility of survivors. On this day, the search for Zerain and Galvan was ended and the mountaineering world began to mourn, finally letting go of the hope they had so desperately tried to cling to in belief that he would be found alive.

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Alberto Zerain Missing on Nanga Parbat

Known Spanish climber Alberto Zerain and his climbing partner, Mariano Galvan from Argentina, have been reported as missing on Nanga Parbat. 

Zerain’s team announced on 27, June, that communication with the climber had been lost on 24, June. According to a statement on their Twitter account, the team believes that because of the number of days the climbers have spent on the Mazeno route, they believe their radio equipment has lost battery. 

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Get to Know Climber Fredrik Sträng

Fredrik Sträng is our K2 2017 Watch Pick, and we will be following his expedition on K2 this year through his Dispatches from the mountain. But who is Fredrik Sträng and why does it matter? I felt that in order to really give readers a sense of what Fredrik Sträng is like as a climber and person, we needed some input from Cass Légér, the editor of BCM and Sträng’s point of contact for Dispatches. During my latest meeting with Cass, I lobbied for the quote bits below.

Here’s a glimpse into the life of this incredible climber, with some quotes from Cass Légér, with whom I spoke with this week while trying to get to know Sträng a bit better for this piece. 

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4 Incredible Sherpa Climbers (Still Alive)

While western climbers are famed for their great feats, Sherpa climbers are some of the best, with a natural ability to weather high-altitude oxygen levels and an almost unnatural ability to climb relatively effortlessly compared to western climbers. These are 4 of the world’s greatest Sherpa climbers who are still alive.

Pemba Gyalje, Purba Tashi Sherpa, Ang Dorje, Lakpa Gelu

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Fredrik Sträng Heads Out for K2 2017

Mountaineer Fredrik Sträng heads out to K2 on June 12, 2017, after nearly ten years of absence from the mountain since the 2008 K2 Tragedy that killed 11 mountaineers. 

On 3, June, Sträng was ready, packing his gear for his K2 expedition and gave everyone a glimpse of 60% of his gear, which he laid out and gave a tour of. His gear included the Swedish flag, two Petzl ice axes, Olympus Mons La Sportiva high-altitude boots, a Primus Lite XL stove pot and Out Meals dehydrated ready-to-eat meals.

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Routes Up to K2’s Summit

First ascended by Achille Compagnoni on 31 July 1954, the mountain has since sprouted various routes across its faces that lead to the top.

Whether or not you’re crazy enough to attempt it, you’re not getting anywhere without a roadmap. Mountaineers usually take one of these ten pre-determined routes to the peak of K2.

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