September 26, 2019
The British adventurer, who overcame personal tragedy to scale K2, attributes the recent spike in novice climbers attempting Everest to society’s quest for attention
We are in an epidemic: Adrian Hayes on how social media magnifies climbings danger
Adrian Hayes’ journey to the summit of K2, the 28,251ft beast nestled between Pakistan and China and largely known in mountaineering circles as the most challenging peak in existence, took over two years. Yet when the world renowned British extreme adventurer finally reached the summit, he didn’t spend much time relishing in his accomplishment. Hayes didn’t snap Instagram selfies, chug beer or really even relax. He paused for about five minutes to give his mate a bear hug and call his family. Then he began the perilous descent. Hayes would finally exhale when he reached base camp, a celebration of conquering both the mountain and his demons.
In One Man’s Climb: A Journey of Trauma, Tragedy, and Triumph on K2, Hayes details his two attempts at summiting what is known as Savage Mountain because of the brutal rock falls, vertical ice bands and avalanches that have claimed the lives of 85 mountaineers. Only 379 have ever reached the summit. Meanwhile, Hayes interweaves his narrative with a lens into his calamitous personal life which includes a lengthy divorce battle and the grueling quest to have in-person contact with his daughter.
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