Early Saturday morning as seventeen climbers from seven countries were descending K2, an avalanche dislodged the rope they were using and three climbers were killed. Two managed to return to base camp while the others waited for rescue. When rescue didn't come, more climbers died trying to make it back to camp. A total of eleven climbers died in this accident.
To date this is the deadliest accident in the history of K2 mountaineering. AdventureStats.com reports that sixty-six other climbers have died since 1939.
Mountaineering is a popular sport, as is evident by the number of books written by and about climbers. Go here for a general list of books and media on mountaineering.
An earlier blog entry reviewed the award-winning docudrama Touching the Void, directed by The Last King of Scotland's Kevin MacDonald. Simpson's book The Beckoning Silence (available through ILL), about the history of the the Eiger's dangerous north face and his own six failed attempts to climb it, was turned into a docudrama and released in the UK in 2007.
Viesturs is considered to be one of the strongest and more safety-concious climbers in the biz. He has summited all fourteen of the 8,000-meter mountains. Viesturs teamed up with another accomplished climber, author and filmmaker David Breashears, to shoot the acclaimed IMAX documentary Everest. They were filming at the same time as the infamous 1996 climbing disaster that Jon Krakauer wrote about in Into Thin Air. Known to put his own climbing attempts on hold to help a troubled climber, Veisturs helped in the rescue of some of these stranded climbers.