Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain
Age Range
Release Date
April 21, 2020
Buy This Book
In 1953, as two men summit Mt. Everest for the first time, Charlie Houston and a team of mountaineers carve a path up the second-highest peak on Earth: the deadly K2. Four Houston, reaching the top of K2 is a lifelong dream, an obsession that began 15 years earlier on his first expedition there.

Since then, another American expdition has fallen apart on the remote, windswept mass of rock and ice.

Now, Houston's team follows in their tracks. With the summit in their grasp, a vicious storm and a sudden illness puts their own expedition on the edge of disaster, turning their qust to conquer a mountain into one of the most daring rescue missions ever.

Three expeditions and a high-mountain rivalry. Three attempts at K2, one of the most grueling challenges the planet has to offer. Filled with displays of incredible strength and heart-stopping danger, Into the Clouds is the thrilling story of the men whose quest to conquer a mountain became a battle to survive the descent.

Editor review

1 review
Climb K2 without ever leaving home
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
The K2 mountain in the Himalayas is the second highest in the world after Mt. Everest, and is significantly more dangerous. In 1938, a young American medical student, Charlie Houston, lead an expedition to survey the area and decide the best way to ascend the mountain. The following year, the Karakoram expedition led by Fritz Wiessner attempted to climb to the top, but the mission was beset by personality problems and poor weather, and ended in the death of Dudley Wolfe, who was left behind by his fellow climbers after a series of disastrous circumstances. Three sherpas also died in an attempt to bring him back. In 1953, Houston mounted another expedition, choosing his men wisely in the hopes that they would not turn on each other the way Wiessner's men did. He selected six men, including Art Gilkey, a geologist from Iowa, and Dee Molenaar, who left a wife and daughter back at home. While parts of the trip went well, the group had to wait out weather and also had to deal with the illness of Gilkey, who developed blood clots in his leg and was unable to travel under his own steam. Instead of trying to get to the top, the team attempted to get Gilkey to safety. Unfortunately, his body was swept away after a horrific incident when six of the climbers fell and were saved by one man being able to hold onto the rope connecting them, and being able to pull them to safety. After that expedition, Houston gave up climbing, and once an Italian team was able to make the summit, the spotlight was off the Karakoram expedition.
Good Points
This book is not only filled with a wealth of technical information about the intricacies of climbing a mountain (Literal tons of food! Sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, which sounds awful! Why you need way more pitons that you ever expected! Also, outfit your sherpas a whole lot better. And you can wear your extra socks as mittens in a pinch.), but is told in a very exciting way. Climbing a mountain has never seemed like a good idea to me, but Houston's adventures certainly make for riveting reading.

There are strong glimpses into the men involved in the climb as well. Houston's motivations are examined, and there's even a touch of philosophy about why people engage in extreme climbing. Dee Molenaar's desire just to get off the mountain and back to his family was especially poignant reading, since he passed away on January 19, 2020, as I was reading this book. The mission with Wiessner, though not a major portion of the book, was a helpful inclusion, since it showed what happened when communication wasn't good and there was tension between the climbers.

Readers of Roland Smith's Peak series need this book to show the realities of an actual climb, and the photographs will interest those readers a lot! Fans of other survival stories, such as the Wallace's Bound by Ice or Lourie's Locked in Ice, will find this to be filled with the same type of riveting survival details those books have. This almost makes me want to find another copy of Ullman's Banner in the Sky; at least Houston's men had gloves and proper hiking boots!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account