How to get really high — pop a Viagra, then climb K2!

How to get really high — pop a Viagra, then climb K2! Gripping new book shares one man’s extraordinary attempt to conquer the world’s second tallest mountain

  • Adrian Hayes recounts his efforts to climb the world’s second tallest mountain 
  • He spent hours running up and down Dubai’s tallest buildings in preparation 
  • The climber took Viagra to increase the blood supply to his organs 
  • Viciously steep K2 kills one in four of the climbers who reaches its top 
  • The remote mountain is hidden at the end of an eight-day trek  

ONE MAN’S CLIMB 

by Adrian Hayes (Pen & Sword £19.99, 234 pp)

The world’s second tallest mountain is known as K2, the title given to it by a 19th-century British survey because, at the time, it had no local name — it’s so remote you can’t see it from the nearest village.

Even when you get there after an eight-day trek, there’s every incentive to turn around and go home again.

K2 is viciously steep: with an average slope angle of 60 degrees, much of it is vertical; it has atrocious weather pretty much all the time; it kills one in four of the climbers who reach its top; and only about 300 people have ever conquered the mountain, compared to around 5,000 on Everest.

Adrian Hayes (pictured) recalls his attempts to climb the world’s second tallest mountain known as K2 in a fascinating new book

Just days after climber Tom Ballard’s body was found on Nanga Parbat in a cruel echo of his own mother’s death on K2 in 1995, you can’t help wondering why you would put yourself through pain, exhaustion and quite possibly death, just to be able to say you’d climbed the world’s second tallest mountain?

Especially when, as in Adrian Hayes’s case, you’d already conquered Everest? A serious mountaineer, Hayes (left) knows that K2 is a more difficult challenge. But he’s also driven by the need to achieve something hardly anyone else on the planet ever has.

His honesty is refreshing: an admission that it’s partly ego. He’s equally open about the guilt he feels at putting his two children through the worry their father might die.


  • Mastermind whose specialist subject was violence:…


    Why did SIX U.S. fighter jets fail in mid-air? A: Russian…

Share this article

As he stands at the bottom of K2, examining the memorials to those killed on the mountain, he thinks of the people they left behind: ‘So futile, so stupid and so selfish.’ But still that need for significance drives him on.

His training is brutal. He spends hours running up and down the emergency stairs in one of Dubai’s tallest buildings, with weights strapped to his ankles. He sleeps in a tent which mimics the lack of oxygen near the top of K2. He also takes Viagra, to increase the blood supply to his organs (and not, as his friends claim, to give himself an extra ice axe).

Each attempt begins with a ‘puja’ (a prayer ceremony) conducted by the Sherpas at base camp, in which the climbers have their faces dusted with flour to mimic a grey beard, implying a long life.

ONE MAN’S CLIMB by Adrian Hayes (Pen & Sword £19.99, 234 pp)

Much of the climbing itself is far from glamorous. Hayes suffers haemorrhoids on the first attempt, diarrhoea on the second. Someone from another group nicks a vital oxygen bottle. Hayes’s second expedition is successful: he makes the summit.

One unexpected result of the climb is that he’s now always the first at a function to notice when someone is about to start their speech — his heightened awareness of the slightest noise (in case of falling rocks) has stayed with him. On the other hand, the faintest dog bark can wake him up at night, so he has to sleep with a fan on to provide white noise.

You get the feeling he’s a slightly tricky guy — by his own admission he keeps his tent at ‘OCD’ levels of tidiness — but, then, normal people don’t try to climb K2 in the first place.

 

Source: Read Full Article