It is said that although we’ve heard the ill-fated story of Dudley Wolfe, we have not heard it in its entirety or in all of its truth. Stories have been told, speculations have been made, but what we have heard was not told in the way that this courageous man would have told it to us if given the chance. Dudley Wolfe would’ve wanted us to hear his story in a way that would make us understand what each step was like while going on this trek. Jordan has accomplished that telling in the amazingly gripping The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2.
Dudley Wolfe, from Rockport, Maine, attempted to be the first man to climb the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, in 1939. Wolfe’s expedition has long been considered one of mountaineering’s most captivating thrillers. Jennifer Jordan, who was at the base of K2 in 2002, became infatuated with his story when she discovered Wolfe’s remains and gave a detailed description of the climb and the physical toll it would take on one’s body.
Although I have never learned much about the sport of rock-climbing, this story gripped me and had me turning pages with profound curiosity. I found it amazing that out of all the other team members who attempted this climb with him, he was the least experienced, yet made it higher than the others. And although he endured altitude sickness as he climbed, he made it to 25,000 feet where he was finally deserted. It was almost 65 years after this desertion that his remains were found by Jennifer Jordan and his story was finally told.
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