Monday, September 20, 2010

The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2

The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 Review

Jennifer Jordan invites the reader to care deeply about Dudley Wolfe, "The Last Man on the Mountain." The reader may not be interested in climbing the tallest mountains in the world, but will be intrigued to discover why the ill-fated, 1939 K2 expedition resulted in the death of four people. Jordan had done so much research for this account, that the reader might think that she, Jordan, was there too, as an eye-witness to the events. She presents Dudley Wolfe as a person who deserves both our sympathy and our respect. Jordan's excellent style engages the reader from the opening personal and family history of Wolfe to the aftermath of the failed expedition that is presented in the epilogue.


Added by husband:

What I liked best was her re-creation of Dudley Wolfe. He seemed like a guy I'd like to have known.

She is a good writer. She made the story interesting when she wrote about personal interactions. However, as a person who is not a mountain climber, I would have liked two things: a glossary of terms like crampons, ice couloir and a description of the steps mountain climbers use to climb a mountain, as I have no clue. Having such descriptions would increase the audience.

I would also have enjoyed more maps. A number of high mountains that are near to K2 are mentioned, e.g. Everest, Nanga Parbat. It would have been nice to have a map which showed all the top 5, e.g., with national boundaries. Maps as fly-leafs for front and back covers would work very nicely and could be added to a second printing. An index to the maps and references to them in the text would have been helpful.

As a fan of mystery stories, I would have been interested in how Jordan deduced some of the events leading to the removal of all the camp supplies from the upper camps, especially since there were discrepancies in the descriptions coming from the various participants.

With this book comes the satisfaction of knowing that the most worthy member of this expedition can be restored to honor, following many decades of apparent disgrace. I'm sure that Dudley Wolfe's family members must be genuinely grateful for Jordan's careful work.


The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 Feature

  • ISBN13: 9780393077780
  • Condition: New
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The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2 Overview

The untold story of Dudley Wolfe and America’s ill-fated 1939 expedition to the roof of the world. In 1939 the Savage Mountain claimed its first victim. Born into vast wealth yet uneasy with a life of leisure, Dudley Wolfe, of Boston and Rockport, Maine, set out to become the first man to climb K2, the world’s second-highest mountain and, in the opinion of mountaineers, an even more formidable challenge than Mt. Everest. Although close to middle age and inexperienced at high altitude, Wolfe, with the team leader, made it higher than any other members of the expedition, but he couldn’t get back down. Suffering from altitude sickness and severe dehydration, he was abandoned at nearly 25,000 feet; it would be another sixty-three years before Jennifer Jordan discovered his remains.

In a story where The Great Gatsby meets Into Thin Air, readers follow Wolfe from the salons of Europe to the most forbidding landscape on earth. Wolfe went to K2 to find his own strength, only to encounter his teammates’ lethal weaknesses in a place called the Death Zone. 16 pages of photographs

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