Reviews, Blurbs, Write-ups, Honors

“Easily the most most riveting and important mountaineering book of the past decade. … Exhaustive reporting and elegant delivery give the book its rich texture.”

— Outside Magazine

“[O]nly now has an accurate, and riveting, account been published. Buried in the Sky, by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan, is a work of obsessive reporting. The authors (who are cousins) traveled across the world, conducting extensive interviews with nearly every person who was on the mountain in 2008 and using digital forensics to analyze the photographs taken that day. They weave a narrative that is hair-­raising and moving, but also precise — crucial given the technical complexities of expeditions and the often-hazy recollections of traumatized survivors. But what makes their book an indispensable addition to the genre is the way the authors explore the “cultural crevasse” underlying the ill-­fated expeditions on K2. They provide a long-­overdue historical correction to the familiar mountaineering story.”

Men’s Journal

“When disaster strikes, as it did during that August 2008 climb, it is often the Sherpas and their Pakistani brethren whose courage and skill can make the difference between life and death. We learn a great deal about these remarkable men. … Enthralling … phenomenal research and vivid writing create a memorable portrait not only of the events on the mountain but also of the people who make modern high-altitude climbing possible.”

Wall Street Journal

“Buried in the Sky is a significant departure for mountaineer literature. In a reversal of perspective, the book chronicles the story of climbing K2 from the Sherpas’ point of view. What happened on K2 in 2008 shocked the mountaineering world. Eleven climbers died and three others were seriously injured. It’s through the eyes of Sherpas that Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan tell the story of those fateful hours on the mountain. Impeccably researched, the two authors travelled to Nepal and Pakistan where they conducted interviews with Sherpa climbers, their families, relatives and friends. They deal with the worries of Sherpa wives and the yearly tragedies weathered by their close-knit families. It’s a book that finally humanizes the unsung heroes of the mountaineering world and their hopes and dreams for a better life.

Citation for winning the
National Outdoor Book Award in history

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s account of a disasterous 1996 Everest ascent, was a huge success, and Buried in the Sky will satisfy anyone who loved that book. Zuckerman and Padoan distinguish themselves by the depth of their research, especially into the lives and culture of the Nepali and Pakistani climbers and high-altitude workers — and their relationship with the American, European, and Korean teams that paid their salaries, a troubling transaction at times.”

Boston Globe

“[The authors] succeed magnificently, telling an intensely sad story with clarity, narrative skill, economy and drive, and from a very fresh viewpoint. What separates BURIED IN THE SKY’s narrative of the harrowing events on K2 in August 2008 from a host of similar tales of mountain tragedies is not merely the rigorously-researched external view it provides. It is also its determination to pass the credit back to those with whom it truly belongs, and who are far too often overlooked in climbing books – the Sherpas and high-altitude porters on whom the whole project of western mountaineering is dependent. uckerman’s and Padoan’s emphasis on the heroic role of the Sherpas is as proper as it is rare in climbing literature. … It will surely stand as one of the most distinguished works within a genre that includes Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Ralph Barker’s The Last Blue Mountain. That it was written by two newcomers to our activity makes it all the more impressive. This is reportage of the highest quality. We had no hesitation in awarding BURIED IN THE SKY the 2012 Mountaineering History Award.”

Citation for winning the Banff Mountain
Festival Book Competition
for best book in history

“[G]ripping … An absorbing book that goes beyond the typical mountaineering tale. … This book is mesmerizing.”

Deseret News

“A fast-paced narrative of one of the worst climbing disasters in the history of K2. … Zuckerman and Padoan offer glimpses into the climbing culture that are as rare as the thin air the climbers breathe … A provocative perspective on one of the world’s most expensive and deadly athletic adventures.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Although Everest is the tallest mountain on earth, K2, “the Savage Mountain,” is a more difficult — and deadly — peak, and this compelling story brought back from its slopes is a worthy tale about a little-known aspect of these high-stakes climbs.”

Minneapolis StarTribune

”I admired Buried in the Sky and enjoyed it, too. Because the authors did their homework and wrote their story well, and most of all, because credit is given at long last to those who deserve it most.”

—Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard

“It’s a testament to the thrills in this book that I scoured the notes, eager to learn how the authors wrote their account of the 2008 disaster that claimed the lives of 11 people on K2. … [T]he authors’ commendable documentary about the people who carry the gear is overtaken by the chilling adventure story of one terrible day on the mountain.”

Smithsonian Magazine

“[A] revelatory look at Sherpa history and culture … highly recommended.”


“Fast-paced and well-researched, Buried in the Sky tells the story of the tragic events of August 2008 on K2, “the world’s most dangerous mountain,” from the point of view of the Sherpa porters. Eleven people, both Sherpa and Western climbers, perished after an ice fall took out the ropes that help guide climbers through K2’s notorious “bottleneck” section. Balancing differing versions of what went wrong, authors Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan have come up with a terrifying account of the tragedy. … Their narrative is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the people and politics of high-altitude mountaineering.”


“[A] page-turner addition to the library of great mountaineering books.”

Portland Monthly

“Buried in the Sky is an in-depth look at one of the most devastating climbing expeditions in the history of K2, the world’s most dangerous peak. Amanda Padoan and Peter Zuckerman spent years researching the day in 2008 when 11 climbers died and traveled across the world to interview eyewitnesses. But their book has a special twist–it examines K2′s deadliest day from the from the perspective of the men who set the ropes and carry the loads–high-altitude workers of the Sherpa, Bhote, Shimshali and Balti ethnicities. … Buried in the Sky, while the story of great devastation, is also a beautiful tribute.”

Shelf Awareness

“Buried in the Sky is a compelling account of the men who have literally shouldered the rest of the world’s mountaineers up K2. Zuckerman and Padoan track the Sherpas’ arc from childhood to the summit of K2, painting a refreshing, intimate picture of the inner workings of a tragic 2008 expedition. The authors bring alive the enigmatic Sherpa culture, which, ironically, discourages trespassing the forbidden Himalayan peaks, and skillfully guide the reader past the banal machismo that consumes most other accounts. I really enjoyed and appreciated this book.”

—Norman Ollestad, author of Crazy for the Storm

An informative and inspirational book… I couldn’t put it down. I am proud to know of the determination and loyalty of the Sherpa climbers and their tireless efforts to risk their lives for the other climbers.”

—Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay
and author of Touching My Father’s Soul

Buried in the Sky reveals the heroic deeds of the Sherpa. . . . [It] brings to light how immensely strong, loyal and talented the Sherpa climbers are. When most other climbers were faltering on the descent from the K-2’s summit, the Sherpa climbers not only rescued themselves, but also went back up to rescue others. Finally credit is given, where credit is due.”

—Ed Viesturs, bestselling author of No Shortcuts to the Top and K2:
Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

“Buried in the Sky, by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan, a well-researched, detailed, and fast-paced narrative of the 2008 disaster that claimed the lives of eleven mountaineers descending from the summit of K2, will be of interest to every mountaineer (armchair or otherwise) interested in the climbing history of that beautiful and deadly peak. Particularly welcome is Zuckerman and Padoan’s focus on the experience and lives of two Sherpa climbers, Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, who at the risk of their own lives heroically aided others in getting off the mountain safely, and without whose efforts the death count would likely have been even higher. It is reassuring to know that, even in an age of commercialized hyper-individualism on the world’s highest mountains, there are some mountaineers who still live by the values of the ‘brotherhood of the rope.’”

—Maurice Isserman, co-author of
Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering
from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes

“In 2008, eleven climbers died in one day near the summit of K2. Buried in the Sky is one of the very best books on the tragedy. Pacey, compelling and clear, this is an excellent account of what happened that fateful August day. More importantly, it tells the story and reveals the lives of those Himalayan-born high-altitude workers who risked everything for their ambitious employers – some of whom paid the ultimate price. These once anonymous figures leap off the page with all their hopes and fears — and astonishing courage.”

—Ed Douglas, author of Tenzing: Hero of Everest

“Through phenomenal research, Zuckerman and Padoan have dug deeper than anyone else into one of the most mysterious tragedies in mountaineering history. Thanks to their efforts, the heroism and humanity of the Sherpa climbers who saved lives while others were losing theirs shine through the chaos and grief of that awful day on K2.”

—David Roberts, co-author of
K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain;
author of On the Ridge Between Life and Death

¨Buried in the Sky isn’t just the story of the worst climbing disaster in the history of the “Savage Mountain,” but an important introduction to the native climbers from Pakistan, Nepal, and Tibet whose labors make most high-altitude expeditions possible, and whose heroic efforts keep the death tolls on K2, Everest, and other Himalayan peaks from rising even higher. The Sherpas climb off the page and carry a narrative that is as fast and as gripping as their superhuman ascents.

—Michael Kodas, author of
High Crimes: Mount Everest in an Age of Greed

“Buried in the Sky is a gripping account of that fateful day in 2008 when eleven climbers lost their lives on K2. As it unravels the series of events that resulted from the unbridled ambition set loose on a dangerous mountain, it probes deeply into the lives of those courageous and unheralded professionals – the “thin-air” workhorses from Nepal and Pakistan. Heartbreaking. Sobering. Compelling.

—Bernadette McDonald, author of
Freedom Climbers and Brotherhood of the Rope

¨As long as Westerners have been scaling the Himalayas, Sherpas—inhabitants of Nepal’s most mountainous regions—have climbed with them, not merely as porters but as expert mountaineers. Yet they have never been given their due. Here is the story of Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, who participated in the 2008 assault on K2 that left 11 climbers dead, though they themselves survived. The book takes pains to explore their culture and the burden felt by such impoverished young men who take on dangerous work that pays well yet remains an offense to the mountains they revere. Sobering.¨

—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

“Providing historical and religious background on Nepal and the Sherpa ethnic group, and a judiciously crafted chronicle of the devastating series of incidents that left 11 dead, this narrative is well organized and chilling. Zuckerman and Padoan’s extensive research, including information gathered from many translated interviews with survivors, provides clear evidence to support their version of events, and their conclusions raise hard ethical questions about often-impoverished local workers risking their lives to satisfy the ambitions of Western climbers. VERDICT Since many climbing chronicles tend to neglect the essential and expert contributions of Nepali Sherpas and Pakistani high-altitude workers, this work’s alternative viewpoint is eye-opening.”

—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI, Library Journal

Buried in the Sky is by turns enlightening, fascinating, gripping, and heartbreaking, well-written in the best tradition of mountaineering narratives. I would recommend reading the Bowley book first, as the two books are really companion volumes of a single story.”

Daily Mail

“[R]eveals the ethnic, cultural and linguistic complexities between and among the Nepalese and Pakistani porters.”

Albuquerque Journal

If you’re looking for a new addition to your mountaineering library than Buried In The Sky is a definite must have. With superb writing, hair-raising drama and two memorable protagonists, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages as quickly as you can. On more than one occasion I found myself in the “just one more chapter” mode, even as the clock said it was well past bedtime. I think you’ll be just as riveted as was and the story of these two Sherpas will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Before It’s News

“[G]oes to world’s edge to make the hidden visible. … Shed[s] light upon the previously-unshared story of the impact mountaineering has upon the Himalayan people.”

PQ Monthly

“Sherpas have long been the unsung experts of mountaineering, frequently possessing skill surpassing even the most publicized athletes to conquer peaks such as Everest and K2. Padoan and Zuckerman tell the story of two sherpas who survived the most treacherous K2 climb in history with previously unimaginable interviews and information on the plight and passion of sherpas, showcasing their idiosyncratic lifestyles and choice of profession.”

Bask Magazine

“Zuckerman … and Padoan do an admirable job, starting in a tiny Sherpa village where people believe K2 is inhabited by an angry god who regards climbing the peak as sacrilege. The authors try to explain why these people send their sons to tangle with the peak anyway, because there’s no other way to make money. For even more context, the authors delve into the history and culture of the Sherpa and Bhote people, who provide most of Nepal’s guides. They do the same for the valley of Shimshal, the cradle of the top Pakistani climbers. In the process, Buried in the Sky revisits not just the K2 tragedy but the entire history of Himalayan exploration through the lens of the oft-forgotten guides.”

Willamette Week

Reading this book I not only learned more about the legendary mountain, but at times I felt like I had been transported to its icy slopes as well. That’s a testament to how well written Buried actually is and the authors are to be commended for pulling that off. This is a book that can be proudly put on the shelf next to Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, as the two cover similar ground at times, although their stories are very different.

The Adventure Blog

Instead of the usual glorified gush from surviving sponsored mountaineers, the story centers on the Sherpas, giving a cultural context to their perilous work amid their most sacred places. The authors neatly lay out each of the characters’ backgrounds, personalities and philosophies as if laying out gear before an assault on the mountain. As they push for the summit, the story degenerates into a tangled mass of rope, ice, rock and dead or dying climbers. Despite multiple storylines, this book clearly communicates the imperceptible Death Zone logic and impossible language gaps that led to the deaths of eleven climbers, Sherpa or not. The story’s flow receives help from the book’s many maps, color photos and notes.

Mountain Gazette

“Using K2′s treacherous ascent as a backdrop, Zuckerman and Padoan explore the effects of tour-driven climbing on indigenous populations and their way of life. An awesome read about the human cost of big-business, high-altitude climbing. “

Booknotes, Elliot Bay Book Company

Since its release in June, the book has landed on bestseller lists and has been racking up the accolades, including the 2012 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, as well as the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival’s 2012 Mountaineering Award.

The Portland Tribune

“Zuckerman and Padoan have written one for the ages. “Buried in the Sky” is a gripping piece of reportage, but like all the best writing, it transcends genre to become a moving story of human frailty and power. As taut as any thriller, as transportive as a dream, it provides a potent and stirring reminder of why we dare to attempt the impossible—and the price we pay for that ambition. Read it and be enlarged.

Jesse Kellerman, internationally bestselling author of Potboiler.

“Research is thorough and writing is clear and factual while remaining exciting and suspenseful–this is an enthralling book for anyone interested in extreme sports or mountaineering. If you enjoyed Into Thin Air, you will find this book equally fascinating.”

Little Apple Bookworm, a blog by the staff at the Manhattan Public Library

A gripping adventure story and an exploration of Sherpa customs and culture.”

Utah Public Radio

“Shed’s new light on K2′s deadliest day … In addition to documenting the biggest tragedy on the slopes of K2, Buried in the Sky also give a historical reflection of the Himilayan climbing culture, documenting the anonymous workers who do the heavy lifting, carrying the expeditions’ supplies while the name-brand explorers take the glory on the summit.”

KTNA, Talkeetna (Alaska) Public Radio


“Buried in the Sky” is one of the few books on mountaineering that isn’t told from a Western perspective. … Padoan and Zuckerman’s book details what happened on the day of the disaster and the intricacies of these differing native groups.”

Vail Daily

“Armchair adventurers won’t want to miss this.”

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

“Finally, a climbing book about the fabled Sherpa, who, long known as the workhorses of climbing, are in actuality far more than high-altitude porters and guides. … Following the lives of two Himalayan climbers who have escaped the poverty of their Nepalese life by helping foreigners conquer the highest mountains on earth, Buried in the Sky is a salute to the tenacity of the Sherpa and the responsibility they take—often at the cost of their own lives—to save their clients when things go wrong as they did in 2008. A riveting read, perfect for anyone who has climbed our Wasatch Mountains or hiked high into our canyons—or for fans of high-altitude climbing books.”

The King’s English Bookshop Blog

A truly thrilling book … The authors, who are cousins, break ground by telling the story not from the perspective of the Western climbers, but from the perspective of the Sherpa and Pakistani climbers who scout the routes, tie the lines, and guide climbers through the oxygen-deprived heights of the Death Zone … a gut-wrenching narrative.”

Flagstaff Live

“This is the nail-biting account of the 2008 K2 expedition that killed eleven climbers, focusing on the two Sherpa porters who survived. It is an incredible story, well told, based on thorough research into the tragic events and the Sherpa culture.”

Rose City Reader

“A true story of survival, rescue and adventure. … Capture[s] the perspectives of high altitude workers — the Sherpas and Pakistani climbers — who survived the K2 disaster.”

The Himalayan Times

“The incredible gay journalist Peter Zuckerman [along with his cousin Amanda Padoan] has written one of the coolest books you’ll read this year. It’s called Buried In The Sky.”


A gripping adventure story and an exploration of Sherpa customs and culture.

Utah Public Radio

A great book with a unique perspective on high-altitude climbing.

Everest Book Report

Awards and Honors

National Outdoor Book Award winner in history

Banff Mountain Book Award winner in history

George Orwell Award winner

One of the ten best books of the year: Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, Colorado.

Men’s Journal Approved: Selected as one of the magazine editors’ favorite things of all time.

American Alpine Club Book Club: Selected book for August 2012

Museum of Science, Boston: Selected book for July 2012

Powell’s Books Staff Pick: Selected for August 2012

Barnes & Noble Staff Pick #1 Bestseller in mountaineering

Bask Magazine: Chosen as one of the seven best summer reads.

One of the top ten books in search of a beach: Counterpunch Magazine.