This weekend’s disaster on K2, in which 11 climbers lost their lives on the world’s second-highest peak, was one of the climbing’s greatest tragedies. Though “the weather was perfect” when climbers set off Friday, the New York Times takes a look at how the treacherous slopes, a collapsing glacier, and some poor decisions combined to exact terrible consequences at the peak of “the mountain that invites death.”
Considered more difficult to climb than Everest, one climber calls K2 “the holy grail” for mountaineers. Two climbers were killed by falls from its notorious Bottleneck during the ascent; more died when an ice ledge fell and took the mountaineers’ ropes with it, forcing them to choose between descending without ropes or waiting for rescue. At least five who descended fell.