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 K In 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 K

  • Title: The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2
  • Author: JenniferJordan
  • ISBN: 9780393079197
  • Page: 109
  • Format: ebook
  • 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 formidable challenge than Mt Everest Although close to middle age and inexperienced atIn 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 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 the author discovered his remains.

    438 Comment

    • Mary Joy says:

      Three stars.There were actually 4 men who died on the mountain: 1 American and 3 Nepalese sherpas. So while Miss Jordan may talk about Wiessner's ethnocentrism, she should also point the finger at herself.Regardless, this was an engaging read; perhaps a good counterpoint to other books that have painted Dudley Wolfe as a clumsy oaf when in fact he was every bit as capable, physically and mentally, as anyone else on the team. The fact that he went higher than other more capable members of his tea [...]

    • Der-shing says:

      I enjoyed this book very much. Jordan did a great deal of research and it really shows the only negative I had was about her portrayal of Dudley as some kind of exalted figure. I'd agree with her (based on her writing) that he wasn't simply a caricature of a millionaire, but I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him a hero either. He seemed more like a normal person with an adventurous spirit who met an unfortunate end thanks to a tragic choice of teammates and lack of communication.I'd recom [...]

    • Sean Hopkins says:

      Interesting story about the tragic attempt by an American team to climb K2 in 1939. The death of Dudley Francis Wolfe, a middle aged millionaire, after he was abadoned at Camp VII at an elevation of over 25,000 feet was the subject of great controversy and all of the surviving members of the expedition had different version of the events that resulted in tragedy. This book reminds one of the importance team work in the world of climbing the world's highest mountains.

    • Liz Nutting says:

      [Erratum: In this review, I state that K2 was first summited more than 20 years after the first full ascent of Everest in 1953. That is incorrect. K2 was first summited by an Italian mountaineering team on July 31, 1954, a little over a year after Hillary and Tenzing reached the top of Everest. The summit of K2 was not reached again, however, until 1977, by a Japanese expedition. The first American team to reach the summit did so in 1978.]I've mentioned before that I have a fascination with book [...]

    • Michael says:

      This is a sad and remarkable story. I'm fascinated by stories of mountaineering and the extreme danger of climbing the highest peaks, like K2. I certainly understand the desire to see the beauty of mountains but cannot at all understand risking my life to climb one.There were so many reasons this expedition failed but none of them really belonged to Dudley Wolfe or the Sherpas who died trying to rescuer him. It is a compelling story of how not to run a climbing expedition, how not to let the lea [...]

    • Karen Thompson says:

      What a tragedy! If this happened in today's media the group's leader and the decision to strip the lower camps would bring on a murder investigation, not a whitewashed inquiry.

    • Mosco says:

      Sono stufa di sottolineare refusi e formattazioni garibaldine. Mi scandalizza come molti editori trattino l'ebook come prodotto di seconda scelta, scarto, al quale non serve dedicare nemmeno il minimo dell'attenzione. Questo è inqualificabile. Infinite parole spezzate col trattino come fossero a fine riga:"que- sto, pro- duttiva, soprat- tutto" etc etc.; "600,000" invece che 600.000, un paio di righe di una nota che si mescolano al testo e viceversa; "a causa dalla guerra" "uno più facoltosi d [...]

    • Eryn says:

      As someone who typically reads a lot of nonfiction, I really enjoyed this book. As someone who has spent a lot of time with mountain climbers, I thought this book rang rather true to form for how some of them think and behave, and that includes adventurous millionaires. (Honestly, if you're going to be an adventurer, being a millionaire helps. A lot.) Jordan describes the people involved through an educated lens, both in mountaineering and in research. I found the book meticulously detailed wher [...]

    • Mallory says:

      I enjoyed this book and finished it rather quickly. It focused more on the back story and what happened before/after the climb, rather then on the climb itself. I do not like how Jordan went back and forth on using character's first and last names. She should be consistent. She refers to Fritz as Fritz, then a few lines down as Wiessner, it was irritating.

    • Claire says:


    • Diana says:

      Non ho dato le 5 stelline solo per la presenza di passaggi un po' troppo dispersivi riguardanti le biografie di alcuni componenti del gruppo, ma nel complesso è un libro molto ben scritto, chiaro, preciso e attendibile. Si basa su documenti ritrovati, incrociando interviste e letture dei diari dei protagonisti, quindi credo, in definitiva, sia riuscito a dare una visione abbastanza obbiettiva di quello che è successo in quel disastroso tentativo di conquista della vetta del terribile K2.Ciò c [...]

    • Deborah says:

      Most mentions of Dudley Wolfe in other mountaineering books had left me with the impression that he was a rich buffoon whose unfortunate fate - left to die alone high on the mountain - was the result of his own incompetency. This account of the tragic 1939 expedition completely changed my point of view. The entire team was unprepared, ill-equipped, and it's a miracle only Wolfe and three of the Sherpas died. I found myself drawn in from the very beginning, even though it's not a fast-paced tale, [...]

    • Taylor says:

      It tries hard, and I wanted to like it, but for a nonfiction book The Last Man on the Mountain is way too heavy on the conjecture. I wish this book had more footnoted evidence, in general. There's a lot of fluffy fake dialogue about Wolfe and Wolfe’s family's hypothetical feelings. Also, I would have preferred that the author had disclosed what she describes as a close friendship with Charlie Houston early in the book, rather than saving it for page 277.As others have pointed out, there are so [...]

    • Ken Mannion says:

      The title tells all in yet another extreme- mountaineering book, which has become a publishing mini-industry since the success of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air . But this is an unexpectedly fascinating and epic read. Jordan, a journalist and documentary film-maker, lived at the base of K2, where in 2002 she literally stumbled on the long-dead remains of her subject. Dudley Francis Wolfe was a wealthy Boston socialite, climber and yachtsman who, in 1939, at the age of 43, joined an American team [...]

    • Helen says:

      Tragic story of an ill-fated expedition to climb K2 in 1939. Dudley Wolfe was abandoned by members of the expedition and left to perish on K2 due to a perfect storm of bad decisions, blind ambition, inexperienced team members, inadequate finances, unkown health consequences of high altitude climbing and team personalitites that impeded the safety of the expedition. What the team did accomplish was extraordinary for the time and the technical skill of Fritz Wiessner was never in doubt.What is alw [...]

    • Raven says:

      It's not often you get to read a biography by a person who found the subject's body. While more than a little morbid, it does give the author particular insight into the life of her subject, early American mountaineer Dudley Wolfe. This highly sympathetic portrayal is an easy read, challenging much of the previous collected statements about the American 1939 K2 expedition and how things fell apart there. I was surprised at how much it had in common with stories of Himalayan expeditions gone sout [...]

    • Erika Nerdypants says:

      I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Jordan's mountaineering books. Her work is carefully written and she has the wonderful ability to make her books come alive in a way that puts the reader right there, in the frozen ice of formidable K2, known as the "Savage Mountain". Incredibly, the author came across the remains of the American climber Dudley Wolfe, the first man to lose his life on an ill fated expedition in 1939. Jordan researched the story and uncovered the tale of a summit attempt by a group of p [...]

    • Marlowe says:

      This book, which tells the story of the 1939 attempt on K2 an resulted in the death of Dudley Wolfe along with three Sherpa sent up to Camp VII to rescue him, falls into two main segments: a biographical overview of the man and his family, and the attempt itself. Both segments are interesting but the latter really comes into its own in making the reader feel the conditions and the hardship — it remained balanced in its views of the climbers, allowing flaws and monumental achievements create th [...]

    • Ohenrypacey says:

      A well researched telling of the 1939 American expedition to K2. The tragedy that was to occur on the mountain, with the loss of Dudley Wolfe, an american playboy invited mostly to fund the climb, unfolds so transparently as the hubris of the team leader leads to mistake after mistake in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the final days on the savage mountain. Still, Wolfe comes off as an admirable figure, an old school adventurer of the highest order, who probably, if the team were stron [...]

    • Coffeemama says:

      I really like survival books but wasn't crazy about the writing in this one - one of my all time favorite survival stories (although the writing wasn't amazing either but just an incredible unbelievable true story is Touching the Void). The best part about this book is reading about these men climbing in 1939 without any of the equipment or knowledge about high altitude that we have today - they were at high altitude suffering the consequences for WEEKS! Makes today's climbers look like wimps. I [...]

    • Shawn says:

      I like to read a nonfiction book about people dying trying to climb Mt. Everest about once a year, so I was overdue for Last Man on the Mountain. It wasn't even Mt. Everest, really, it was K2, and way back when, in 1939. Mountain climbing books like this are interesting every time, for me, and this one was particularly interesting for a number of reasons. History: way back in the 30s, who was climbing tall mountains? Rich people and sherpas. Also, this author is a woman which is different from m [...]

    • Mel says:

      not a bad read. although i read the author's notes/preface, i am still a bit confused as to the exact events/actions of the attempted "rescue" etc. of course, no one will ever know either if it was never documented and the author made an educated guessl in all, an interesting read. i knew nothing of the 1939 K2 expedition or the name Dudley Wolfe. but from what gather, he was a pretty impressive chap to have accomplished all that he did. as for the rest of the team: shame on the rest of them. i [...]

    • Ciara says:

      son of a bitch. ate my review. bottom line: i prefer more contemporary mountaineering stories. (this one is a chronicle of exactly how it came to pass that dudley wolfe, one of the richest men in the united states at the time, was left alone to die in his tent high on the slopes of K2, the world's second tallest mountain, in the late 1930s.) also, if jennifer jordan loves dudley wolfe so much, maybe she should marry him.

    • lynn says:

      After reading Jennifer Jordan's book about the women of K-2, I decide I had better read the one she wrote about one of the men who died climbing the savage mountain. She wrote this book after finding his remains at the base of the mountain while there for her prior book! Her story is well-told and researched. A sad tale about how important it is to put together a team that will gel no matter what circumstances arise.

    • Stephanie says:

      A fascinating look at Dudley Wolfe and the 1939 K2 expedition. The book develops Dudley as a character, and gives some character development to the other team members, particularly the leader, Fritz Wiessner, leading to a non-fiction book that reads easily. The book is also an interesting look into mountaineering in the late 1930s when so much about altitude and the mountain itself was unknown.

    • Darla Ebert says:

      This book is right up anyone's adventure alley. I loved the feel of the era which came through in the story as told. Of course it was a tale of tragedy, at the same time there are so many lessons highlighted as to what can happen when a person ignores his inner warning signals. IF Dudley Wolfe had heeded his own conscience or innate wisdom it is very likely he would never have taken this challenge and would very likely have lived many more years.

    • Jules says:

      I had a hard time getting through this book. I had to renew it which never happens with me. I almost quit. I found myself not caring what happened to this man who seemed so wrapped up in himself and though generous was quite selfish. Maybe I saw it from his wife's point of view. However, I endured and was grateful as I felt the ending was the most interesting part of the book.

    • Jeremy says:

      Hard to turn down any story about the Himalayas! This was a good story. I get a bit nervous, though, when an author starts to conjecture about final thoughts or motives without anything that would substantiate the story--a la Krakauer. Still, though, this was a worthy read. It is amazing what these climbers endured before we understood high altitude climbing and human physiology.

    • Kelsey says:

      I originally intended to read about the Dyatlov Pass incident, but the library did not have it, and I picked up this book instead. It was definitely a good choice. I really admire Jordan's attention to detail and description, though some parts could have probably been left out and saved us a couple pages. All in all though, this was an addicting read (for me at least). Give it a try

    • Vicky says:

      tragic story, but too gross for me. kind of sad how they lacked so much proper equipment and so little was known about mountaineering at the time. but i guess someone was bound to die, especially given the mismatched team members too disgusting and too many questions left over, not my kind of ending.

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