Triumph and tragedy rarely comes in such close proximity in place and time.
Just hours after Limerick mountaineer Ger McDonnell became the first Irishman to reach the summit of K2 in Aug 2008, he became one of 11 climbers to lose his life on the world’s second highest mountain.
In a new book and film to be launched this month, fellow mountaineer Pat Falvey recounts the details of his friend’s fateful, final adventure. Falvey claims his motivation was to set the record straight about what really happened.
“News was getting leaked out by people on the mountain with incomplete information, which caused great distress for the families of the climbers wondering if their loved ones were going to die,” recalls Falvey.
The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2’s Deadliest Days tells of McDonnell’s heroic efforts to go back up the mountain during his descent to help a group of South Korean climbers who had been trapped overnight on ropes.
The book was co-written by Pemba Gyalje, a Nepalese Sherpa who was a member of a Dutch- led expedition which included McDonnell.
The author hopes the book and film, The Summit, which goes on general release in cinemas on Nov 22, will act as a fitting tribute to the 37-year-old from Kilcornan, Co Limerick, and the 10 others who died on K2 on that fateful day five years ago.
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