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Buried In The Sky Sheds Light On Sherpas' Lives

OPB | May 24, 2013 12:30 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 11, 2013 12:52 a.m.

Lars Nesse, courtesy of Peter Zuckerman

Editor’s Note: This show will be broadcast live on OPB Plus as well as OPB Radio.

Since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mt. Everest 60 years ago, sherpas have been a part of western lore. But rarely are their stories, history, and lives given full attention. That’s what authors Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan aimed to do in their book Buried in the Sky.

The book focuses on a 2008 disaster, when 11 climbers from around the world died near the summit of K2. It’s the second-highest mountain in the world, after Everest, and known as one of the deadliest. Some people call it “the savage mountain.” Seven of the climbers who died that day came from wealthy countires like France, Italy, and South Korea. Four of the other victims were on the job: two sherpas from Nepal and two high-altitude porters from Pakistan.

Zuckerman and Padoan painstakingly reported what went wrong on the slopes of K2, and traced the lives of the high-altitdue workers who died — along with those who survived.

Are you a climber? What experience do you have climbing with sherpas or high-altitude porters?

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