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

Scholastic Focus. Apr. 2020. 288p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338207361.
Gr 3-7–Olson writes a fascinating account of three early K2 expeditions, all of whom were trying to be the first to climb the mountain. The K2 peak is the second highest peak in the world and is considered by climbers to be the most dangerous. All three American teams were unable to achieve their goals, but their stories are riveting. The first and third expeditions were led by Charlie Houston. The first expedition in 1938 provided valuable information for the second expedition led by Fritz Wiessner. The German American climber was eager to be the first to reach the summit and didn’t want Houston to take the honor. The text describes each team’s members and their various strengths, weaknesses, and interesting characteristics. Olson whisks readers away to the harsh climate and rugged adventure of climbing. Climbers persevere in the face of adversity, brave fierce elements, and make life-altering decisions. The motivation and determination of the climbers is at turns admirable and questionable. Readers learn about leadership skills, teamwork, and how each climber has a different approach to tackling the mountain. The book is packed with historical photographs that highlight the climbers and the terrain. Back matter includes the gear, an author’s note, sources, and source notes.
VERDICT An absolute must-have for all readers looking for well-researched and gripping adventure nonfiction.

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