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Into the Clouds

The race to climb the world's most dangerous mountain

In 1953, as two men summit Mount Everest for the first time, Charlie Houston and a team of mountaineers carve a path up the second highest peak on Earth: the deadly K2. For Houston, reaching the top of K2 is a lifelong dream, an obsession that began 15 years earlier on his first expedition there.

Since then, another American expedition has fallen apart on the remote, windswept mass of rock and ice.

Now, Houston’s team follows in their tracks, stumbling on camps abandoned during the bitter tragedy. With the summit in their grasp, a vicious storm and a sudden illness put their own expedition on the edge of disaster, turning their quest to conquer a mountain into one of the most daring rescue missions ever.

Three expeditions and a high-mountain rivalry. Three attempts at K2, one of the most grueling challenges the planet has to offer. At 25,000 feet, every choice will mean lives lost or saved and bonds broken or cemented for a lifetime.

"A fascinating account of three early K2 expeditions.... 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.... An absolute must-have for all readers looking for well-researched and gripping adventure fiction." School Library Journal, starred review

"Olson writes with assurance and empathy.... Gripping, well-researched, superb entertainment." Kirkus

"The arduous climbs, executed in the face of unrelenting dangers such as blizzards, frostbite, and lack of oxygen, are replayed in gripping, step-by-step descriptions.... Filled with tense moments, the book explores the question of what draws people to risk their lives climbing hostile mountains, as well as the importance of strong leadership, loyalty, and 'the fellowship of the rope.'” Publisher's Weekly

"Olson’s edge-of-the-seat narrative, lively analysis of rival climbing philosophies and the outsized effects of tiny mistakes, along with engrossing expedition photographs, will enthrall newbies and cognoscenti alike." Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"INTO THE CLOUDS is one of my favorite books of 2020. It’s a gripping nonfiction narrative that transports readers directly to the side of the mountain. This is a book you get lost in. I found myself gobbling up chapters late into the night, and it wasn’t until after I finished that I realized I was reading it not as a 'reviewer' but as a someone utterly swept away." Cracking the Cover

"This non-stop action adventure is narrative nonfiction at its best." — School Library Connection

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